Inukpuk, Martha Malaya

Community worker and journalist born in Inukjuak (Nunavik) in 1963.

Martha Malaya Inukpuk, also known as Martha Inukpuk-Iqaluk, Martha Malaya Inukpuk-Iqaluk or Malaya Mataa Inukpuk, was born in 1963 in Inukjuak (formerly Port Harrison), on the northeast coast of Hudson Bay. She prefers to be called Martha Malaya Inukpuk. She is the niece of Elisapee Inukpuk, an accomplished seamstress, well known for the dolls she makes with her husband Charlie’s assistance. The dolls are made of seal and caribou skins, grasses and sculpted stones. Martha Malaya Inukpuk grew up in a traditional Inuit family: sewing with her mother and grandmother, caribou and goose hunting with her father, ice fishing with her family while spending childhood days on the land in summer camps between 1975 and 1976. During her childhood, she attended community meetings in Inukjuak and witnessed her family's concerns about hydroelectric development projects in Nunavik in the 1970s. She studied at Cégep Dawson, in Montréal between 1982 and 1985, interrupting her studies briefly in 1983 to work for Co-op Inukjuak. Martha Malaya Inukpuk taught Inuktitut language lessons in the Montréal region, and then worked for Air Inuit in Dorval, Québec until 1987. She returned to her community, becoming a member of the Inukjuak Youth Committee and working as an administrative secretary for the Makivik Corporation until 1999.

Martha Malaya Inukpuk wrote frequently for the Makivik News newspaper between 1995 and 2000, commenting on the social and economic issues specific to her community. A few titles from her writing: “Child care - a growing concern” (1996), “A look at budgeting and nutrition” (1997) and “A visit with women's shelters” (1997). She also wrote about inspiring figures of women. Her article “Elisapie Inukpuk dolls at Ikajurtiit” (1996), is a tribute to her aunt, whose artistic doll making was recognized in an exhibition “Crafts from Arctic Canada. Artisanat de l'Arctique canadien” in 1974. She also published an interview with her aunt, in the Inuit Art Quarterly magazine entitled “I enjoy doll-making immensely” (1996). Her article, "Lost, but not really lost: interview with Rynee Kutchaka" (1999), provides life reflections from a respected elder from Inukjuak. In Volume 1 of Voices and Images of Nunavimmiut (2010), edited by Minnie Gray and Marianne Stenbaek, she has contributed several other interviews with Inuit in her community. Martha Malaya Inukpuk's writings are marked by her awareness of contemporary issues specific to her community: the violence of colonial domination, but also the place of women in traditional Inuit society. She addressed this last question in her short trilingual (Inuktitut, English, French) autobiographical story, “Reflections from Inukjuak. Souvenirs d’Inukjuak” (1995), which also appeared in Makivik News. In this text, she provided many remembrances, especially an awareness of the role played by women, which distracted her from her love of hunting.

Along with her writings, her life gradually led her to pursue a career as a social worker in her community. She became a social worker in 2003 and gradually focused on suicide prevention. In 2013, she participated in the Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) program. In addition to her activities as a mental health trainer, she became the liaison officer for the Inuulitsivik Health Centre in 2014. This centre, which reports to the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services, is based in Puvirnituq, Nunavik and provides services to the seven villages on the coast of Ungava Bay, including Inukjuak. On behalf of the Inuulitsivik Health Centre, Martha Malaya Inukpuk received the Meritas Award for "Partner of the Year" in 2018, recognizing the substantive progress made on suicide prevention in Nunavik.

Martha Malaya Inukpuk lives in Inukjuak.

This biography is based on the available written material during a collective research carried out during 2018-2021. It is possible that mistakes and facts need to be corrected. If you notice an error, or if you wish to correct something in an author's biography, please write to us at and we will be happy to do so. This is how we will be able to have more precise presentations, and to better promote Inuit culture.

(c) International Laboratory for Research on Images of the North, Winter and the Arctic, Université du Québec à Montréal, 2018-2021, Daniel Chartier and al.