The text of People from Our Side consists of Peter Pitseolak's manuscript -- originally written in syllabics -- and a narrative drawn from interviews conducted by Dorothy Eber with the help of young Inuit interpreters. Peter Pitseolak learned the system of reading and writing brought by the missionaries and from an early age formed the habit of keeping a diary. He took his first photograph for a white man who was afraid to approach a polar bear and later, in the early 1940s, acquired his own camera and taught himself, with the help of his wife Aggeok, to develop films in igloo, tent, and hut. His pictures catch, as no white photographer's could, the authentic quality and detail of Eskimo life in the last days of the camp system. Sweeping from nomadic times to the early 1970s, Peter Pitseolak provides a frank and vigorous account of how change came to Baffin Island. A realist who knew he was providing a social history of a vanishing way of life, his story is a farewell to traditional camp life and to Seekooseelak -- where the people of Cape Dorset once had their camps.
Dorothy Harley Eber is the author of Pitseolak: Pictures Out of My Life, When the Whalers Were Up North: Inuit Memories from the Eastern Arctic and, with Peter Pitseolak, People from Our Side: A Life Story With Photographs and Oral Biography. She lives in