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Kiviuq: Wikis


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Kiviuq (also spelled "Qiviuq," "Kiviuk" and other variants) is the hero of epic stories of the Inuit of the Arctic regions of northern Canada, Alaska and Greenland.

Kiviuq is an eternal Inuit wanderer. Spirits, giants, cannibals, bears and sea monsters intermingle in Kiviuk's world, creating havoc for him. He walks, or travels by dog sled, kayak, or may be borne by huge fishes. His supernatural powers allow him to overcome all manner of obstacles in his travels across the North.

Stories about Kiviuq's many adventures are told across the Arctic. Kiviuq has lived a long time and has had many lives. Versions of his adventures vary with the location and the storyteller. In Greenland he is known as "Qooqa" and in Alaska he is called "Qayaq". Qajaq is short for Qajartuarungnertoq - 'He who shall always long to go roaming in his qajaq').

One well-known legend of Kiviuq tells of his friendship with the grandson of an old woman. Everyone abuses and makes fun of the boy except Kiviuq. The old woman decides to get revenge. She changes her grandson into a seal and has him swim out to sea. The men follow the seal, intending to hunt it. Before the hunters reach it, however, the old woman creates a storm and drowns everyone but the seal and Kiviuq. The seal swims safely back to shore, where the old woman turns him back into a boy. Kiviuq drifts away in his kayak continuing his adventures and living with people of many foreign lands.

Inuit elders say that he is in his last life now, on an adventure somewhere. However, before he dies he will return to see his people. Oral tradition has preserved many versions of the Kiviuq story-cycle, and today, a new generation of Inuit storytellers is bringing the tales to life in written or graphic form.

Qikiqtaarjuk, once a Hudson Bay island and now part of the mainland is associated with Kiviuq.[1]

Kiviuq, a moon of Saturn, is named for this legendary hero.


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