The graphic novels "Oqaluttuat / Tales" tell about the prehistory of Greenland. They are created by Nuka in close collaboration with archaeologists from the National Museum of Denmark and the school book publisher Ilinniusiorfik in Nuuk. The books can be ordered here.
"The first steps"
Nuka K. Godtfredsen, Bjarne Grønnow and Mikkel Sørensen, 2009, Ilinniusiorfik. Greenlandic, Danish, English og Japanese (2015).
It is 4500 years ago. We are in northernmost Canada and Greenland. Following a vendetta a small group of people are leaving their familiar world behind to migrate into unknown areas in the East. But the sea ice is brittle and the hunting unsuccessful so they do not make it. Only the boy Nanu and a few others survive. Nanu cannot forget the new hunting grounds, and when he grows up and becomes a big hunter, he and his family once more travel to the East - and into Greenland! Here they explore the northernmost parts of the world, they hunt musk ox and settle down. The circle is complete when Nanu and his group of Independence hunters, who migrated to the northward of Greenland, meet the first people, who went southward of the country, the Saqqaq people.
The First Steps is based on a close collaboration between the Greenlandic artist Nuka K. Godtfredsen and a team of archaeologists from SILA - the Greenlandic Research Centre at the National Museum of Denmark.
Nuka K. Godtfredsen and Martin Appelt, 2012, Ilinniusiorfik. Greenlandic, Danish, English
Ukaliatsiaq is the name of a young Tunit woman living a lonely existence among family and fellows in the neighbourhood of Smith Sound, in northernmost Greenland. Her life changes dramatically one Summer when Umimmak arrives at her village. He has travelled to her settlement from far away in order to barter for meteoric iron, but also to take Ukaliatsiaq as his apprentice. Together they travel to distant areas and through the darkest nooks and crannies of their minds.
This story takes place in the 12th Century, exactly at the time when Inuit for the first time crossed the large delta at the mouth of the Mackenzie-River, on the border between present-day Alaska and Canada. Within a few generations, the Inuit had settled all parts of Arctic Canada and Greenland, and the Tunit had disappeared into the mists of history.
The Ermine / Ukaliatsiaq is the second volume in the series "Oqaluttuat / Stories" and is produced in close collaboration between artist Nuka K. Godtfredsen, the Greenlandic schoolbook publisher Ilinniusiorfik and the National Museum of Denmark.
Nuka K. Godtfredsen, H.C. Gulløv and Lisbeth Valgreen, 2015, Ilinniusiorfik. Greenlandic, Danish, English.
In this third volume about Greenland's history, we find ourselves in 18th Century West Greenland, where the Inuit and the Danish-Norwegian settlers populated the country, while in the Summer on the seam there was lively activity with the European whalers.
In "The Gift", we follow the Inuit boy Qajuuttaq who lives in Kangeq with his family. One Summer, Qajuuttaq and his family enter the Nuuk Fjord to make pots and lamps from soapstone and here his parents succumb to the smallpox epidemic. Qajuuttaq carves a kayak model in wood and lays it in his parents' grave. Qajuuttaq grows up with his father's family and, as an adult, he and his family travel to Disko Bay and take part in the whale hunt. While spending the Winter in Disko Bay, Qajuuttaq falls out with Asaleq and when Asaleq wants to sell Qajuuttaq the kayak model he had made for his parents' grave, Qajuuttaq gets angry because Asaleq has stolen it from a sacred place. They agree to settle the dispute at the Summer settlement on Taseralik.
"The Gift" is a tale of cultural meeting, mission, revenge killings, barter and friendship based on archaeological discoveries and historical sources from this period. The book is the third volume in the series of "Oqaluttuat / Tales" and has been create through close collaboration between artist Nuka K. Godtfredsen, the Greenland schoolbook publisher Ilinniusiorfik and the National Museum of Denmark.
Nuka K. Godtfredsen, Jette Arneborg and Lisbeth Valgreen, Ilinniusiorfik, 2018. Greenlandic, Danish, English.
"The Scar" is a tale of everyday life, faith and loyalty in the 14th Century catholic society of Southern Greenland.
As children, two siblings, Bjørg and Thorleif, enter into an oath of loyalty in which they mix their blood. When they grow up, both get married and Bjørg has children. Bjørg's husband sails northwards to hunt walrus and trade with the Skraelings and, as a confirmation of a good trade with the Inuit, he is invited to go to bed with a local woman. When he returns home to Sissarluttoq, his conscience is plaguing him, and when Bjørg gives birth to a dead child, he confesses his infidelity.
Gardar, the episcopal see in Southern Greenland, belongs to the Norwegian church, and the Greenlanders pay tithes to the Norwegian archbishop and taxes to the Norwegian king and the city where they trade their goods. Bjørg travels to Bergen with Thorleif and his wife Gudveig. The journey has catastrophic consequences for the little group of Greenlanders and, after their return, the oath of loyalty between Bjørg and her brother is activated.