Until 1967, the Northwest Territories was governed from Ottawa by appointees who rarely visited the land or peoples they controlled. As part of his drive to integrate and modernize the country, Canadi
Until 1967, the Northwest Territories was governed from Ottawa by appointees who rarely visited the land or peoples they controlled. As part of his drive to integrate and modernize the country, Canadian Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson ordered Stuart Hodgson, a feisty British Columbia labour leader and founding member of the NDP, to move a fledgling government to Yellowknife and bring the North into the twentieth century.
Umingmak recounts Hodgson's indefatigable, and often controversial, efforts to introduce self-government and improve the lives of Northerners from 1967 to 1979. Beginning with an unprecedented winter tour of remote Arctic communities, Hodgson's initiatives ranged from the practical (helping Inuit citizens choose surnames to replace government-issued ID numbers) to the visionary (founding the Arctic Winter Games) to the grandiose (organizing three Royal visits).
View Biographical note
worked for several Ontario community newspapers before joining the Department of Northern Affairs and Natural Resources. Moving to Yellowknife in 1967, he served as Hodgson's executive assistant and then as the first Director of the Territorial Department of Information, responsible for all government public affairs and communications. He now resides in British Columbia.
View Review text
"It's about time we had a good, readable book about Stuart Hodgson, the larger-than-life commissioner who brought the Northwest Territories government to Yellowknife — literally, on those two planes we've all heard about, in 1967. . . It's to Ootes's credit that both sides of Hodgson's legacy are visible in this memoir (though often with Ootes cringing in the background on his boss's behalf). Among those critical of Hodgson's tight grip of power are James Wah-Shee (who wrote the forward), Chief Jimmy Bruneau, David Searle, Mary Carpenter and Lena Pederson. Ootes's unusual choice to write entirely in first-person, re-created scenes, makes this book highly readable, and highly valuable for anyone who wants to understand this very weird period."
— Northreads blog
"Ootes writes in the first person, building his narrative through detailed anecdotes and personal observations, conveyed by long stretches of dialogue in which the people of that time talk to each other like characters in a work of fiction. That means it's definitely not the kind of tedious academic text that will put you to sleep in five minutes."
— Nunatsiaq News