(too-loo-gak): Inuktitut (the language of Inuit) word meaning raven

Catherine Moore

Yellowknife, NT

My story is about the naming of our youngest son, Galen Tulugaq. When I found out I was pregnant, we were trying to determine names, not only family names but names of good friends or names of great significance to us. I wanted to name whoever this child was going to be, boy or girl, after a very good friend, Elise Attagutaluk, who had several Inuktitut names, one of them being Tuluganaq, which is smaller raven. For some period of time I was somewhat reluctant to ask Elise’s family in Igloolik if I could name this child. Finally, I got up my nerve and asked her sister Alexina Kublu and it was quite reassuring and calming. She looked me in the eye and said of course, we’ve already discussed this with my dad. This baby has already been given a name. Which name do you want? We discussed several of the names, which were lengthy and had difficult spellings, and knowing this child may not always remain in the North, I didn’t want to saddle somebody with an unwieldy name. We decided on Tulugaq because of its significance for being a raven. Elise was quite a flier in her own right. After Galen was born, I don’t think we were home more than 48 hours, and in my great sleep deprivation mode, I noticed perched, quite literally on the edge of a window. We didn’t have much of an external window sill, a half inch at most. There was this enormous raven looking in and watching the entire proceedings. This raven would appear quite often over Galen’s first year, either on the ledge or on the shed. It was always checking out what was going on…kind of supervising. Galen goes by two names now, Galen and Tulu. There was a lot of significance. He was being watched over and things were going to be alright