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Thunder House ~ An Introduction

Acco0rding to recent oral histories, and the stories published by the Fifth Thule Expedition in 1931, the Thunder House was either built by or for the orphan children who were transformed into Thunder. The story relates that the children were abandoned by the Netsilik River, became Thunder and Lightening and lived nearby in a small stone dwelling called the Thunder House.

Many of the recently transcribed histories also mention a Netsilingmiut hunter and shaman who was laid out by the river and had a peculiar stone house, perhaps the Thunder House.

Mary Ittunga  Bernadette Uttaq

Click images for recollections


Yet another mystery surrounding the Thunder House is it's location.
While many of the elders interviewed agreed on the legend of the Thunder House, they weren't sure that the stone house located at NiJq-14 represented the actual Thunder House.

One of the narratives suggest that a shaman once occupied a peculiar stone house, that was not the Thunder House. A recently recorded feature, NiJp-27, may be the shaman's dwelling. It is a temporary shelter hollowed out of a weathered escarpment, near Nalluq.

Missing Skull?

The oral narratives recorded speak of a powerful shaman who built the house. They also speak of his skull that had remained in the house for a long time. This skull would move and point in the direction of game for hunting.

One Elder describes how as a young girl she was shown this skull in the Thunder House and that not soon after anthropologists took the skull and other human remains to museums in the south without permission or notification. The narratives also say they damaged NiJ1-14, the Thunder House.

Continue on to explore the stories gathered during this project. These narratives were recorded in Inuktitut and have been translated for this project. Over ten hours of audiotape was recorded during the interview process.

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