Angulalik and his family. Perry River. 1959.
Bailey/National Archives of Canada/PA-175729)
outward trappings of success were many. He had a successful
business, a large ship, and he was also known to import stylish
clothes from the south. Not surprisingly he stood out among
native people in the northern Canada. He was photographed by
many, and written about in newspapers and magazines. He was
awarded the King George V Silver Jubilee medal in 1935 in recognition
of his accomplishments.
1953 he was presented the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation medal,
however, the decade of the 1950s was to bring hard times for
Angulalik and his family and see Angulalik on trial for murder.
in 1956, the sons of a man named Otoetok, had been habitually
stealing trade goods from Angulalik’s store. He confronted
one of the boys and forced him to return the stolen items.
This event was a humiliation for Otoetok, who had already commented
publicly on his resentment of Angulalik’s prosperity.
On several occasions after the incident, community members
witnessed Otoetok threaten to kill Angulalik.
situation was to come to a head during a New Year Eve party
on December 31, 1956 at Norman Evalik’s house. In a crowded
house filled with partygoers who were drinking homebrew, Otoetok
again threatened Angulalik and began pushing him around. He
tried to stay away from Otoetok, but to no avail. In the drunken
din of the party no one realized the seriousness of the altercation,
and in what perhaps was a moment of panic Angulalik stabbed
Otoetok with the small knife he always carried for eating.
wounds were not serious as he had only a small cut on his arm
and a small slit in his abdomen. However, because he did not
treat these wounds but continued to eat and drink copious amounts
over days, the resultant intestinal gasses caused a portion
of his bowel to be forced through the slit in his abdomen.
By January 4th Otoetok suffered an agonizing death by strangulated
Angulalik learned of Otoetok’s death he dictated a letter
to Norman Evalik and sent one copy to the police and one to
the HBC manager Bill Heslop. The letter explained how badly
he felt about Otoetok’s death, and that he had considered
suicide. In the ensuing trial at Cambridge Bay conducted by
Judge Sissons, Angulalik was acquitted of the charge of murder.