Michael (Arvaarluk) Kusugak

Famed Inuit Author & Storyteller


Michael Arvaarluk Kusugak is an Inuit author and mesmerizing storyteller who takes audiences on a journey like no other as he shares his experiences and love for his Arctic home. Michael’s passion towards his home and the lessons he teaches through his presentations are sure to inspire all audiences.

Michael was raised in the snow-covered area of Repulse Bay, NWT (now Naujaat, Nunavut). During his childhood, his family travelled by dog sled, lived in igloos during winter, and tents in summer. Michael did not have access to books as a child, but he learned the art of storytelling from his grandmother, who shared the compelling ancient stories of the Arctic.

At age six, Michael was sent to a residential school in Chesterfield Inlet, and eventually became the first Inuk from the eastern Arctic to graduate from high school. During his studies, Michael  learned to read and write, and began crafting poems and stories. He never dreamed of becoming an author, until he met Canadian legend, Robert Munsch. Robert inspired Michael to write down the legends and tales of his childhood, and they even collaborated on the well-known classic, A Promise is a Promise.

Before committing his time to writing, Michael spent fifteen years working for the government in various positions. In his last posting, he was the Director of Community Programs for Arctic College. Now, Michael devotes his time to writing, storytelling and speaking to educators and community leaders.

When he’s not hard at work on his next project, Michael enjoys hunting, fishing, boating, and looking out his study window at the beauty of the northern landscape, screeching beyond the horizon.

Michael now splits his time between his home in Arnes, Manitoba and Rankin Inlet, Nunavut.


A Promise is a Promise

Michael Kusugak is a natural storyteller who has an easy rapport with audiences. He uses personal anecdotes of living in the Canadian Arctic and incorporates traditional spirit creatures into his stories to draw out lessons for modern life. His manner and stories will expand understanding of the Inuit beyond stereotypes of igloos, nose-rubbing, and whale blubber.

Inuit Stories

Michael Kusugak’s own story is equally as fascinating as those he takes pen to paper. He grew up living in igloos, sod huts, and tents. He traveled by dog team following the caribou or living on the sea ice so that his family could hunt seals, whales, walrus, and catch fish to eat. In this captivating presentation, Michael weaves traditional stories passed down from his elders with his life stories.

Residential Schools

Michael spent many years in several residential schools. The worst of these was at the Catholic Mission in Chesterfield Inlet. It was run by nuns, priests and brothers. Michael talks about some of his experiences in these schools when requested in age/grade appropriate sessions. School had both negative and positive effects on his life, and he talks about both sides but likes to focus on the strength he gained and the learning that brought him to who he is today. Michael’s mother always told him, “No matter what you experience in life, take the good and leave the bad behind.” This advice has guided him in his life.

Adversity / After Dinner / Author / Diversity and Inclusion / Fresh Perspectives / Generational Differences / Health & Wellness / Indigenous / Leadership / Resilience