'There's just so much about Labrador that's so beautiful and unique': 20 questions with award winning Inuit storyteller Sophie Angnatok

Seen here perfoming are Strength of the Drum members, from left, Stanley Nochasak and Sophie Angnatok. — Joe Gibbons/SaltWire file photo

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Sophie Angnatok is an Inuit throat singer, solo artist, Inuit drummer, and storyteller.

Originally from Nain, Labrador, she has lived in St. John’s for over 20 years.

Angnatok recently won the Chris Brookes Memorial Award, which is a $2,000 award from RCA Theatre Company for projects in development.

Sophie Angnatok is an Indigenous drum and throat singing performer living in St. John’s. - Contributed

Angnatok’s project, Coming Full Circle, will incorporate traditional knowledge, she explains. She says it explores not only what she struggled through, but also the beauty of her life and her experiences.

Angnatok says the recognition is great after all the time she sacrificed with her family, which she says was one of her biggest struggles.

“I’ve pretty much lived in St. John’s on my own for 20 years now, and that’s pretty hard. Living away from my family is not very easy, with no help. But I’m glad I won this award,” says Angnatok. “I had applied through with Louise Moyes. I had recently done my solo there this past summer and Coming Full Circle. I had seen this online, and I said to Louise don’t I qualify for this as an artist.

"She said, ‘Yes you do!’ And so, I applied."

Angnatok says her colleague, Moyse, who’s a dancer and choreographer in St. John’s, helped her with several aspects of the award.

“She helped me apply; she helped me out. The recognition has been awesome," Angnatok says.

Her upcoming production will be presented at festivals, theatres, and events. She says she’s excited about the award and the recognition of her hard work.




1. What is your full name?

Elizabeth Sophie Angnatok


2. Where were you born and where do you live today?

Like most Labradorians, we were all sent to Goose Bay. Born in Goose Bay reared up in Nain and now I live in St. John’s.


3. What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I don’t know. I’m not really sure. I really don’t know.


4. What is the hardest thing you have done?

Having to be away from siblings. Having to move away from family, that was pretty hard. Living on your own is hard. I’ve lived on my own for pretty much 20 years.

National Indigenous People’s Day was held across Canada Wednesday, June 21. Seen here performing throat singing are two members of the Indigenous quartet Strength of the Drum, from left, Sophie Angnatok and Ashley Dicker, at an event held in St. John's to celebrate the occasion. — Joe Gibbons/The Telegram file photo

5. Describe one experience that changed your life?


Going to the Torngat Mountains. I tell everybody, there’s no way to describe it, you have to go there and see it. It's like the smell, the air and the taste, the water, the taste of the food, the crunch of the snow underneath you or the Northern Lights. I mean, there's just so much about Labrador that's so beautiful and unique.


6. What’s your favourite food?

Caribou. The thing is you can’t eat Caribou now, but it’s my favourite food if I was able to eat it again. So, I guess it’s Smoked Char now.


7. What is your favourite book/movie?

The Clan of the Cave Bear (written by Jean M. Auel and made into a film in 1986).

8. What music do you listen to?

I really like everything; I can’t listen to heavy metal though.


9. How do you like to relax?

Sit back and watch TV, simple as that.


10. What’s your favourite TV show?

Right now, it’s "According to Jim". It changes from time to time.

11. Which actor would play you in a movie about your life?

I would want somebody that would have to be native. If I was to pick anybody and have some similarities to me, of course. I can’t think of an exact one, I really don’t know. Just have to be someone like me.


12. What is your greatest fear?

To be burnt in a house fire.


13. What is your greatest joy?

My son. His name is Dylan. He’s a young man now, but he’s my pride and joy.


14. What is your most treasured possession?

My son again.


15. What is the best advice you got from a parent or a mentor?

To relax and things will happen in its own time.


16. What is your best quality?

I’m outspoken.


17. What is your worst quality?

I’m outspoken. On both ends, seriously.


18. Where is your favorite place in the world?

I have to say Torngats. After being up there, it’s the best place I’ve ever been so far. I've traveled Canada, but there's no place like being in your motherland.

Torngat National Park — newfoundlandlabrador.com - Government of Newfoundland and Labrador

19. Do you have social media? And do you follow anyone?


I’m not much for following celebrities. I do like Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Anniston, pretty much the greats of the 80s, and 90s.


20. If you could have dinner with three people at a dinner party,

Governor General Mary Simon, my grandmother if I can bring back people from the dead, and my mom too. It would be nice to talk to my mom again.


Sanuda Ranawake is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering Indigenous and rural issues.

Sanuda Ranawake, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram