Kanajuk — Sculpin

Another fish, less known to southerners than the arctic charr, was still significant in the lives of the Inuit. There are several different species of sculpins in the Arctic Ocean (see the "Fish" section in "Organisms"), many with which the Inuit were familiar. Kanajuq, the sea scorpion, could be associated with nagjulik, "the one who has horns or antlers", kaaiut, "the one who puts himself in under the stones", and many other names. Sacred language spoke of the sculpin as taaklainngiq, "the one that must not be mentioned". This is the same name given to the great bowhead whale – a reference to the sculpin's similarity to the whale in shape. The size, shape, and exaggerated features of the sculpin inspires a certain amount of humour on the part of its observers (Randa 1994).

The sculpin, although not large enough to contribute significantly to the Inuit diet, was nevertheless appreciated. Children spent hours fishing for sculpins along the shoreline, and bringing them to the elders who considered the small fish a delicacy. Inuit say that this was sometimes risky because of the qallupilluit, the sea trolls, who live on beached ice floes along the shoreline. These trolls bang with pieces of stone against ice floes to make a knocking sound. Sometimes a female qallupilluk transforms herself into human form and walks about, perhaps hoping to carry off a human in her amauti, or hood pocket (IOHP 456).