Meaning of "Ukiaq"
The novel's title, The Moons of Ukiaq, is meant to call to mind some distant planet, its alien moons rising in succession in the night. In fact, Ukiaq is a Natsilingmiutut word., meaning early winter. (Natsilingmiutut is the language spoken by the Netsilik Inuit of the western Arctic.) Because the story unfolds in this season, and because the high Arctic is to the typical Canadian a far-away, somewhat alien place, I find the nebulous title fitting.
From Uqalurait: An Oral History of Nunavut:
The Moons of Ukiaq (Early Winter)
- The constellation Aagjuuk appears.
During this season of increasing darkness, spirits were everywhere, making their presence known, visible sometimes, always ready to cause difficulty and danger.