Dorothy Harley Eber

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Dorothy Margaret Harley Eber, CM[1] (born 1925) is a Canadian author and one of the first people to transcribe and publish oral histories of Inuit people in Nunavut in both English and Inuktitut. She has devoted much of her life to preserving the history of the Inuit people. In the 1970s, she was one of the first writers to record their oral history on tape. She then completed the first oral biography of an Inuk, Pitseolak Ashoona, based on first hand accounts.[1] Printed in both English and Inuktitut, it is said that Pitseolak: Pictures out of my Life[2] was the first book, after the Bible, to be published in the Inuit language.[1] Her multiple other works, including films and exhibitions, as well as her written material, have provided Canadians with a better understanding of Inuit culture.[1] She is invited regularly to present at museums and cultural institutions worldwide, international conferences, and has contributed articles to international journals. She has served on committees to judge annual Inuit art competitions.


Eber was born in England of Welsh and Nova Scotian parentage and spent her early childhood in Wales and England. She attended schools in Wales, England, Ontario and Nova Scotia's Edgehill School for Girls. She is also a graduate of the University of Toronto. After graduation she worked as a reporter and in 1968 made her first trip to the Arctic to the community of Cape Dorset, famous for its Inuit artists.[3] She returned in 1970 to do interviews with the graphic artist Pitseolak Ashoona. The book, with Ashoona's drawings and prints, was published the next year and has never been out of print. Since that time she has undertaken many more interview projects in the North. Tapes for her interviews are deposited in the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Ottawa. Over two summers, she also interviewed many elderly residents of Baddeck, Nova Scotia, who worked with Alexander Graham Bell on the hydrofoil and the tetrahedral kites which he developed there after the telephone made him famous. Her book Genius at Work: Images of Alexander Graham Bell was published in 1982 by The Viking Press, New York and later by Nimbus, Halifax, Nova Scotia.[4]

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