Rachel Panipakoocho was born at Nunastiaq, near Pond Inlet, in 1947. In 1956, when she was 8 years old, her mother left for tuberculosis treatment and remained gone for 4 years. Rachel relocated to Pond Inlet when she was 12 years old. She lived in a small shack until 1960, when her family was allocated a matchbox unit. Rachel and her husband remained in Pond Inlet. Her husband owned a dog team, but he was told to let go of it once he got a job.