Sylvester Drabitt was born in Tarnopol, Saskatchewan in 1926. He studied biology at the University of Saskatchewan and painting at the Art Institute of Chicago and the University of Chicago. He began work on his Ph.D. at Chicago and then continued his studies at Iowa State University. While studying in Iowa, he was introduced to Inuit art. He was so impressed by the work of Inuit artists, that he decided to study medicine in order to travel in the arctic and work and learn from them. He graduated from the medical program at the University of Manitoba in 1961 and served an internship at St. Boniface Hospital. In the fall of 1962, he joined the Indian and Northern Health Services and began practicing in Frobisher Bay (Iqaluit). In 1964, he served aboard the "C.D. Howe" as Medical Officer for the annual arctic patrol. He spent two years in Frobisher Bay and then returned to St. Boniface to study surgery. After spending a year in Cambridge Bay, he returned to Frobisher Bay in 1967 and left in 1968. He retired to Victoria. B.C.