David led his first Arctic expedition in 1977, beginning a northern career spanning the decades since. During that time he published eight books and countless articles about the north, the land, its history, and its people. He has worked with biologists and archaeologists in the field, developed and written documentary films, served as co-curator of Inuit art exhibitions, and assisted with numerous community-based cultural projects across Nunavut.
Much of David’s work has been rooted in the collection of oral-history and traditional knowledge from Inuit elders. In 2012 he was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal "for dedication to the preservation of Inuit oral history and traditional knowledge [and for his] many works to help increase Canadians' understanding of the North."
An adventurer in his own right, David continued to lead northern expeditions, travelling by canoe and by dog team for thousands of kilometres in the Arctic wilderness.
Currently, David spends much of his time managing a small foundation, the Ayalik Fund, which gives Inuit youth who would otherwise not have such opportunities a chance to build self-esteem and confidence, through challenging outdoor adventure.