Nelson was born in 1930. Nelson is a member of a family of talented sculptors that includes brothers Judas Ullulaq, Charlie Ugayuk, Joata Sugslak, and Stephen Aggag. He is the uncle of late Karoo Ashevak (1940 - 1974). His wife Mary and their two sons Elijah and Jacob are also carvers.
He began creating small carvings in the early 1950s at the prompting of Oblate missionary Father Henry. When a government craft show was opened in Gjoa Have in the early 1970s, Nelson began carving on an ongoing basis.
The Gjoa Haven carving style is known for working in combinations of media, such as whalebone, stone, caribou antler, and sinew. These artists produce images that are dramatic, sometimes humourous, often extravagant and not infrequently grotesque.