Northern life and Inuit culture

Northern life and Inuit culture


The village of AKULIVIK is so-named because it resembles a kakivak (fish spear)(1). The village is situated on a point of land surrounded by two stretches of water that make it look like the central spike of a kakivak, which is called"akulivik".

Akulivik is a recent village, founded in 1975(2). The Inuit of Akulivik, who were determined to go back to the area to live, transported several old houses from Puvirnituq by snowmobile and by boat. When the government saw their resolve, it decided to give them new houses.

A major migration of Arctic char passes near Akulivik. They can be caught either with rods or nets. There are also places to hunt seal nearby, and in winter the people of Akulivik help the inhabitants of Puvirnituq by sending them seal meat and fish. The Akulivimiut still speak their traditional language.


The northern Inuit village of Akulivik is located on a headland projecting out into Hudson Bay, facing Smith Island, 600 kilometers north of Kuujjuarapik. The neighboring villages include Ivujivik to the north and Puvirnituq to the south. This area was previously known under the name of Cape Smith.

The territory of Akulivik, designated as Category 1 land, is comprised of 558.3 km2. The surface area of the territory and the rights attached to it are defined by the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement.

Principal access to Akulivik is by airplane.


The Hudson's Bay Company had a fur trading post in Akulivik from 1924 to 1951. The site was abandoned in 1955 when a series of illnesses nearly wiped out the people who were living there. Those survivors amongst the Akulivimmiut (the name by which the peoples of Akulivik are known) found refuge in the newly established Hudson's Bay Company post of Puvirnituk, where they stayed for almost twenty years. The present-day village was founded in 1976 and incorporated in 1979 with the signature of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement.

The name "Akulivik" can be translated as the "central point of a trident " referring to a three-pronged fishing harpoon, or, also, as the "point of land between two bays".


Local administration is assured by the municipal council of Akulivik, established by the Northern Village Corporation. The Northern Village of Akulivik council is part of the Kativik Regional Authority.


Hunting, construction and the production of soapstone sculptures are the principal sectors of economic activity in the community of Akulivik.

The local cooperative store is active in retail sales, arts and crafts production, the commercial fur trade, the distribution of petroleum products and recreational goods.


Along with basic electricity and telephone services, the community also includes a police unit. An airstrip, a seaplane base, a road maintenance department and a municipal freezer are other important facilities available to the community. There is a hotel in Akulivik that is administered by the Fédération des coopératives du Nouveau-Québec.

Akulivik has a community radio station : Kanguup Nipinga FM Akulivik, 103.5 MHz.

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(1) This type of spear, or leister, has a central spike flanked on either side by a curved piece of ivory with barbs. Once the fish is speared on the central spike, it is held by these side pieces.
(2) The inhabitants of the region lived on the island of Cape Smith until the closing of the Hudson's Bay Company post. They relocated in Puvirnituq where they lived until 1975 without really integrating into the local population. They then returned to their original homeland.