Northern life and Inuit culture

Northern life and Inuit culture

Inukjuak

INUKJUAK takes its name from the past, for the word means "in this place lived many Inuit". Today, its Inuit population amounts to over 1426 (in 2006).

The territory around Inukjuak boasts what are probably the most beautiful landscapes in the whole of Nunavik. The high cliffs of the islands face the coastline, and it is very pleasant to travel in summer by boat or canoe near these crags, for there are few waves, especially when the wind is gentle or when it comes from the sea. In winter, the sea ice of this region is very smooth and looks almost like the floor of a house, which means one can travel fast by qamutik.

Inukjuak is the place where the first French traders, Revillon Frères, settled in about 1902. Only one of their buildings sti ll stands. I remember them very well because my father worked for them. Some objects they sold are still owned by the Inuit, mostly fox traps.

Today, Inukjuak is one of Nunavik's largest villages. Not many Qallunaat live there, and those who work there mostly leave when their task is finished. The main resources of Inukjuak are caribou and seal, and in winter there is fishing on the lakes. The Inuit of Inukjuak, both young and old, still use their own language, Inuktitut. Although some Inuit speak English, they only speak it with the Qallunaat and few speak it well.

There are many dog teams in this community today. After a period when they used only snowmobiles, the Inuit have gone back to the traditional way.

Territory

The Northern village of Inukjuak is located on the east coast of Hudson’s Bay, at the mouth of the Innuksuac river, in front of Hopewell islands, at 360 kilometers north of Kuujjuarapik. The territory of this community, of the grounds of category 1, has a surface of 561.2 km2. The land and the rights which are attached to it are delimited by the Convention of the James Bay and North of Quebec.

Principal access to Akulivik is by airplane.

Description

The current site of the community of Inukjuak was known also under the name of Port Harrison. A geological camp of exploration was established there at the beginning of the century and stations of draft in 1909, the company Revillon Frères, and 1920 by the Company of Hudson’s Bay. Part of the population of this locality was relocated, during years 1950, in Resolute Bay, in the Cornwallis island, and in Grise Fjord, in the island of Ellesmere. They since obtained compensations, following a survey carried out by the Royal Commission into the aboriginal people.

"Inukjuak" would mean, in inuktitut, "the great man" or "the giant". The origin of this name is not known. Inukjuak is a significant arts centre for the inuit nation. One finds there the registered office of the Avataq Cultural Institute and the Inukjuak Museum.

Administration

The local government is ensured by the town council of the Nordic Village of Inukjuak. The council of the Inukjuak belongs to the Kativik Regional Administration.

Economy

The local co-operative is active in the following sectors: the retail sale, production of sculpture, of craft industry and engraving, the setting in market of the furs, distribution of the petroleum products, restoration, lodging, the recreation and purveyances.

Health and Social Services

One finds in particular in this community a dispensary, with a doctor, of the personnel male nurse and a dentist. Also, the Inukjauk Reintegration Centre offers services to the people who have mental problems.

Communications

Inukjuak has a Community radio, Radio Inukjuak, 103.5 MHz. The telephone and Internet services are offers by Bell Canada.

For more info: www.nvinukjuak.ca