Nunavut

GALLERY

Iqaluit signs, Nunavut© Bruce AmosIqaluit signs, Nunavut
© Bruce Amos
In 1999, Canadians changed their maps when Nunavut became a territory of its own. It's a homeland for Canada's Inuit (also known as Eskimos in the United States). Comprising 1.9 million square kilometres, it is home to just 30,000 people, making it one of the most sparsely populated places on the continent.

That means a traveller will have plenty room, but it also means the people you do meet will be especially friendly and welcoming. Southerners sometimes think of the Inuit as people living in snow igloos, but today's Inuit live in two worlds: the modern world we know and the traditional world of their ancestors.

That means that if you find yourself in an Inuit town, such as Iqaluit, you won't feel too out of place. But it also means you can venture out and experience a taste of "iliqqusiq" (the Inuit way of life). You can experience the hypnotic rhythm of the drum dance, and you can be entranced by the sound of ancient throat songs. Perhaps you will find an Inuit hunter who will take you on a dogsled ride across a frozen fjord, or maybe even share exciting stories of the hunt.

Community of Repulse Bay, Nunavut© Bruce AmosCommunity of Repulse Bay, Nunavut
© Bruce Amos
If you're looking for a unique souvenir, keep your eyes open for Inuit soapstone carvings. These pieces often sell for hundreds of dollars in fine art galleries. Look for the trademarked "igloo tag" to make sure you're getting the real deal. One tradition of Inuit commerce is that shoppers are often quoted two prices: the first is the price the artisan feels is deserved; the second is the price that will be accepted if you can't afford the first price. Finally, bear in mind that Inuit artists are allowed to work with ivory and bones from endangered animals. You may not be allowed to bring such pieces home with you.

by Laura Byrne Paquet

Nunavut

Stock Photos from 123RF


Stock Photos from 123RF