The community of Igloolik is located on a small Island on the northeastern corner of Melville Peninsula, 75 Kilometres north of Hall Beach and 870 kilometres north west of Iqaluit. Igloolik is the most traditional Inuit Community in Nunavut and one of the oldest. With over 4000 years of history, the other communities look up to Igloolik for it's culture. Igloolik is famous for his aged walrus, called Igunaq. Hunters will bury the walrus in the ground in July, dig it out around November or December (when the ground is frozen), and eat it. Igloolik is also the home town of well-known stone, antlers and ivory carvers.|
History of Igloolik
The area around Igloolik has sustained the inhabitants of the area for thousands of years. The earliest recorded archaeological site records back 4000 years. The area around Igloolik was inhabited by the Tuniit (also believed by archaeologists to be the Dorset culture who inhabited the region for almost 2000 years). The first direct contact the people of Igloolik had with Europeans was in 1822 when the British Navy ships Fury and Hecla wintered at Igloolik. The ships were under the command of Captain William Edward Parry. An American explorer by the name of Charles Francis Hall also visited the area in 1867 and in 1868 in his search for survivors of the Franklin expedition. Approximately 8 kilometres away from Igloolik is an old Inuit village site and is now called Igloolik Point.
Few Inuktitut words…..
- Ulaakut---------- Good morning
- Uluukuut-------- Good afternoon
- Qanuiipit-------- How are you?
- Qanuingitunga-- I'm fine
- Qujanaamiik----- Thank you
- Elaali------------- You're welcome
The first permanent presence
The first permanent presence of outsiders to Igloolik appeared in the 1930's with the establishment of the Roman Catholic Church. The Anglican Church established a mission in 1959 and the Igloolik Co-operative was established in 1963.
The present community of Igloolik dates back to the 1950's. In the 1960's, the first school was established as well as the nursing station and the RCMP detachment. During this time, the surrounding camps moved into Igloolik because of the available services that were provided by the Government. The school in Igloolik was named after Attaguttaluk. She was the wife of a highly respected leader Ittuksaarjuat.
The population of Igloolik is approximately 1600 people. Through all the changes that Igloolik has gone through, the community has never lost site of its cultural roots. Through an active elders group (Inullariit Society), the elders teach valuable land skills and traditional sewing techniques to the community. The Igloolik Research Center has spear headed an oral history project aimed at preserving the elders traditional knowledge.
Activities in Igloolik
Fishing Arctic char
Boat rides to: See harp, bearded and ringed seals
See narwhal, bowhead and beluga whales
A small island nearby to go egg picking (Canada/Snow geese)
Sightseeing Tours (available through the hotel) Snowmobile ride to Avaaja. Beautiful arctic sceneries, with visit at Igloolik's fist church and stop for an outdoor typical Inuit dinner (caribou stew, bannock (Inuit bread) and tea).
Snowmobile ride to Igloolik Point. Visit the old Sod House (first Inuit house) with stop for an outdoor typical Inuit dinner (same as above)
Dog sled tour (includes Inuit dinner)
Watch an Inuk building an igloo and if you want, you can spend the night!! (includes Inuit dinner)
Bird watching such as:
- Arctic Tern
- Tundra Swans
- Canada and Snow goose
- Snow Bunting
- Eider ducks
- Snowy Owl