Text and Photographs by Max Friesen
meaning “place of many fish ”, is a short
stretch of the Ekalluk River near Cambridge Bay. Modern elders
recall it as a very important place for char fishing, and
in past years caribou were hunted here in large numbers.
1999, the Kitikmeot Heritage Society decided that Iqaluktuuq
should be studied by an archaeologist. They contacted Dr.
Max Friesen, an archaeologist at the University of Toronto,
and since then annual summer field camps have brought together
elders, youth, and archaeologists to record and collect important
information, and also to provide Inuinnaqtun immersion opportunities
for youth. The combination of traditional knowledge and archaeology
has revealed that Iqaluktuuq is one of the most important
archaeological areas in Nunavut. This project is supported
by the Department of Culture, Language, Elders & Youth,
the Polar Continental Shelf Project, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
cultural history of Iqaluktuuq is divided into several periods.
For the past 750 years, Iqaluktuuq was inhabited by Inuit,
including their early ancestors who are known as “Thule
Inuit”. Before Inuit, the land was occupied by very
different people whom Inuit knew as “Tuniit”,
who first arrived in the region over 4000 years ago. Archaeologists
call Tuniit by several names, with later Tuniit called Dorset,
and the most ancient Tuniit known as Pre-Dorset.
elders’ knowledge, and archaeology, we can begin to
understand something about how these ancient people lived.
Follow the links to find out about the different people who
lived at Iqaluktuuq over the past 4000 years. The buttons
on the left are arranged in order from modern times at the
top, to the oldest archaeological period at the bottom.