The trade networks of Kitikmeot Inuit reached well beyond their immediate neighbours in the region. One of the main arteries for the movement of goods and raw materials was from the south. One of the draws for Inuinnait was the abundance of driftwood at a place called Akiliniq. Akiliniq is a hilly area on the shores of Tipjalik (Beverly Lake) whose name means “it has driftwood”.
INUINNAQ FUR TRADER
The attraction of this site for Inuit from throughout the Kitikmeot and Kivalliq regions made it a place of exchange of news, ideas and trade goods. One of the main routes for Inuit from the Victoria Island and Coronation Gulf areas to travel to Akiliniq was through Bathurst Inlet. Around 1915, anthropologist Diamond Jenness met an elderly Kiluhikturmiut shaman named Ilatsiak (Ilattiaq), who had done the trip at least three times. He would travel from Bathurst Inlet to Akliniq in the early winter and then return the following spring. Jenness learned that Inuinnait traded for guns, ammunition and knives at Akiliniq. Ilatsiak himself had traded for a saw, an axe, gunpowder and two big snow knives.
Inuit from the Kivalliq region also travelled north into the Kitikmeot along this trade route. During this time Jenness also made recordings of a Paallirmiut man named Qaqsavina, and a man from Akiliniq named Atqaq singing traditional songs or pihiit who were visiting Inuinnait.
The presence of Paallirmiut visiting Inuinnait demonstrates the extent of the distances travelled by Inuit historically. It also shows that this trade network was a source of goods from Hudson’s Bay Company posts on Hudson Bay. It is not known whether this trade route was active when the Churchill post was opened in 1717, but iron items were observed among Inuit at Bloody falls in the 1770s. The Kilhikturmiut shaman Ilatsiak travelled to the HBC post at Chesterfield Inlet that was opened in 1911.
Listen to Ilatsiak's Song
Dance Song, sung by Ilatsiak, the Kilusiktok shaman. (Diamond Jenness/CMH/IV-D-2T)
Ilatsiak, Kiluhiktuq Shaman (Jenness/CMH/36935)