The territory of Nunavut is rich with history. For over four thousand years, different Arctic cultures have migrated through this landscape and made it their home. The Pitquhirnikkut Ilihautiniq/Kitikmeot Heritage Society is dedicated to working with professional archaeologists to help document the lives and traditions of these past peoples. We encourage archaeological research that involves local elders and youth, and finds meaningful ways to both build knowledge about the past and communicate it through public excavations, oral history documentation and the development of educational resources.
We are involved in multiple ongoing relationships with universities, museums and academic researchers to set new standards for community-based archaeology in the Canadian Arctic. For more information about the process and findings of our collaborative research, please access the sample selection of PDF publications below.
From 1999 to 2010, we collaborated with the University of Toronto on a project combining traditional knowledge and archaeology at Iqaluktuuq, near Cambridge Bay. Over the project’s 12 years, teams of southern and Inuinnait archaeologists studied large and important sites spanning over 3,000 years of the region’s ancient history.
Our current five-year collaboration with the University of Toronto is investigating the Inuinnait cultural history and the archaeology of the Bathurst Inlet region. We're documenting the enduring and evolving Inuit relationship to the Bathurst Inlet landscape through excavations, community monitoring, drone mapping, language and toponymy, and oral history work.
OTHER ORAL HERITAGE & ARCHAEOLOGY PROJECTS
Over the years, we have paired archaeology with oral heritage to gain a deeper understanding of the past. Working with Elders to interpret sites and artifacts, we have been able to record oral traditions about Inuinnait life.
Max Friesen and Lauren
Norman, 2016, "The Pembroke Site: Thule Inuit Migrants on Southern Victoria Island,"
Arctic 69(1): 1-18.
Max Friesen, 2013, "The Impact of Weapon Technology on Caribou Drive System Variability in the Prehistoric Canadian Arctic," Quaternary International 297: 13-23.
Lesley Howse and Max Friesen, 2016, "Technology, Taphonomy, and Seasonality: Understanding Differences between Dorset and Thule Subsistence Strategies at Iqaluktuuq, Victoria Island,"
Arctic 69(5): 1-15.
Brendan Griebel, 2013, "Building from the Ground Up: Reconstructing Visions of Community in Cambridge Bay," Nunavut. Etudes/Inuit/
Studies 37(1): 9-33.
Brendan Griebel, 2010,
"A Conflict of Interest: A Case Study for Community Archaeology in the Canadian Arctic," MUSEUM
International 62(1‐2): 75‐80.
Max Friesen, 2002, "Analogues at Iqaluktuuq: the social context of archaeological inference in Nunavut, Arctic Canada," World Archaeology 34(2): 330-345.
OUR TOP 10
Over 22 years, our partnership with the University of Toronto has combined archaeological and traditional knowledge research. Along the way, we made some amazing discoveries about the history of both Inuit and the mysterious people who lived in Nunavut before them, the Tuniit.