Our home, Grise Fiord, Canada's most northerly community, has existed since 1953. That's when the Canadian government relocated Inuit families from northern Quebec and northern Baffin Island to the top of the world, to strengthen Canada's claim on the High Arctic.
We may not have picked Grise Fiord as a place to live, but those who remain appreciate our peaceful, close-knit community where everyone knows each other. Only about 150 people, mainly Inuit, live in Grise Fiord- and before long, walking around the beach and along the two main roads in the community, you will know everyone.
Our homes are made of wood, but they are built on platforms. The ground is frozen most of the year, but softens in summer. The freezing and thawing would ruin a house foundation directly built on the ground.
Diesel fuel heaters keep our homes warm. Fresh water is stored in huge water tanks, and each home has its own storage tank, filled by a municipal truck. Sewage is pumped out of each home's septic tank and sent to a lagoon.
The most common way to get around in winter is a snowmobile. In summer, we use motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles. A few people own trucks. Kids ride bikes. Most everyone has a boat of some kind to navigate the waters of the fiord.
Hunting continues to be vital to our culture and well-being. Hunting binds us to the land and to each other. Due to our high food prices, which are twice times more than in southern Canada, we rely on country food, mainly from marine mammals, as a mainstay in our diet.
Many in Grise Fiord work for the three levels of government- municipal, territorial or federal, or at the Grise Fiord Inuit Cooperative.
The co-op was incorporated in 1960 and is the only business providing services to the community. The co-op businesses include a retail store, cable television services, municipal contracts, property rentals and a post office. Here you can also rent skidoo's and all terrain vehicles at affordable rates to help you explore the vastness of the arctic.
Our modern Ummimmak (musk ox) School has 55 students from kindergarten to Grade 12. English is used for most courses, but students also learn our Inuktitut language. The school takes pride in offering cultural activities. Elders and local experts teach these traditional skills, and it's not uncommon to see students learning how to make sleds, learning how to carve and sew or making garments from musk ox fur.