Indigenous Communities in the Canadian Arctic

In celebration of National Indigenous Peoples Day, we are celebrating some of the communities we visit and sharing what you can expect on our voyages in the Canadian Arctic

As a privately owned, Canadian company, it is of the utmost importance to our senior management team and everyone at One Ocean Expeditions that we continue to deepen our relationships with communities in the North.

Iqaluit

The city of Iqaluit, is located on Baffin Island at the northern end of Frobisher Bay and is the capital of the Canadian territory of Nunavut. The name Iqaluit means ‘place of fish’ and it is the largest community and only city in Nunavut territory. Iqaluit is rich with traditional Inuit culture and is the home of many Inuit artists, film-makers and musicians. Several of our Arctic and Canada’s East Coast voyages start and finish in Iqaluit.

Pond Inlet

The picturesque hamlet of Pond Inlet, also called ‘Mittimatalik’ in Inuktitut after an unknown ancient person presumed to be buried here, is a traditional Inuit community located on the northern tip of Baffin Island near the eastern entrance to the Northwest Passage. The epic landscapes of Sirmilik National Park surround the remote Inuit community. Guests are welcomed ashore and a highlight of a visit here is a visit to the Natinnak Centre, where a fascinating cultural exhibit showcases aspects of daily life, culture and history of the people of the North. Inuit carvings, jewellery and other traditional craft is on display and purchasing such items from the local artisans is a great way to support the local community.

pond inlet arctic
Pond Inlet Welcome by Roberto Serrini

On our visits to Pond Inlet we interact with and chat to youth, enjoy the mini flea market which showcases the current lifestyle and visit the Nattinak Centre where local artists display their artwork. We are currently in the process of arranging a baseball game in Pond Inlet with our partners RPAN!

arctic Nattinak Centre games
Traditional Inuit games at the Nattinak Centre by Roberto Serrini

Grise Fjord

Grise Fjord is the northernmost community in Canada and one of the most isolated communities in the world. Settled in 1953 by the Canadian government as a sovereignty exercise during the cold war, the less than 100 people living in Grise Fjord are mostly descended from the eight Inuit families relocated there from Northern Quebec. The scenery is stunning, the wildlife is abundant and we are warmly welcomed by the community.

On our visits to Grise Fjord we plan a guided walking tour, a fashion show of traditional wear, a history presentation and try Muktuk samples of narwhal to eat

arctic narwhal
Narwhal by Mark Carwardine

Pangnirtung

Nestled in the heart of Cumberland Sound and the gateway to Auyuittuq National Park, Pangnirtung is beautifully situated between the mountains and the sea. This remote town is known for its arts and crafts and a visit to the local art gallery is a highlight. In addition, the Angmarlik Visitor Centre has a wonderful interpretive display featuring the lifestyle of the Thule and of the modern Inuit.

Qikiqtarjuaq

A small settlement which is home to several Inuit families, Qikiqtarjuaq is sometimes referred to as ‘Qik’ for short. It is a friendly community located just north of the Arctic Circle on Broughton Island, adjacent to the eastern coast of Baffin Island at the Davis Strait. Known as the iceberg capital of Nunavut, many species of marine mammals also thrive here.

Auyuittuq National Park

On the eastern coast of Baffin Island, lies one of Canada’s most spectacular National Parks – Auyuittuq. The landscape is dominated by steep and rugged mountain scenery, extensive glacial systems and powerful rivers. In partnership with Parks Canada, we venture into the park with skilled local guides who are able to interpret the flora, fauna, geological and glacial systems which can be found here. It’s a fascinating place experienced by only a few fortunate visitors every season. We hike and cruise the rocky shorelines looking for wildlife.

Sisimiut

On several of our Northwest Passage, Greenland and Baffin Island trips we visit this beautiful location, located 44 km north of the Arctic Circle. Guests will explore the fjord behind the town of Sisimiut before going ashore for further exploration. This town is characterized by colourful local houses and features a towering granite peak as a backdrop. We hope to meet a few of the traditional Greenlandic kayakers and to see a demonstration of ‘kayak rolling’ by one of the former Greenland kayak champions. The town’s church and a small museum are other points of interest. The restored historic houses and old Greenlandic fishing boats make for great photography.

Sisimiut by Ken Burton

Quqertarsuaq

The small town of Qeqertarsuaq is situated at the head of Disko Bay and the small harbour is filled with local fishing boats. The landing site is right next to the old Customs building – now a small museum. Qeqertarsuaq is a historic location where Eric the Red, the 9th century Norse Viking, is believed to have visited and used the location as a base for hunting, fishing and exploration. The town is easily explored on foot and a hike up to a high point provides great views of the town, the harbour and offshore where large icebergs drift by. We take our time to stop and chat to the locals.

You can find more information about Canadian Arctic trips here.