main culture in Nunavut

What is the main culture in Nunavut?

The small Inuit population of Nunavut was able to maintain their traditional nomadic lifestyle as hunters and fishers for generations after European settlers arrived in southern Canada due to the territory’s vast expanse and harsh environment. The elaborate carving techniques, distinctive musical styles, and Inuktitut language, which is the native tongue of around 65 percent of Nunavummiut people, have all been preserved by the Inuit of Nunavut.

main culture in Nunavut

The past

Although there haven’t been many people living in Nunavut, the region has been inhabited by the Inuit people for at least 4,000 years. The Inuit were originally whale hunters, but about 500 years ago they switched to seal and caribou hunting. The finest venue to learn more about Inuit culture is at the Nunatta Sunaqutangit Museum (Building 212, Iqaluit), especially on days when local elders offer personal accounts.
Even though there have been archeological finds of European items near Cape Banfield in 2008, it is still unknown whether the Viking explorers who briefly resided in northern Newfoundland traveled as far north as Baffin Island around the year 1000. English explorer Martin Frobisher, who is credited with being the first known European to enter Nunavut, thought he had found gold ore close to the bay that now bears his name while searching for the Northwest Passage in 1576.
In the 16th century, Robert Bylot, Henry Hudson, and William Baffin also sailed into the far north in search of the mysterious Northwest Passage that would lead them to Asia’s wealth. But it wouldn’t be until Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen’s journey between 1903 and 1905 that a European would successfully cross. The Northwest Passage Trail (Gjoa Haven), where visitors can learn more about Amundsen and his interactions with the local Inuit, is located.
Up until the early 1950s, when the Canadian government forcefully moved several tribes from northern Québec to two remote High Arctic towns called Grise Fiord and Resolute, the Inuit people carried on with their traditional way of life. Many of these individuals starved to death and struggled mightily to adapt to their new, permanent residences. In 2010, the government issued a formal apology for their involvement.
Despite the fact that discussions about a distinct Inuit homeland started in 1976, formal agreements were not completed until 1992. In 1993, the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act was made a formal part of Canadian law, and Nunavut was admitted as a territory in 1999. Despite some growing pains in its first ten years as a separate territory, Nunavummiut’s inhabitants have always been proud, and the future of their community has never looked more promising.


main culture in Nunavut

The Inuit of Nunavut have done a fantastic job of preserving their culture over the years. The primary language of Nunavut is Inuktitut, and the region is home to the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation. In Nunavut, traditional arts like soapstone carving, throat singing, and drum dancing are still very much in practice.
Inuit from Nunavut have, nevertheless, also diversified into more contemporary media. European instruments like fiddles and accordions have been used into musical performances. While Igloolik’s Artcirq circus troupe has performed at the 2010 Winter Olympics and countless other places around the world, the Nunavut Animation Lab offers animation training classes in three Nunavut cities. Tanya Tagaq, a throat singer, has worked with artists including Björk and the Kronos Quartet.


the former CBC North regional network hub in Iqaluit
Nunavut is home to the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation. With a bureau in Rankin Inlet and a radio and television production center in Iqaluit, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) provides services to Nunavut. Private, for-profit radio stations CKIQ-FM and CKGC-FM, both operated by Northern Lights Entertainment Inc., are available in Iqaluit. (CKIQ-FM had a Rankin Inlet rebroadcaster that was shut down in 2009)


Both Nunatsiaq News, published by Nortext, and Nunavut News/North, published by Northern News Services, which also publishes the multi-territory regional Kivalliq News, are the regional weekly newspapers that serve Nunavut.


Igloolik is home to the film production firm Isuma. Zacharias Kunuk and Norman Cohn co-founded the business in 1990. It produced the 1999 movie Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner, which took home the Caméra d’Or at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival for Best First Feature. It was the first full-length movie to be totally written, directed, and performed in Inuktitut.
The first animated films created by Inuit artists at the National Film Board (NFB) are included in the collection Animation from Cape Dorset (1973), which was published by the NFB. Participants in the Kinngait (formerly Cape Dorset) Film Animation Workshop on Baffin Island, Solomonie Pootoogook, Timmun Alariaq, Mathew Joanasie, and Itee Pootoogook Pilaloosie, are all featured for their work.
The Nunavut Animation Lab was launched in November 2006 by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) and the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation. It provides Nunavut artists with animation training through workshops in Iqaluit, Cape Dorset, and Pangnirtung.
The 2010 digital animation short Lumaajuuq, directed by Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, won the Best Aboriginal Award at the Golden Sheaf Awards .
The launch of a DVD and online collection called Unikkausivut (Inuktitut: Sharing Our Stories), which will make over 100 NFB films by and about Inuit available in Inuktitut, Inuinnaqtun, and other Inuit languages, in addition to English and French, was jointly announced in November 2011 by the Government of Nunavut and the NFB. Every school in the territory is receiving Unikkausivut from the Nunavut government.


A drum-dancing Inuit artist at Gjoa Haven
Nunavut’s musical heritage includes bluegrass, country music, button accordion from Austria, fiddling, square dancing, and Inuit throat singing and drum-led dancing
Arts of performance
Igloolik-based Inuit circus performers form the collective Artcirq. The ensemble has given performances all around the world, most notably in Vancouver, British Columbia during the 2010 Olympic.


Nunavut participates in the Arctic Winter Games in sport. The 2002 event was co-hosted by Nuuk, Greenland, and Iqaluit.
Founded in 1999, Hockey Nunavut is a member of the Junior C Championship in Maritime-Hockey North.

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