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BLOG: Archive for the ‘Inuit Culture/Art’ Category

2015 Alianait Festival in Iqaluit

May 19th, 2015 | By | Filed in Featured Trip, Inuit Culture/Art


Have your heard of Iqaluit’s annual summer festival. It coincides with the long daylight hours of the Midnight Sun. You can pack a lot of music and fun into 18 hours of daylight! We would like to point out that if you haven’t attended Alianait, then you can’t say you’ve been to all the great Festivals.

The bands

The line up is international and eclectic, reflecting the diverse tastes of the citizens of Nunavut’s territorial capital. There is a bluegrass band from Toronto – Slocan Ramblers. Greenland’s indie band Nanook will perform. Willie Stratton & the Boarding Party will be coming up from Halifax, on Canada’s East Coast. Matuto from New York will bring some Appalachian-Afro-Brazilian rhythms. See the entire line-up of bands here.

We have a deal for you

We pioneered the Arctic Weekend Getaway for under $1200 a person (plus taxes), including the flight out of Ottawa. You read that right, the flight from Ottawa to Iqaluit is included. You fly up Friday – in this case June 26, and return Sunday, the 28th for that price. Stay until Monday and the hands-down outstanding per person price is $1139 (plus taxes). There are either two nights or three nights hotel included in the package as well. Have you checked the cost of flight from Ottawa to Iqaluit, lately? $2,509 oer person, give or take eight cents.

Call us to book – 888 737 6818. Book early, because space is going to go quickly.

Themed Adventures and Special Occasions in Iqaluit

December 14th, 2014 | By | Filed in AK PRODUCTS & SERVICES, Inuit Culture/Art, Sports

Special Occasions

Special occasions require a memorable setting and activities that are once in a lifetime. Our themed adventures in Iqaluit will make your special occasion unforgettable. Here are two that are coming up very soon.

Special Occasions

Valentine’s Day – February 13 to February 15, 2015 – The Arctic for the Romantic

Spend 2 nights and 3 days in the territorial capital of Nunavut on Baffin Island.  Share with your beloved a Swedish couple’s massage, followed by a romantic cocktail and dinner at the Discovery restaurant. Breakfast is included in our Valentine’s adventure package, as well as dog-sledding and an immersion in Inuit culture. Email us for complete package details and pricing.

Toonik Tyme Festival – Sports, culture and good times in Iqaluit – April 3 to 6, 2015

One of the best annual festivals in the North, Toonik Tyme celebrates the spring break-up. Our package includes a VIP ticket to the events – igloo building, seal skinning, snowmobile racing. Speaking of snowmobiles, you’ll enjoy a ride to a polynya – open water surrounded by ice, where marine mammals could be seen surfacing to breath. Email  (iqaluitatarctickingdomdotcom?Subject=Toonik%20Tyme)   us for complete package details and pricing.

Themed Adventures

Arctic Survival Expedition – turn any weekend into a test of courage and skill

We’re stripping this weekend to the bare essentials – man vs. nature. You’ll fish for your supper and build your own accommodation. Transportation is by snowmobile. Survival training is by Arctic Kingdom. Complete package details and pricing is available by Email  (iqaluitatarctickingdomdotcom?Subject=Arctic%20Survival)  .

Northern Lights – a natural phenomenon that can’t be controlled

Any weekend between August and November, you can fly to Iqaluit in search of the Northern Lights. Like any great quest there is no guarantee that your first attempt will be successful. The Northern Lights are a natural phenomenon that is completely unpredictable. We do guarantee to light up your night with a bonfire in Sylvia Grinnell Park. To learn more Email  (iqaluitatarctickingdomdotcom?Subject=Northern%20Lights)  .

So…what’s it really like?

August 27th, 2012 | By | Filed in AK NEWS, AK PRODUCTS & SERVICES, Arctic Animals, Client Reports, FEATURED, Featured Trip, INUIT, Inuit Culture/Art, Recent Trips, SCIENCE, TRIPS, Trips

Travel journalist Liz Fleming joined the Arctic Kingdom team for the polar bear and narwhal safari north of Pond Inlet in Sirmilik National Park in June.  Her blog posts give a day-by-day look at life on the ice, 80 kilometers from anywhere.

Day 1

The day began with flights, from Ottawa to Iqaluit, then north to Pond Inlet. Though First Air proved to be a happy surprise – I’d been expecting only very basic service and a potentially bumpy ride.  It’s hard to believe a small airline like First Air provides the kind of service they do – hot meals, friendly
attendants, blanket and pillows.  Air Canada – take a lesson!

In the Iqaluit airport, I spotted some other members of our group and introduced myself to Cornelius, Justin and Jens.  I’m not gifted with great detective skills – they were easy to spot and so was I. Grinning from ear to ear, wearing coats way too bulky for the airport and wheeling duffel bags straining their zippers
– we were stoked and it was obvious!

We boarded the plane and filled most of the seats.  I sat next to a petite Inuit woman named Martha on her way home to Pond Inlet after having been in Ottawa
for surgery.  After a bit of where-are-you-from-and-what-do-you-do conversation, I learned Martha – four years my junior – was already the
grandmother of three.  She was sorry to hear that my young sons haven’t yet given me any grandchildren.  “Maybe soon,” she smiled, while I fervently
hoped they’d take their time!

After a moment’s silence, Martha asked, “You’re a southerner.  Do you think seal hunting’s wrong?”

Before I could even process the idea that I’m a ‘southerner’ (my Florida friends would think that was a riot, I’m sure) Martha continued.

“I read an article in the newspaper in Ottawa about Inuit ‘slaughtering’ seals. That’s not right. We don’t slaughter them. We take only what we need and we use everything.  We have to hunt to feed our families.” She paused and gestured to the vast frozen landscape below. “Look out there.  I can’t grow anything on that land and the food in the stores in Pond Inlet is too expensive to buy much.  If southerners don’t want us to hunt – what
should we feed our families?”

I didn’t have any answers but could sense my worldview was in for a good shakeup.

We arrived at the airport in Pond Inlet to be greeted by Mike Beedell who’d come to collect us, and our mountain of luggage. Mike’s a bearded ball of craziness – alternately cracking jokes, singing snatches of old rock and roll, sharing fascinating nature factoids, and telling the kind of stories of his travels in the wild that make you realize that you’ve found a latter day Daniel Boone.

Having stuffed the little hotel bus to bursting, we made the five-minute trek to our lodge.  After sorting out room keys in the lobby, Mike announced that we’d meet for dinner at 6pm so we hustled to toss bags into rooms and wrestled with the sketchy wifi to send messages home.  We’d arrived.

The evening included a walk to the local cultural association building for an evening of dancing, singing and displays of strength by some truly talented local Inuit performers.  Throat-singers explained the jokingly competitive aspect of their eerie performance while young athletes kicked and
wrestled, showing incredible strength. Throughout the performance, the overriding theme was the hunt – whether
for seals or walrus or caribou.  Dance steps, drumming, even the sounds made by the throat singers – everything was linked and I could hear Martha’s words in my mind, “If southerners don’t want us to hunt – what should we feed our families?”

Though the cultural performances were fascinating, perhaps the most important moments of the night happened at dinner.  After introducing himself, and his colleague Tom Lennartz who would be with us for our great adventure, Mike Beedell asked the group members to share their reasons for coming on the Arctic
Kingdom trip.  Why were we there?  People talked about their love of wildlife and of years of longing to see the Arctic – clearly, we were a wildly varied
collection of backgrounds and personalities but we shared this one important passion.

Mike listened carefully to each comment and then added his own, “I think we’re all looking for some magic in our lives,” he said.  “And I think you’re going to find it here.”




Author: Liz Fleming

A Cultural Exchange: Young Canadians Experience Life in the Arctic and the Big City!

March 28th, 2012 | By | Filed in AK NEWS, Community News, Current Events, INUIT, Inuit Culture/Art

Imagine eating raw seal, whale and arctic char, or trying some caribou stew. This March and April, students from Mississauga, Ontario and the small community of Taloyoak, Nunavut are currently participating in The YMCA Youth Exchanges Canada Program.  These students are spending a few days seeing how the other half lives.

Big city lights and tall buildings are a normal everyday landscape for most people in the city. To the Inuit students this is a completely different view from the Arctic tundra they call home. Visiting the CN Tower or going to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto are exciting adventures. The Taloyoak students will be touring Toronto, going to Niagara Falls, and staying at the homes of their city counterparts. Meanwhile, Paul Officer the principal at Riverside Public School, will be leading the Mississauga youth, while they experience the Inuit culture from eating traditional food, drumming, ice fishing, building an igloo, to perfecting the high kick during the Arctic games. This cultural exchange is not only about fun and games, but building special bonds that will last a lifetime. As a part of the Taloyoak exchange this year, the city youth will be learning what it means to be responsible Canadians. This will be done through literacy and environmental activities. Students will share favourite books, garden, and interact with elders at the senior centre.

The YMCA Youth Exchanges Canada Program allows students who would not normally get the opportunity to explore another part of Canada, a chance to step out of the classroom, and learn through engagement with a new community.  While open to all youth the YMCA program gives priority to students from underrepresented groups such as low-income families, those with disabilities, visible minorities, and First Nations students.  Cost of travel to the respective communities is fully covered through a grant.  Each community in turn relies on the
kindness of their communities to supply funding for food, local travel, and activities for participants.

Arctic Kingdom to help support this program, has equipped the Mississauga students with all the Arctic gear they need to survive the extreme weather conditions of the North. From toques, Canada Goose jackets and pants, to boots the students have the proper gear needed to stay dry and comfortable. To read more about the activities and the exchange please visit: Paul Officer’s blog.

Explore Your World, Online

June 6th, 2011 | By | Filed in IN THE NEWS, INUIT, Inuit Culture/Art

A number of tube sites have emerged online to share curated, intelligent content while utilizing the newest technology in film and online streaming to educate and spread awareness of cultural diversity. One of these – Isuma TV – we’ve mentioned here before, with their mission to bring community-generated video into classrooms and communities otherwise lacking in high-bandwidth internet connections.

Another such site is Explore. Their mission statement –

explore is a multimedia organization that documents leaders around the world who have devoted their lives to extraordinary causes. Both educational and inspirational, explore creates a portal into the soul of humanity by championing the selfless acts of others.”

The Explore site is huge in range of topics, and rich in arctic-interest content. Covering traditional Inuit knowledge, climate change, and the art of throat singing, along with some brilliant photo essays of the region and culture, there’s certainly something for everyone on this site.

Toronto’s Museum Of Inuit Art

April 30th, 2011 | By | Filed in Art, IN THE NEWS, INUIT, Inuit Culture/Art

I may need to plan a trip just to check out the Toronto Museum of Inuit Art. You can view a taste of their expansive collections online, and they’ve also posted an ‘Introduction to Inuit Art’ document on the website well worth investigating.

Introductory Guide to Inuit Art. The Guide offers a scholarly yet concise and accessible introduction to the history and range of Inuit art, as well as the museum and its collection. Useful in conjunction with a museum visit or simply on its own, the guide also features a list of major public collections in North America, a statistical look at Nunavut, an introduction to Inuktitut and syllabics, in addition to in-depth information about the Inuit co-operatives. Whether you are exploring Inuit art for the first time or are an avid enthusiast, MIA’s Introductory Guide has something for everyone.

Permanent collections area, photo via the Museum of Inuit Art website

Nunastaiq News Online has covered the museum as well, posting several photos of the design award-winning interior and has this to say about the space –

In the museum are more than 300 pieces of Inuit art spanning the last 1,000 years— and most of its collection is on loan.

The older art, dating from the Thule period (1000 to 1850) is mostly unidentified work showing a traditional lifestyle.

But, as you move through the museum’s sections, the art through the 1800s changes, influenced by the Inuit trade and contact with Western civilization.

Most Torontonians — most southerners for that matter — don’t know much about Inuit art, Jane Schmidt (the museum’s assistant curator,) says.

But once they see it, she adds, they’re hooked.

“You get people who have been to the Arctic for a week and have been profoundly affected and impressed by it,” she says. “I think what the museum does it show the variety of work (from across the North.)

“Whether they’re tourists or locals, they’re affected by the soul of it.”

Inuit Art Exhibition Shared Online

April 26th, 2011 | By | Filed in Art, IN THE NEWS, INUIT, Inuit Culture/Art

Old Qulliq Being Carried by a Woman, image via the Exhibit website, Winnipeg Art Gallery

The Winnipeg Art Gallery has created a beautiful website to share their recent exhibit ‘Nunavik North of 60’, featuring examples of Inuit sculpture and art created in communities located above the 60th parallel on the Ungava Peninsula in the region of Nunavik, Northern Quebec.

Darlene Coward Wight, Curator of Inuit Art –

Carvers who originally lived in camps near Inukjuak and Puvirnituq were the first to create sculpture for export to southern markets in the early 1950s. This is now considered the beginning of “contemporary” Inuit art and the carving industry in the Canadian Arctic which was gradually expanded to other areas. That artistic expansion included the small, more northerly Nunavik communities of Salluit, Ivujivik, Kangirsuk, Kangiqsujuaq, and Akulivik. There are many treasures from these lesser-known communities in the WAG’s collection of Inuit art and this exhibition will be an opportunity to see works that are not exhibited as often as those from larger artistic centres such as Cape Dorset and Baker Lake.

One of the best-known artists in the exhibition is Mattiusi Iyaituk (b. 1950) from Ivujivik, represented by the innovative sculpture Old Qulliq Carried by a Woman. Thomassie Kudluk from Kangirsuk (1910-1989) is well-known for his idiosyncratic carvings that communicate to the viewer through syllabic inscriptions. Makusikalla Qullialu (1930-1989) is not as well known, but his large sculpture, Caribou and Otter demonstrates his talent in this moving, anthropomorphic interpretation. The exhibition features sculptures dating from the mid-1950s to the early 2000s, by male and female carvers from all the small, northerly communities in Nunavik.

"Inupiaq Word of the Day" On Facebook

February 4th, 2011 | By | Filed in INUIT, Inuit Culture/Art

Here’s something to ‘like’ for sure. Anniagruk Mary Sage saw a need to connect far-flung Iñupiaq speakers and to bring the language to people who are interested in learning more about it in a positive, friendly environment. She records videos and posts them to this Facebook page, while inviting all to participate by creating content, and discussing regional differences in dialect.

From the page, her goal –

To infuse the process of learning to speak the Iñupiaq language with humor and compassion. To excite and inspire non-speakers of the language to speak and to learn. We are all learning, and it’s all ok. 🙂

More information on speaking Inupiaq can be found online at, including a dictionary and phrasebook. Language also has pronunciation guides and a break down of some of the dialect divisions.

Climate Change Impacting The Inuit Diet

January 10th, 2011 | By | Filed in INUIT, Inuit Culture/Art

Climate change has a trickle down effect – impacting the landscape of the arctic and the lives of its human inhabitants. Shifts in weather and ice freezing patterns are altering expected animal migratory patterns, and considerably affecting the Inuit way of life – specifically their diet. Not only is there less access to the traditional foods they’ve subsisted on, but modern times have brought imported processed foods which can lead to health problems.

From comes this article on the work of several scientists doing research into these changes and their ramifications. One of these researchers is Barry Smit, a professor at the University of Guelph, Canada. –

“People looking at the health of the Inuit have demonstrated that the traditional diet, which is almost exclusively raw meat, is in fact very healthy for them,” Smit said. “But because of the new difficulties hunting, people are adapting their diets to what’s available in the stores.

“The stores only have food that’s easy to transport and doesn’t perish, so there are no vegetables. The young people are increasingly eating highly processed junk food, so we are seeing more teeth problems and obesity.”

The difficulties in hunting are caused by shifting ice and changing migratory patterns among animals such as seals, walrus, types of whales and polar bears, which form a large part of the traditional diet, Smit said.

He also noted that the shifting ice made hunting and traveling more dangerous.

Smit said: “Ice is fundamental to their livelihoods and culture. Most of their activities involve traveling on the ice.

“Over the past decade or so, they have noticed that the behavior of the ice is changing, so their traditional roads are not as safe as they used to be.”

Junk food is a problem in many cultures at the moment, but not an insurmountable one. According to Wikipedia, the traditional Inuit diet has always been geographically limited. One positive aspect of importing food is there may be some choice in what can be brought in. An emphasis on vegetables and fruit over processed foods will be a healthier outcome to this necessary change. –

Inuit consume a diet of foods that are fished, hunted, and gathered locally. This may include walrus, Ringed Seal, Bearded Seal, beluga whale, caribou, polar bear, muskoxen, birds (including their eggs) and fish. While it is not possible to cultivate plants for food in the Arctic the Inuit have traditionally gathered those that are naturally available. Grasses, tubers, roots, stems, berries, fireweed and seaweed (kuanniq or edible seaweed) were collected and preserved depending on the season and the location.

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