Guest blogger Marck shares with us his experience visiting a community in Nunavut as he continues on his Arctic adventure.
As usual, yesterday was fantastic. However, aside from the great walls of Coronation Fiord and swimming in an uncharted Arctic lake, what made the day extremely special was our visit to Qikiqtarjuaq.
Qikiqtarjuaq is a small community of about seven hundred people north of the Penny Ice Cap. Their community was formed the same way most of the northern Inuit villages started – forced or coerced relocation. When Mayor Madeline told us about the origin of Qikiqtarjuaq, it seemed like they were a saddened community that missed their original home years ago.
When we got there, it was entirely different. The whole village welcomed us with open arms, a feast of delicacies, and ceremonial performances. Geoff told us that this trip will make us humble, but for most of us, it only hit us when we visited Qikiqtarjuaq.
The community made the location their new home and they genuinely seemed happy to display what little they had for us visitors. We bought local artwork, tried local foods such as narwhal and above all, made new friends.
One twelve-year-old girl named Nadine was one of the first kids to welcome me when I stepped onto their docks. She gave me a tour, told me the meanings behind each ceremony, and introduced me to the other residents. She considered me her best friend from Ontario and gave me a golf ball as a souvenir along with a big hug and a smile. I gave her a stuffed polar bear and returned the hug and smile. I will never forget the two hours we spent in Qikiqtarjuaq, the little community with a big heart.