Tuktoyaktuk… We finally made it!

Tuktoyaktuk, a small hamlet in the Inuvik Region, bursts with celebratory energy despite its size. We arrived just in time for Canada Day festivities, experiencing a shift from hot weather to a wintery chill – a fair trade to escape the mosquitos!

The day was filled with lively music, races, and games like egg and balloon tosses and the traditional  harpooning competition.

A unique BBQ offered moose, cariboo and bison burgers, alongside the Inuit dish of dried/smoked beluga and whitefish.

While enjoying bannock prepared by an elder named Marjorie, we heard stories about life in Tuktoyaktuk, the love for their land, and the challenges they face. One particularly poignant story was about being punished for speaking their own language and engaging in their own culture when she was young.  It would be hard to find a more harrowing story than that of the children sent to the residents schools.

Despite these challenges, the resilience and enthusiasm of the Tuktoyaktuk community shone through during their Canada Day celebrations. Their determination to preserve their language, customs, music, and art was evident, mirroring the spirit we witnessed in other Indigenous communities we visited.

Another challenge is the high cost of living, despite the discontinuation of compensation previously provided due to the community’s remoteness. Pricez haven’t decreased as promised, when the road was built with milk costing a staggering $18.95 for 4 liters.

The festivities concluded with a dance and a jigging contest across various age groups, showcasing the community’s vibrant culture and enthusiastic participation.

This is just part of the story.  Next, we will tell you about getting here and our experience with the Arctic Ocean.

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