ARCTIC IN PERIL
Camping out on the tundra of Richards Island, Jen and Jacob continue to work on the excavation of an Inuvialuit cruciform house. But they also take time to learn about present-day culture with the Pokiak family in the remote arctic village of Tuktoyaktuk by exploring a subterranean icehouse, learning some of the oral history and enjoying a traditional Inuvialuit feast.
Pingo’s of Tuktoyaktuk
“They have used the permafrost to their advantage. Talk about innovation and ingenuity.”
– Jenifer Brousseau
Ice Houses of Tutoyaktuk
The great harvests of beluga, caribou and fish had to be stored, and a unique technique evolved out of the climate and geology of the North, using the permafrost. Communal freezers were dug to a depth of 10m, providing a constant temperature of -10 degrees Celsius. They are still used today.
“As I was digging, I thought I reached another piece of bone…it ended up being this awesome harpoon head!”
– Jacob Pratt
Caribou of the North
The habitat of the Caribou, Rangifer Tarandus, extends from Alaska, the Yukon, North West Territories and Nunavut down to the Rockies and the boreal forests of the edge of Lake Superior and across Labrador. Oral history tells that the Caribou were created out of the separation from the Gwich’in people of the Yukon.
Ulu (uluk / uluaq)
Ulu means “woman’s knife.” It is a versatile traditional knife used for cutting, skinning, chopping and scraping. Historically the handle was made of caribou antler, horn or ivory, and the blade was stone. An artifact that was passed down between generations, it is said that the ulu carried with it the knowledge of previous generations. The design of the handle varies from region to region, but is it always centred above the blade transferring more force directly into the blade to help in cutting hard sinew, cartilage and bone.