North of the 55th parallel, New Quebec
In Canada, the Inuit live in territories that are part of the Arctic. They inhabit the Yukon, The Northwest Territories, Labrador, and Quebec.
In 1980, New Quebec had a population of almost 5 000 Inuit. This vast region is the northernmost region of Quebec and represents one-third of the area of the province. This region is bordered on the west by Hudson’s Bay and on the east by Ungava Bay and Labrador. This territory is the ancestral ground of the Inuit People.
In 1988, New Quebec was renamed Nunavik. This Inuit word means “the land where we live”.
In 1999, Nunavut was founded after 30 years of negotiations between the Inuit, the Government of Canada, and the Northwest Territories. This territory, governed by the Inuit, is one-fifth of Canada’s landmass. Nunavut means “our land”.
The 13 Inuit villages at the time* are situated along Hudson’s Bay, Ungava Bay, and Hudson’s Strait. Kuujjuaq, which means “the big river” in the Inuktitut language, is the largest Inuit community in New Quebec. It used to be called Fort Chimo. In 1980 it had 830 residents. In the early 19th century, the Hudson’s Bay Company built a trading post in Kuujjuaq. A military base and runway were built in 1942. These developments helped make Kuujjuaq an important community. The small villages of Aupaluk and Tasiujaq have only about 100 inhabitants each. The most recent Inuit community, Umiujaq, was founded in 1986.
Inukshuks are found all over the Inuit territory and have become symbols of traditional Inuit life. Most of these towers of piled rocks resemble people with outstretched arms. Inukshuks were used as points of reference, indicating where a good hunting or fishing spot could be found.
*Umiujaq was established in 1986, so now there are 14 villages in Nunavik!