Grise Fiord

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Grise Fiord
ᐊᐅᔪᐃᑦᑐᖅ
Aujuittuq
Hamlet
Downtown Grise Fiord.jpg
Grise Fiord is located in Nunavut
Grise Fiord
Grise Fiord
Coordinates: 76°25′03″N 082°53′38″W / 76.41750°N 82.89389°W / 76.41750; -82.89389Coordinates: 76°25′03″N 082°53′38″W / 76.41750°N 82.89389°W / 76.41750; -82.89389
Country Canada
Territory Nunavut
Region Qikiqtaaluk Region
Electoral district Quttiktuq
Settled 1953
Government[1]>[2]
 • Mayor Liza Ningiuk
 • MLA Isaac Shooyook
Area[3]
 • Total 332.7 km2 (128.5 sq mi)
Elevation[4] 41 m (135 ft)
Population (2011)[3]
 • Total 130
 • Density 0.39/km2 (1.0/sq mi)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
Canadian Postal code X0A 0J0
Area code(s) 867
Website www.grisefiord.ca

Grise Fiord, (Inuktitut: Aujuittuq, "place that never thaws"; Inuktitut syllabics: ᐊᐅᔪᐃᑦᑐᖅ) is a small Inuit hamlet in the Qikiqtaaluk Region in the territory of Nunavut, Canada. Despite its low population (130 residents as of the Canada 2011 Census[3]), it is the largest community on Ellesmere Island. It is also one of the coldest inhabited places in the world, with an average yearly temperature of −16.5 °C (2.3 °F).

Geography[edit]

Located at the southern tip of Ellesmere Island, Grise Fiord is one of three permanent settlements on the island. Grise Fiord lies 1,160 km (720 mi) north of the Arctic Circle.

View of Grise Fiord

Grise Fiord is the northernmost civilian settlement in Canada,[5] but Environment Canada has a permanent weather station (Eureka), and there is a permanent Canadian Forces Base (CFB ALERT), that lay further north on the island.

Grise Fiord cradles the Arctic Cordillera mountain range.

Naming[edit]

Grise Fiord means "pig inlet" in Norwegian and was named by Otto Sverdrup from Norway during an expedition around 1900. He thought the walrus in the area sounded like pigs. Grise Fiord's Inuktitut name is Aujuittuq which means "place that never thaws."

Living conditions[edit]

The population of Grise Fiord is declining, and consists of just over 100 permanent residents. The houses are wooden and built on platforms to cope with the freezing and thawing of the permafrost. Hunting is still an important part of the lifestyle of the mostly Inuit population. Quota systems allow the villagers to supply many of their needs from populations of seals, walruses, narwhal and beluga whales, polar bears and musk oxen. Ecotourism is developing as people come to see the spectacular northern wildlife found on Ellesmere and surrounding islands.[6]

Transportation[edit]

There are no connecting roads on Ellesmere Island, so Grise Fiord is connected to the rest of the world by a small airstrip (Grise Fiord Airport) 1,670 feet (510 m) in length. It is one of the most difficult approaches for aircraft, and it is cautioned that only very experienced pilots and DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft attempt the approach.[citation needed] For local travel needs, the villagers use all-terrain vehicles in the summer and snowmobiles in the winter. But during the summer months travel is limited to the town site and a small patch of land to the east called Nuvuk, due to mountains and ice fields cutting the town off from the rest of the island. Small boats are used in summer to reach hunting grounds, or hunting sea mammals on the ocean. Once a year large ships (sealift) arrives with supplies and fuel.

Economy, development, and sustainability[edit]

Looty Pijamini in his shop where he creates his famous carvings.

There is a local co-operative which is the main place to purchase supplies.There are local guide and outfitting operations which are an important source of income for many families. Carving and traditional crafts and clothing are also important sources of income. The economy is a subsistence-based one due to the extreme location. Grise Fiord is the most isolated true community anywhere on the planet. Between rising/stormier ocean, and falling rock/avalanche potential from mountains, there is no room for growth.

Crime and safety[edit]

Royal Canadian Mounted Police

A Simon Fraser University study of Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) activity in the Baffin Region states that Grise Fiord had the lowest rate of criminal offences of all communities looked at in 1992,[7] and cites a 1994 Statistics Canada survey that gives the highest perception of personal safety.[8]

Climate[edit]

Grise Fiord occasionally suffers from katabatic hurricane force winds, which races down from the mountains, sometimes moving buildings, ripping roofs off houses, whipping gravel into dangerous projectiles. This phenomenon is rare and only occurs on average once or twice a year. Grise Fiord has an oceanic Arctic climate, which means that there is less than 250 mm (10 in) precipitation, and temperature stays below 0 °C (32 °F) for ten months of the year. The record low was −62.2 °C (−80.0 °F). It has an average yearly temperature of −16.5 °C (2.3 °F). The polar amplification of climate change is quite evident here, as weather is becoming more unpredictable, while mean winter temperatures are rising markedly. Temperatures below -40°C are now infrequent in winter months, while summer temperatures have changed relatively little.

History[edit]

Settlement[edit]

Monument to the first Inuit settlers of 1952 and 1955

The settlement (and Resolute) was created by the Canadian government in 1953, partly to assert sovereignty in the High Arctic during the Cold War. Eight Inuit families from Inukjuak, Quebec (on the Ungava Peninsula) were relocated after being promised homes and game to hunt, but the relocated people discovered no buildings and very little familiar wildlife.[9] They were told that they would be returned home after a year if they wished, but this offer was later withdrawn as it would damage Canada's claims to sovereignty in the area and the Inuit were forced to stay. Eventually, the Inuit learned the local beluga whale migration routes and were able to survive in the area, hunting over a range of 18,000 km2 (6,900 sq mi) each year.[10]

In 1993, the Canadian government held hearings to investigate the relocation program. The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples issued a report entitled The High Arctic Relocation: A Report on the 1953-55 Relocation, recommending a settlement.[11] The government paid $10 million CAD to the survivors and their families, and gave a formal apology in 2008.[12]

In 2009, Looty Pijamini was commissioned by the Canadian Government to design a monument in memory of the relocation.[13] Depicting a sad-looking woman with a young boy and a husky, the monument was unveiled by John Duncan, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, on September 10, 2010.[14][15]

Telephone network[edit]

In 1970, Bell Canada established what was then the world's most northerly telephone exchange (operated since 1992 by Northwestel).

See also[edit]

  • Florin Fodor, a Romanian who was arrested trying to enter Canada via Grise Fiord in 2006.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Nunavummiut vie for council positions in upcoming hamlet elections
  2. ^ Results for the constituency of Quttiktuq at Elections Nunavut
  3. ^ a b c "Census Profile - Census subdivision". 2.statcan.gc.ca. 2012-11-02. Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  4. ^ Elevation at airport. Canada Flight Supplement. Effective 0901Z 24 July 2014 to 0901Z 18 September 2014
  5. ^ . CBC News. October 8, 2014 [http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/grise-fiord-fire-hall-catches-fire-1.2792914 title=Grise Fiord fire hall catches fire http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/grise-fiord-fire-hall-catches-fire-1.2792914 title=Grise Fiord fire hall catches fire].  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ Grise Fiord: Wildlife
  7. ^ Curt Taylor Griffiths, Gregory Saville, Darryl S. Wood, and Evelyn Zellerer. POLICING THE BAFFIN REGION, N.W.T.: Findings From the Eastern Arctic Crime and Justice Study, 1995 [1]
  8. ^ "Aboriginal Peoples Survey", Statistics Canada, 1994, cited on p17 of Curt Taylor Griffiths, Gregory Saville, Darryl S. Wood, and Evelyn Zellerer, POLICING THE BAFFIN REGION, N.W.T.: Findings From the Eastern Arctic Crime and Justice Study [2]
  9. ^ "Grise Fiord: History". Grisefiord.ca. Retrieved 2013-01-10. 
  10. ^ McGrath, Melanie. The Long Exile: A Tale of Inuit Betrayal and Survival in the High Arctic. Alfred A. Knopf, 2006 (268 pages) Hardcover: ISBN 0-00-715796-7 Paperback: ISBN 0-00-715797-5
  11. ^ The High Arctic Relocation: A Report on the 1953-55 Relocation by René Dussault and George Erasmus, produced by the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, published by Canadian Government Publishing, 1994 (190 pages)[3]
  12. ^ Royte, Elizabeth (2007-04-08). "Trail of Tears". The New York Times. 
  13. ^ "Carvers chosen for Arctic monuments", Northern News Services. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
  14. ^ "Minister Duncan Attends Unveiling of Inuit Relocation Monuments", Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
  15. ^ Gabriel Zarate, "For Grise Fiord’s exiles, an apology that came too late", Nunatsiaq Online. Retrieved 1 June 2011.

External links[edit]