An Iqaluit hunter cuts up seal meat during Toonik Tyme, a period of celebration for the arrival of Spring. Colonialism is a contributing factor of poverty in Nunavut, which is amongst the highest in the country. Before colonization of Inuit in Northern Canada there was zero poverty. Inuit lived sustainably, hunting and living off the land. The hunt for seals was essential for survival providing food, clothing, and materials for tools and oil for the stone lamp. In modern day Iqaluit, the seal is still considered a major source of wealth.
Samantha Barnes of Iqaluit prepares to serve Caribou Roast at the Qajuqturvik Food Centre. “What food security means to me in Iqaluit is the Inuk way: share what you have and what you can. When I have Inuksuit (country food) I share. It’s harder to do that when food costs a lot. But share what you can.”
Jena Merkosak of Pond Inlet is a nursing student living in Iqaluit. “I am in the nursing program because, since grade six I have been wanting to pursue nursing and create bridges between Inuit and the health care system. I believe that the profession is the right challenge for me and it fits with my ambition to continuously provide the best optimal care for Nunavummiut.
Kiana Akpik-Sanford was born and raised in Iqaluit and is attending Aqsarniit Middle School. “Good education should leave its user, the student, ready and able to excel in life, both in their specific environment as well the world stage. Diversity is an important part of education because not everyone will have the same approach to solving problems. It’s the experiences of solving these problems that give us the unique ability to do so.”
Laura Churchill of Clyde River lives in Iqaluit and owns a dog team. “Gender equality means equal and fair opportunities for everyone regardless of their gender. Opportunities and respect should not be determined by your sex. Traditionally, Inuit men raised dog teams, as their roles were to provide for their families and the community. Having a good dog team meant they were a good hunter and provider. Now, Inuit women like me are able to raise dog teams of our own. I am learning from an Inuk woman, who learned from her father. It’s a lot of work but really something to be proud of. I hope that more Inuit men, including Inuit women and youth, are able to regain that important piece of our culture.”
Ahme Micheal works for the municipality of Iqaluit delivering water to homes that are not connected by utilidor. Many residents depend on Ahme and his colleagues to deliver fresh drinking water to their home every day. In 2018, residents of Iqaluit and city officials began looking for a secondary water source when the reservoir that supplies the city with drinking water started to run low. Recently, the city found a temporary solution by pumping water from the Apex river into the reservoir. In the meantime, Iqaluit’s growing population is encouraged to reserve water when possible.
Iqaluit fuel tank farm. The city of Iqaluit uses over 60 million litres of petroleum a year for home heating, power generation and more. The city depends exclusively on imported fossil fuels shipped from the south and delivered by ship. From July to November petroleum is pumped through hoses from ships docked 140 meters away, flowing to the main land pipe and tank farms.
Construction of the Qikiqtaaluk Corporations new hotel will bring decent work and economic growth. The hotel will have a restaurant, bar, spaces for small retail stores, a spa and exercise room. It will have just short of 100 rooms, including 12 suites, and a 5,000-square-foot conference centre. Iqaluit has numerous construction companies consistently busy with new projects ranging from apartments and homes to infrastructure like the new International Airport and a multi-million-dollar Aquatic Centre.
The city of Iqaluit recently built a 37,000 square foot Aquatic Centre. A major budget consideration for this project was the engineering challenge of building a heated pool in arctic conditions. Due to the intense cold climate, pools in Northern Canada require elaborate cooling systems to prevent thousands of litres of heated water from melting the permafrost below. The Aquatic Centre is supported by a pile foundation that allows air to circulate beneath the building, reducing its impact on the permafrost, while the pool tanks are situated above grade and within the structure of the building. The re-use and recycling of materials, the remediation of contaminated land used for the project, and a connection to Iqaluit’s waste-heat District Energy System greatly reduces the Aquatic Centre’s energy footprint; its energy-efficient design will help reduce future environmental and economic costs.
An icy or snowy wheelchair ramp decreases accessibility to any building in the Arctic for community members that require wheel chairs. The city of Iqaluit makes it a priority to make every public building accessible for any persons with disabilities, but it is the natural elements of the Arctic that continually offer unique problems like constant snow and ice removal.
The city of Iqaluit is the capital of Nunavut with a population of roughly 8000 residents. As one of the fastest growing regions in Canada, a great deal of money has been invested in future development and sustainability. A deep-sea port is currently under construction to accommodate the development of a new diamond mine 100 kilometers north of the City and the Iqaluit International Airport has been expanded and refurbished at a cost of $298.5 million. The City is also planning a new landfill site equipped to facilitate composting and recycling. Iqaluit stands as a progressive city, but it is still a work in progress.
Bryan Hellwig is the owner of the Northern Collectable Recycling Centre, Iqaluit’s only recycling business that collects beer cans, wine bottles, and liquor bottles. Bryan says they ship roughly 30,000 lbs of recycled aluminum cans south annually. “In the early nineties the recycling centre was owned by the town, but I was running it for them. I approached them to take it over because I felt recycling needed to get to next level and I just thought that by running it as private business I could reach those goals.”
Jennifer Kilabuk peeks behind a thermosyphon. “To me climate action means taking climate change into consideration when planning for the future; climate change affects almost every aspect of Nunavummiut’s livelihood, from stable infrastructure to food security to cultural practices. The effects of climate change are imminent, and we must take adaptive measures now.” Thermo-syphons were introduced to the northern construction market to reduce permafrost melt under large building foundations. Thermo-syphons help provide an escape for the buildup of thermal energy which would otherwise melt the frozen ground beneath the foundation of a building.
Since time immemorial Inuit have been a coastal people relying heavily on the Arctic ocean and its resources to survive. It is every Iqalummiuq’s responsibility to take part in annual community clean-ups during the spring season. We believe that a cleaner city means a cleaner ocean, which means a healthier environment for sea life.
Home away from home. A full moon lights up my grandmother-in-law’s camp in the summer night. The camp is located on a collection of islands called Aulatsivik. Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ), also known as Inuit Traditional knowledge, are Inuit societal values used as guiding principles in today's modern world. Avatittinnik Kamatsiarniq is one of eight IQ values and means respect and care for the land, animals and the environment. My grandmother-in-law embodies and practices these values.
Special Constable Mosesie Ikkidluak is one of a few Inuit RCMP officers. The Nunavut RCMP struggles to recruit more Inuit to the police force. According to a CBC investigation on police diversity in Canada, in Nunavut only 12 per cent of the police force is racially diverse, compared to 88 per cent of the territory's total population. This makes Nunavut RCMP the least representative in Canadian law enforcement of the population it serves.
The City of Iqaluit is currently in the process of reviewing and updating its strategic plan. The Mayor, Madeleine Redfern, has stated her commitment to include the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in their community engagement section by promoting gender equality within our community, installing a new composting and recycling facility along with the new proposed landfill site, and inspiring a new era of innovation and prosperity with infrastructural upgrades like the new Aquatic Centre, the Iqaluit International Airport, and a deep sea port. As the fastest growing region and newest capital city in Canada, Iqaluit is working towards productive and progressive sustainable development.