THEY CAME BUT THEY DID NOT STAY: Arctic Post #3

Catholic Church, Bathurst Inlet Village, 2008

Abandoned Catholic Church, Bathurst Inlet, 2008

The Inuit have lived in the western Canadian Arctic for thousands of years. If you know how to look, it is not difficult to find evidence of their earlier culture: stone caches for meat, kayak stands, rings for houses, stone men and hunting blinds. The structures they made from snow, animal skins and wood have long since disappeared, and such will no doubt be the fate of this lonely church, which in 2008 was being used for storage.

Bathurst Inlet in western Nunavut is a tiny community of a few dozen Inuit and a few billion mosquitoes. According to the 2011 census, the population was zero, but a wonderful lodge there was my home for a week in 2008. A joint venture with the local Inuit, it still seems to be operating during the brief Arctic summer, and is well worth a visit.

 

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