Modern Inuvialuit Culture

Inuvialuit means "the real people". Believed to have descended from the Thule people who once lived in the Arctic, Inuvialuit also count Tan'ngit (foreign) whalers and Alaskan Inupiaut among their descendants.

Today, many of the 5,000 Inuvialuit reside in the communities of Aklavik, Inuvik, Paulatuk, Sachs Harbour, Tuktoyaktuk and Ulukhaktok (Holman). Inuvialuit love and appreciate the land. Although many Inuvialuit work in the communities, the pull of the land is always strong. "I'm going to the bush" or "I'm going out on the land" are commonly heard phrases. Camps - whether they be bush, fish or whaling - dot Victoria Island, Banks Island, and the Beaufort-Delta landscape, some close to the communities to provide a quick weekend getaway by skidoo, boat, or ATV. Environmental knowledge and survival skills continue to be important elements of modern Inuvialuit culture.

As a large part of their diet is from the harvesting of local fish and wildlife, Inuvialuit look forward to the changing seasons: geese and muskox are hunted in the spring and fall; whaling and fishing take place in the summer; caribou hunting in the fall and winter.

The long summer days provide ample opportunities for Inuvialuit to prepare for the winter. Communities appear deserted when residents move out to their whaling and fishing camps. Those from Aklavik may be found at the traditional whaling camps at Shingle Point on the Yukon coast, while those from Tuktoyaktuk and Inuvik are generally found at Kendall Island and Whitefish Station. Residents of Paulatuk usually gather at Egg Island in Argo Bay, Johnny Green Bay, or Tusugiok. Sachs Harbour and Ulukhaktok (Holman) residents enjoy camps along the coast - Kityipvik, Angniyalik and Mangmaktukvik to name a few.