The currents of Hudson Bay and the Hudson Strait collide, tides are of epic proportions, and shards of sea ice clash violently. Crowning the surrounding cliffs is the Ungava Plateau, where only lichen clings to the cold tundra.
Nomadic ancestors of the Inuit have inhabited the area for about 4,000 years, throughout which seal, walrus and beluga have provided them food, clothing, tools and shelter. Currents prevent the sea from entirely freezing, which allows for year-round hunting. In summer, surrounding islands shelter waterfowl.
In 1610, the first recorded encounter between Europeans and Inuit took place on nearby Digges Islands during Henry Hudson's last (and fatal) expedition to the Arctic. But it was a full 400 years later that the Hudson's Bay Company established a trading post in Ivujivik. Years after that, a Catholic mission was founded and in the late 1940s the Inuit began to settle nearby. When the mission closed, the federal government took over, helping provide infrastructure that led to a permanent settlement. In 1967, the Inuit founded a cooperative store.
The Inuit of Ivujivik, in concert with neighbouring communities, refused to sign the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement in 1975, a treaty they felt would radically alter the life they had known for centuries. But other Inuit people yielded to the plan, allowing the Quebec Government to proceed with the "La Grande" hydroelectric project on James Bay. The disagreement among Inuit has long since been consigned to the past.
Things to see and do
Take a guided day trip to Gigges Island, where the Inuit first encountered Europeans. Explore the abandoned Hudson’s Bay Company trading post at Cape Wolstenholme, where Captain Pierre LeMoyne D’Iberville first began commercial activity with the Inuit in 1697.
Photo Credit : Frederick Marika Akello