Thursday, 7 June 2018

Salluit (Sugluk), a sub-arctic inuit village at nothernmost Quebec

Salluit (formerly Sugluk) is the second northernmost Inuit community in Quebec, Canada, located on a narrow water inlet 20 km inland from the Hudson Strait. It is not accessible by road, only by sea or by air through Salluit Airport.

Salluit means "The Thin Ones" in local Inuktitut, referring to local inhabitants in a time when they faced starvation for the tundra was bare and deserted of herds.

Salluit, Quebec (facing Hudson Bay)

Coordinates: 62° 12′ N, 75° 39′ W
Population:  ~1 400

Hidden among rugged mountains rising close to 500 m., Salluit is a strategic coastal location for meetings attended by people of the Hudson and Northern Quebec shores.

In 1926 the Hudson's Bay Company (HBC) established a fur trading post on the far shore of Sugluk Inlet, and in 1930 a store and dwelling was built at present-day Salluit.

Salluit's main road, sloping down to the Hudson Strait inlet.

The golden years of fur trading came to an end around 1936 when the price of pelts collapsed.

As more public services were being installed, Inuit settled around the small village. The first residential houses were built in 1959 and ten years later the native 'Northern' store was established.

New housing: heated, better insulated, two-storey bright coloured houses.

Salluit is located in the low Arctic tundra, in the continuous permafrost zone.

Residential streets.

Crab and fish (freshwater char), seal and walrus hunting are traditional activities that remain important in the community. Besides sea food, there is caribou and ptarmigan hunting, though the decreasing caribou herd is under some protection.

The small fishing fleet remains ashore, stuck in ice the whole winter, waiting for warm spring melting.

Mussel picking in shallow waters at low tide.

New buildings: Hotel and Northern store

The new Hotel Salluit

A cozy space in town.

The Church

In 1930 a Catholic mission was established at the new settlement, but closed some twenty years later. This wide anglican church was built in 1957.

The parish is currently vacant.

Ikusik School
The Ikusik bright blue secondary school in a sunny moment.

The new Nautauvvik sports center, with a fine pool.

The CEN Station

CEN Salluit Research Station is owned and run by Centre d’Études  Nordiques whose secretariat is based at Université Laval, Québec. Salluit is a major observatory site for permafrost studies.

The station, at 62°12’ N, 75°38’ W,  was bult in 2011; a single cabin that can accommodate up to 7 researchers year-round and a container for storing scientific equipment and tools.

The Inuit of Salluit (as in other areas around in Nunavik) have kept a tradition of stone scarving art.

Woman in traditional Amauti playing with child.
[Inuit carver from Salluit]

Caribou roaming the frozen coastal tundra.

NV Salluit is an example of the once miserable native communities that in recent years have reborn as they benefited from some investment and attention. Arctic settlements in Canada show quite visible signs of civilization that are mostly absent elsewhere - as in Alaska or Siberia.

As one should expect Salluit is a great place to observe auroras.

Salluit by the long winter nights.