JULY 2021

Spanning 22 Years of Exploration...
Our Top 10 Archaeological Discoveries

The beginning of summer often signals the start of our archaeological fieldseason, but for the past two years our plans have been put on hold due to COVID-19. We have, however, been travelling down memory lane, looking back at the last 22 years of exploration in our region.

Our partnership with Dr. Max Friesen at the University of Toronto is almost as old as our organization, beginning in 1999 when Max visited Nunavut and met with Elders to investigate possibilities for collaboration. 

Since then, we have been combining archaeology with traditional knowledge research to gain a better understanding of Inuinnait culture and history in the Kitikmeot. Hundreds of hours of audio and video interview footage with Elders has been recorded, preserving key traditions and knowledge about the Arctic landscape, environment, and people. And along the way, we made some amazing discoveries about the history of both Inuit and the mysterious people who lived in Nunavut before them, the Tuniit.

Below are our Top 10 Discoveries, from most recent, to most ancient. To go directly to the web version of our Top 10, click here

Qingauq (Bathurst Inlet) is a particularly important place for the history of many Cambridge Bay families. We have spent the last few years recording traditional knowledge and stories associated with nearby places. Any guesses as to what the giant boulder in the photo on the right was used for? Find out!

Just how long is the longest caribou hunting drive ever mapped in Nunavut? 

This large stone winter house at Iqaluktuuq was likely lived in until around 200 years ago.

The earliest known site in the region contains several winter houses, as well as a qalgiq, or communal house, on top of the hill, where ancient Inuinnait held drum dances and community festivals.

Our research has recovered the largest set of Tuniit carvings from the Kitikmeot area.

At a site near Cambridge Bay, several huge boulders outline once-standing longhouses that were lived in by Tuniit who travelled from far and wide to meet each year.

Solving mysteries. Learn about how Elder knowledge informed what a particular series of small harpoon heads were used for. 

Ancient DNA from a single tooth was used in a study to prove that both Inuit and Tuniit are descended from the same ancestral culture that lived 5,000 years ago!

Three beautifully decorated plaques found northwest of Cambridge Bay are thought to be among the earliest art in the Kitikmeot. 

For years, we have been looking for the oldest traces of the earliest people in Nunavutsmall, scattered groups of pioneering ancestors who travelled from Alaska to this new and empty land.

Interested in a deeper dive into our archaeology and traditional knowledge research?

Take a look at
Cultural Continuity:
Kakivak (Fish Spear) Making Workshop
Earlier this month, we brought local Elders and youth together to reconnect and learn both traditional and modern styles of kakivak (fish spear) making. Over the course of 3 days, participants learned to fashion a usable kakivak from modern materials including plastic cutting boards, doweling, metal and sinew. Participants were also introduced to more traditional techniques for making fish spears such as the use of hand-tools in shaping wood and muskox horn, the braiding of sinew, and creation of seal-skin rope from hides. 

A big thank you to Bell Let's Talk Community Fund for their financial support of the program and Red Fish Studios for the use of their brand new facilities to host the workshop!
A new online interactive map is sharing Indigenous content spanning British Columbia. Navigate the map to learn place names pronunciations, explore artists and look at important cultural sites.  

Explore the lives and careers of 5 visionary Inuit artists whose creative works have helped to celebrate and preserve their rich cultural knowledge for future generations. 

With support from the Inuit Nunangat Research Program, we're embarking on a two-year project to document Inuinnaqtun environmental terminology and detailed knowledge of the natural world. 

A new generation of Yukon Indigenous language speakers was honoured alongside the Elders who gave their time to help the graduates reclaim their languages. 

We are honoured to be among the recipients of Makigiaqta Inuit Training Corporation's 2021 funding!
In light of the upcoming UN International Decade of Indigenous Languages, Cultural Survival is hosting a free virtual conference October 5-7, 2021: "Restoring and Protecting our Native Languages and Landscapes". Connecting leaders from around the world, this conference will spark conversations and knowledge-sharing around best practices to strengthen endangered languages and the traditional environmental knowledge carried within them. 

Visit to learn more about us and the important work that we do. 

Have a question? Contact us at
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We're a leader for culture and heritage in Nunavut, guided by an Inuinnait Board. We address projects of critical importance to the revival of Inuit culture, language and history. We focus on the critical needs of Inuinnait—a distinct regional group of Inuit living in the Central Canadian Arctic.

Our mission is to preserve and renew Inuinnait knowledge, language and culture for the benefit of all Inuit.

Our vision is to concentrate and connect the resources, expertise and technology critical to Inuinnait cultural and linguistic survival.

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