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Grisefiord, Ellesmere Island

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The remote settlement and the people. …

The remote settlement and the people.

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  • 1. Grisefiord, Ellesmere Island Canada Grise Fiord ( Aujuittuq , "place that never thaws") a small Inuit hamlet, in the territory of Nunavut, Canada. Grise fiord
  • 2. Grise Fiord , Pop. 160 76º 25´N , 82°53′ W 1 150 km above the Arctic Circle Grise Fiord is located on the south coast of Ellesmere Island , on the north shore of Jones Sound , and is Canada's most northerly community and one of the northernmost settlements on earth. Despite its low population, it is the largest community on Ellesmere Island.
  • 3.
    • The 1960s brought great change in Grise Fiord: the construction of a school, a government administration building, and in 1966 the Inuit cooperative.
    • The traditional inuit fishing and hunting activity remains vital due to high food prices, which are twice times more than in southern Canada. Seal, polar bear, walrus, musk ox, beluga, narwhal and fish are the basic food resources.
    Founded in 1953 , when the Canadian government relocated Inuit families from northern Quebec and Baffin Island to the top north, to strengthen Canada's sovereignty on the High Arctic.
  • 4. Grise Fiord Surrounded by high cliffs and, for most of the year, sea ice.
  • 5. Grise Fiord means " Pig Fiord " in Norwegian ( walrus sound like pigs !), but many visitors consider the community setting the most beautiful in the North
  • 6. At these latitudes, there are two seasons: the "light" season from May to August, when the sun never sets, and the "dark" season from October to mid-February, when the sun never rises - it´s the long arctic night.
  • 7.
    • The climate in Grise Fiord is severely cold. Grise Fiord has an Arctic climate, which means that temperature stays well below 0 °C for more than eight months of the year .
  • 8.
    • It can dip often to -40º C in January, and snow storms isolate the settlement. Record low was -62.2º C.
  • 9.
    • In July, temperatures can peak at 10º C in the sun - even warmer under the 24-hour sunlight and blue skies.
  • 10.
    • The Residential area
    • Because of the permafrost , homes are made of wood and built on platforms, about a meter off the ground.
    • The ground is frozen most of the year, but softens in summer. The freezing and thawing would ruin the foundation, and the house would sink.
  • 11.
    • The most common way to get around is a snowmobile.
  • 12.
    • Inuit homes have the same conveniences as homes in the south: a stove, fridge, washer, drier, stereo, television, satellite dish and modern bathrooms. Electricity is used for appliances and for lighting
  • 13. In all, 40 houses and 20 public and commercial buildings
  • 14.
    • RCMP detachment
    Established in 1922 to secure Canadian sovereignty
  • 15.
    • Many in Grise Fiord work for the three levels of government- municipal, territorial or federal.
  • 16. Downtown: the Co-op (far right), he government Hamlet Office ( right), the health clinic (left).
  • 17. The inuit Co-op store, the school, the community centre, the hotel and the health centre employ most of the locals ; tourism brings some increasing income.
  • 18.
    • Inns North - Grise Fjord lodge
  • 19.
    • The seafront
  • 20.
    • Almost everyone has a boat of some kind to navigate the waters of the fiord.
  • 21.  
  • 22.
    • Boys play on ice floes
    • For 10 months of the year, the sea around Grise Fiord is frozen; break-up usually isn't complete until mid-August. Until then, the sea ice can be as a highway for travel by snowmobile or dog team.
  • 23.  
  • 24.
    • Ice floes in Jones Sound contrast with the dark blue of the surrounding water
  • 25. Most northern school
  • 26.
    • Umimmak ( musk ox ) School
    • 55 students from kindergarten to Grade 12.
    • English is used for most courses, but students learn native Inuktitut language.
    • Elders and locals teach traditional skills: students learn how to make sleds, how to carve and sew or make garments from musk ox fur.
  • 27. The school also acts as a community center, with weekly dances, movies, classes in sewing, cooking, art, adult education
  • 28.  
  • 29.  
  • 30.
    • Carving, singing and drum dancing reflect the Inuit way of life
  • 31.  
  • 32.  
  • 33.
    • Traditional amautiit clothing
    • (left: seal, right: caribou)
    • amautiit = arctic Inuit parka designed to carry a child in the same garment as the parent
  • 34.  
  • 35. The small comunity Anglican church, built in the 1960s
  • 36.
    • Service every sunday,
    • some 10 people attend.
    • And a real bronze bell !
  • 37.  
  • 38.  
  • 39.
    • Grise Fiord Inuit Co-operative
  • 40.
    • Comunity store, shopping time.
    • The co-op was incorporated in 1960 and is the only business providing services to the community, and giving Inuit greater financial independence.
  • 41.  
  • 42.
    • Health clinic
  • 43. Igloos in the neighborhood
  • 44. Igloos are used for shelter on hunting trips.
  • 45.
    • The inside of an igloo is often quite comfortable, with temperatures just above freezing.
  • 46.
    • Traditional wolf-skin parka – the hunter remains warm in the -30º C weather
  • 47.
    • Wearing caribou skin clothing while hunting polar bear at -50°C.
  • 48.  
  • 49. A very special sled
  • 50.  
  • 51.
    • Inukshuks ( = in the likeness of a human )
    • are used as directional markers by Inuit people for communication and survival or as a place of respect or memorial.
    • They mean “ Someone was here ”
  • 52.  
  • 53.  
  • 54.
    • Pottery Work Area
    Inuit art: ceramics
  • 55.  
  • 56.
    • Baleen and ivory miniature scraper (
  • 57.
    • Looty Pijamini
    • Inuit artist from Grise Fiord, Canada
  • 58.
    • Sedna Amulet Pendant
  • 59.
    • Two mothers
  • 60.
    • Grise Fiord Air terminal
  • 61.  
  • 62.
    • Children´s art at terminal
  • 63. Twin Otter from Kenn Borek Air Two weekly flights
  • 64. Icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov Polar cruises in icebreakers often visit Grise Fiord
  • 65.  
  • 66.
    • Grise Fiord can be reached in mid-summer by ship
  • 67.
    • Fauna
    Walrus abound in Jones Sound’s waters
  • 68.
    • The caribou is a medium-sized member of the deer family.
    • Peary caribou are smaller. The Peary caribou population has dropped from above 40 000 to about 700, and they are now considered endangered .
    • It is a major food source for the Inuit.
  • 69.
    • Female bear footprints
    Bear watching is one of the main attractions
  • 70.
    • Musk ox roam near a tear of ice. The Inuit have long hunted musk ox for meat and used the soft underfur for weaving a luxurious wool.
    • The muskox, once brought to the brink of extinction, now roam in winter herds of 60 or more. Weighing up to 700 pounds, this relative of the goat moves at a slow deliberate pace, but it can, when pressed, run and climb.
  • 71.
    • Arctic hare
  • 72.
    • Arctic fox
  • 73. Arctic owl
  • 74.
    • Sunset at the shores
  • 75.  
  • 76.  
  • 77.
    • Sources
    • (photos and text) :
    • http://www.flickr.com
    • http://www.panoramio.com/
    • http://www.trekearth.com/
    • http://www.pbase.com/
    • http://picasaweb.google.com
    • http://www.woophy.com/photo
    • http ://www.qtcommission.com/actions/GetPage.php?pageId=17&communityId=11
    • © Mario Ricca, 2010
    ᐊᐅᔪᐃᑦᑐᖅ