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Quebec, Canada

Inukjuak is an Inuit settlement located on Hudson Bay at the mouth of the Innuksuak River in the Nunavik region of northern Quebec, Canada. Its population is 1294 (2001 census of Canada). It is not accessible by road, but by boat in summer and year-round by air through Inukjuak Airport.

Inukjuak means “The Giant” in the Inuktitut language. Alternatively, the site has also been known as Port Harrison.

The many archeological sites near Inukjuak indicate that the area has long been inhabited by Inuit.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Revillon Freres company set up a fur trading post in Inukjuak. In order to compete with them the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) also established a post in 1920. In the same year Revillon Freres paid for Robert J. Flaherty to film Nanook of the North (released 1922) in the area.

The HBC bought out Revillon Freres in 1936 and continued its trade monopoly here until 1958. In 1927 an Anglican mission was established, followed by a post office and RCMP detachment in 1935, a nursing station in 1947, and a school in 1951. From this time on the Inuit started to give up their traditional nomadic way of life and live permanently in the community. A cooperative store was formed in 1962. Inukjuak was legally established as a municipality in 1980.

In 1953, the Canadian Government forcibly relocated some of the area’s inhabitants to Resolute, Nunavut, and Grise Fiord, Nunavut, as part of a plan to establish a “Canadian” presence in the High Arctic and assert its sovereignty. This caused families to be split up and relocated persons faced hardships in the much more severe conditions of the far north.