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Quebec, Canada

Umiujaq (population 315) is an Inuit village near the eastern shore of Hudson Bay in Nunavik in northern Quebec, Canada. The village was established in 1986 by Inuit from Kuujjuarapik, 160 km to the south, who decided to relocate away from the area affected by the James Bay Hydro-electric Project.

Umiujaq, meaning “which resembles a boat” in the Inuktituk language, is located at the foot of a hill resembling an overturned umiaq, a traditional Inuit walrus-skin boat. The village is located 15 km west of Guillaume Delisle Lake (Tasiujaq), an immense inland bay which is joined with Hudson Bay by a rocky gulch.

Inaccessible by road, Umiujaq is served by a small airport.

Inuit negotiated a clause into the 1975 James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement that provided for the relocation of Inuit from Kuujjuarapik to a new settlement unaffected by hydro-electric development. Following a referendum, in 1982 the Inuit opted to create a new community where they could preserve their traditional lifestyle in an area where fish and game were not threatened by hydroelectric development. After extensive studies a location was selected, and construction of the new village was completed in 1986.