Arvia'juaq and Qikiqtaarjuk National Historic Site of Canada
Qikiqtarjuac, Sentry Island, Nunavut
© Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, 1996.
Arviat, Qikiqtarjuac, Sentry Island, Nunavut
Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
Arvia'juaq and Qikiqtaarjuk
Research Report Number:
Existing plaque: Qikiqtarjuac, Sentry Island, Nunavut
For centuries, Inuit returned here each spring to camp and harvest the abundant marine resources. These gatherings also provided an opportunity to teach the young, celebrate life, and affirm and renew Inuit society. These sites continue to be centres to celebrate, practise, and rejuvenate Inuit culture in the Arviat area. The oral histories, traditional knowledge, and archaeological sites at Arvia'juaq and Qikiqtaarjuk provide a cultural and historical foundation for future generations.
Description of Historic Place
This national historic site is comprised of two portions: Arvia'Juaq and Qikiqtaaruk. Arvia'Juaq is a traditional summer camp of the Paallirmiut Inuit. It is a 5-km long island with two sections joined by an isthmus, and is located 8 km from the Hamlet of Arviat on the western shore of Hudson Bay. Situated in an area rich in marine wildlife resources, the island contains many ritual and spiritual sites.
Qikiqtaarjuk is a point of land projecting into Hudson Bay from the mainland immediately opposite Arvia'Juaq. It was once a small island and is now joined to the mainland by a narrow strip of land. Rich in evidence of human habitation, it contains tent rings, food caches, kayak stands and graves from the summer occupancy of generations of Paallirmiut. A sacred site associated with the legend of Kiviuq is located at the end of the peninsula. The designation refers to all these elements of both sites.
Arvia'Juaq and Qikiqtaarjuk was declared a national historic site in 1995 because Arvia'Juaq and Qikiqtaarjuk speak eloquently to the cultural, spiritual and economic life of the Inuit in the Arviat area, focusing on coastal activities.
The heritage value of Arvia'Juaq and Qikiqtaarjuk National Historic Site lies in the wholeness and completeness of this cultural landscape, in the continuity of human habitation that they witness, and in the rich cultural, spiritual and economic role they play in the lives of the Inuit of the Arviat area. Heritage value is embodied in the natural features and resources of the land, in all evidence of human habitation and patterns of Inuit occupancy, and in the ritual and spiritual properties of the many sacred sites.
For centuries the Inuit of the Arviat area have returned to Arvia'Juaq and Qikiqtaarjuk each summer to camp and harvest the abundant marine resources. These gatherings provided an opportunity to teach the young, celebrate life, and affirm and renew Inuit society. The oral histories, traditional knowledge and archaeological sites at Arvia'Juaq and Qikiqtaarjuk provide a cultural focus for future generations since they continue to be centres to celebrate, practise and rejuvenate Inuit culture. These sites have been designated on the recommendation of the people of Arviat.
Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minute, July 1995; Commemorative Integrity Statement, 1997
Key elements which contribute to the heritage value of this site include: continued use of these sites for cultural, spiritual and economic purposes by the Inuit; the health and well-being of marine wildlife resources in and around the areas; the wholeness and completeness of the cultural landscape, including the physical features of the natural landscape and evidence of people in, on and about the natural landscape; the continuing presence of natural and archaeological sites, particularly those which are remembered and revealed in oral tradition; the continuing presence and lack of disruption of archaeological sites, particularly those which witness centuries of occupation; the undisturbed presence of grave sites; continuation of the beliefs, observances, proscriptions and unexplained forces associated with traditional Inuit use of the land; continual currency and respect for elders' knowledge of historic events, legends and Inuit life-ways associated with these sites; the health and well-being of the tundra on Arvia'Juaq and Qikiqtaarjuk; uninterrupted viewscapes between Arvia'Juaq and Qikiqtaarjuk, viewscapes from both sites to the waters of Hudson Bay.