Qallunaaq of Iqaluit

In 1993 the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act was signed, which led to the creation of Nunavut: Canada’s largest and northernmost territory, equal in size to Mexico and encompasses most of Canada’s arctic archipelago. This vast territory is one of the most sparsely populated areas in the world, with only 31,600 inhabitants across 28 communities, from Sanikiluaq on the Belcher Islands to Grise Fjord on Ellesmere Island.

Terje Isungset invited me to document a special chapter of his Ice Music: to record Nunavut’s fresh & salt water (sea) ice. Nunavut’s capital, Iqaluit ᐃᖃᓗᐃᑦ (a place of many fish) was our base, and we arrived during the coldest part of winter with temperatures dropping as low as -56ºc while we were there.

A surprisingly high percentage of the capital’s 6,000 residents are not indigenous Inuit people but ‘Qallunaaq’: non-Inuit or white person. The largest employer is the government, which attracts Qallunaaq willing to exchange ‘main street’ daily life for solitude, spareness and a few settle indefinitely. All, including myself, fell in love with the place.