Thursday, October 28, 2010

Out On The Land!

Our day started with a Skype session where some of  the people from our group and some of the students and teachers from Kiilinik High School talked with an elementary class from Seaforth about our experience so far. Then we were invited to a surprise assembly, where the entire school turned out to officially welcome us to their community!
Then we truly began our adventures in the Arctic Circle by hopping into a whole bunch of 'qamutiks' (which are basically big sleds that are pulled behind powerful snowmobiles) and heading "out on the land" to see the migration of the Caribou!
We were extremely fortunate to have the Elders of Cambridge Bay as our guides for the day. We saw dozens of caribou waiting for the sea ice to freeze on the Northwest Passage of the Arctic Ocean. When the ice freezes they will cross from where we are on Victoria Island to the mainland, where they will graze until they return here for spring.
For many thousands of years, the Inuit of Cambridge Bay have hunted the caribou during this stage in their migration. They have always depended on the caribou to survive, using them for their meat, skins and their antlers.
When we returned to camp, the Elders had prepared a feast!
We ate caribou stew and bannock, their traditional bread!

We returned to town, where we enjoyed an evening of traditional drum dancing and throat singing.

Check out the video of the drum dancing... with two special guests from our group trying to keep up! (Hint: they're the guys not wearing awesome traditional costumes):

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