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Inuit land-use map

This 1970s Inuit map shows generations of travel and hunting across the North

  • Dec 06, 2015
  • 190 words
  • 1 minutes
Map: Henry Hokshun, Gjoa Haven. Individual biography map, Inuit Land Use and Occupancy Project, 1973. Library and Archives Canada, RG85M 77803-16, MIKAN 4619683
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This map is a visual account of the North, and was created by Inuit hunter Henry Hokshun of the Gjoa Haven region in the 1970s. The data is drawn from seven decades of travel, and uses landmarks as reference points.

It details winter campsites and hunting areas for 15 Arctic species for the generations between 1903 and 1974. This map shows, for example, that geese and other birds were harvested near Gjoa Haven during period 4 (1963-74), while ringed seals were found in areas north of town from periods 1 to 3 (1903-62) and polar bears, farther north still, in period 2 (1927-54). Hoksun’s routes criss-cross and contain more than 90,000 square kilometers of central Arctic – a massive expanse extending east into Queen Maud Gulf, west to Pelly Bay and south across the Adelaide Peninsula onto the mainland.

Maps like these were made as part of the Inuit Land Use and Occupancy Project, to help clearly show where their traditional lands are, and were eventually used to help settle Inuit land claim negotiations.

*with files from Marc Cockburn, cartographic archivist, Library and Archives Canada


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This story is from the December 2015 Issue

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