Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories Canada

Discover Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories: A Unique Blend of Tradition and Modernity

Ulukhaktok, formerly known as Holman or Holman Island until 1 April 2006, is a quaint hamlet nestled on the west coast of Victoria Island, in the Inuvik Region of the Northwest Territories, Canada. This small community is a fascinating blend of traditional practices and contemporary livelihoods, with hunting, trapping, and fishing co-existing alongside the thriving printmaking industry. The community is predominantly bilingual, speaking the Kangiryuarmiutun dialect of Inuinnaqtun, part of the Inuvialuktun group, and English. Ulukhaktok also boasts the world's most northerly golf course, adding a unique charm to this Arctic hamlet.

The Rich History of Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories

The history of Ulukhaktok dates back to 1937 when Natkusiak and his family first settled in the area. The Hudson's Bay Company relocated here from Walker Bay in 1939, the same year a Roman Catholic mission was opened. The hamlet was initially named Holman, in honor of J.R. Holman, a member of Sir Edward Augustus Inglefield's 1853 expedition in search for the Arctic explorer, John Franklin.

In 2006, the community was renamed Ulukhaktok, the traditional Kangiryuarmiutun name for the area, which translates to "the place where ulu parts are found" or "a large bluff where we used to collect raw material to make ulus". The large bluff overlooking Ulukhaktok provided the slate and copper used to make ulus, giving the community its name. The residents are known as Ulukhaktokmiut, meaning "people of Ulukhaktok".

The Inuit of Ulukhaktok have a rich history of trade with mainland groups as far east as King William Island and as far south as Great Bear Lake. The majority of Ulukhaktokmiut come from a varied background, with family ties extending mainly to the Coppermine River community of Kugluktuk, Nunavut, and the communities of the Mackenzie River Delta and Beaufort Sea.

Demographics of Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories

According to the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Ulukhaktok had a population of 408 living in 134 of its 159 total private dwellings, a change of 3% from its 2016 population of 396. With a land area of 120.71 km2 (46.61 sq mi), it had a population density of 3.4/km2 (8.8/sq mi) in 2021. In 2016, 370 (96.4%) of its residents were Inuvialuit or Inuit and the rest (6.6%) were non-Indigenous. The main languages in the community are Inuinnaqtun (Inuvialuktun) and English.

The Climate of Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories

Ulukhaktok experiences a tundra climate (ET) characterized by short but cool summers and long cold winters. Despite the harsh weather conditions, the community thrives, maintaining a strong connection to its traditional roots while embracing modern ways of life.