Naujaat, Nunavut

Discover Naujaat, Nunavut: A Seagull's Nesting Place in the Arctic Circle

Naujaat, Nunavut, formerly known as Repulse Bay until July 2, 2015, is an Inuit hamlet nestled on the Arctic Circle. This charming community is situated on the shores of Hudson Bay, at the southern end of the Melville Peninsula, in the Kivalliq Region of Nunavut, Canada.

The Location and Wildlife of Naujaat, Nunavut

Naujaat is positioned at the northern end of Roes Welcome Sound, which separates Southampton Island from the mainland. To the east of Naujaat, the Frozen Strait leads to Foxe Channel. The hamlet is located precisely on the Arctic Circle, on the northern shore of Naujaat and the southern shore of the Rae Isthmus.

Transportation to the community is primarily provided by air and an annual sealift. Naujaat is a haven for a wide variety of animals, including polar bears, caribou, seals, whales, and walrus. Birdwatchers will delight in the approximately one hundred species of birds in the area, including gyrfalcons and peregrine falcons.

The History of Naujaat, Nunavut

The name Naujaat translates into English as "seagull fledgling," "seagull resting place," or "seagulls' nesting place." This name is derived from a cliff located 5 km to the north, where seagulls migrating from the south each June make their nests.

Naujaat was first visited by Europeans in the 1740s, and by the late 1800s, it became a popular whaling ground for American and Scottish whalers. Many Naujaat Inuit residents worked on board these whaling vessels from the south.

The English name "Repulse Bay" is believed to have been given by Christopher Middleton, who, while searching for the Northwest Passage in 1742, discovered that the bay was not a route out of Hudson Bay, but rather a cul-de-sac. He is claimed to have called it the "Bay of Repulse, the bay where I was pushed away".

The Hudson's Bay Company opened a post in Naujaat around 1916, and in 1923, a rival fur trading company, Revillon Frères, opened a post. A Roman Catholic Mission was built in 1932. Naujaat was formerly part of the District of Keewatin and the Keewatin Region; in 1999, the area became part of the Kivalliq Region.

On May 12, 2014, a by-election was held to elect a new mayor, which was won by Solomon Malliki. At the same time, a non-binding plebiscite was held to gauge how the community felt about restoring the traditional name, Naujaat. With voter turnout at 36%, there were 82 people in favor and 73 opposed to the name change. The name was officially changed on July 2, 2015.

Naujaat, Nunavut Today

The Naujaat community continues to rely on traditional sealing, fishing, hunting, trapping, and carving for their livelihood, together with tourism. Naujaat is known for its Inuit artists, especially carvers who typically create small realist animal sculptures of ivory, soapstone, marble, and antler, as well as jewelry and crafts. Its people are the 'Aivilingmiut'. The community is served by Naujaat Airport.

Demographics of Naujaat, Nunavut

In the 2021 Canadian census conducted by Statistics Canada, Naujaat had a population of 1,225 living in 223 of its 246 total private dwellings, a change of 13.2% from its 2016 population of 1,082. With a land area of 406.19 km2 (156.83 sq mi), it had a population density of 3.0/km2 (7.8/sq mi) in 2021.

Broadband Communications in Naujaat, Nunavut

Both Qiniq and NorthwesTel have operations in Naujaat. Since late 2018, Qiniq has offered 4G LTE and 2G-GSM technology for mobile users in Naujaat.

The Climate of Naujaat, Nunavut

Naujaat has a tundra climate (Köppen ET) with short but cool summers and long, cold winters.