An Ancient Bond with the Land

Arctic Whalers

Long ago, Inuit learned how to thrive in the cold and treeless Arctic, which they call nunassiaq, "the beautiful land." They developed warm clothes, effective housing, and the ability to hunt even the largest of the Arctic's creatures, the great bowhead whales. A powerful spiritual bond unites the Inuit and the land and animals upon which they depend.

"The hardships our ancestors endured and their hard work shaped us into what we are today. Let us be grateful...."

Jaco Evic, Inuktitut, 1999

Bow Drill
Thule Inuit, about A.D. 1000-1600
Baffin Island, Nunavut
Walrus ivory
Canadian Museum of Civilization, PgHq-1:1, CD97-320-052
Drawing: Susan Laurie-Bourque
© Canadian Museum of Civilization

Scenes incised on this 700-year-old bow-drill illustrate ancient Inuit life, including the hunting of great whales.

Bow-Drill - PgHq-1:1 - CD97-320-052

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Landscape photograph:
David Morrison, Canadian Museum of Civilization