Inuit artifacts may be relocated from Yellowknife to Iqaluit
Qikiqtaaluk Corporation wants to build a heritage centre to showcase Nunavut history
Many artifacts sitting in Yellowknife could be going home to Nunavut.
There are about 150,000 artifacts originating from Nunavut stored at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre in Yellowknife.
There are also artifacts from Nunavut stored in Ottawa and Hull.
Qikiqtaaluk Corporation is stepping in to help bring the treasured items home. It plans to help with the cost of building a heritage centre in Nunavut.
Harry Flaherty, the corporation’s president, says a museum could be built on Inuit-owned land below the Plateau. He says it’s time Nunavut’s history was brought back to the people.
“I don’t think most of the Inuit, Nunavut residents have gotten to see them. We’re had Nunavut now for 20 years but for our youth and our elders to properly educate our youth. We don’t have the facility to go back in history and talk about our ancestors, how they used to live and how they used to perform, what tools they used to have,” he said.
Flaherty says they’re also looking at a facility that could also accommodate visual arts and cultural performances.
“It’s one way of putting Inuit and art and performance, youth and elders back together,” he says, adding a centre could attract tourists and visiting performers.
The building would require special environmental conditions for some of the more fragile pieces.
The Qikiqtaaluk Corporation hopes to work with both the federal and territorial government as well as other Inuit organizations to help reduce the cost of constructing the centre.
Flaherty says it’s too early to know how much the project but he hopes construction could start within a few years.
The Nunavut government has been paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to store the artifacts outside the territory.