Inuit Heritage Trust plans whale bone house for Iqaluit

The Inuit Heritage Trust hopes to build a traditional Thule whale bone house in Iqaluit, similar to one restored by researchers near Resolute Bay.

Building the house, framed by whale bone and covered by sealskins, would honour Thule culture

Crystal Two is one of the sites being considered for the Thule whale bone house in Iqaluit. (Vince Robinet/CBC)

The Inuit Heritage Trust is hoping to build a house, framed with whale bones and covered by sealskins, in Iqaluit to honour the Thule culture. 

Today's Inuit are direct descendants of the Thule and the planned replica will be similar to one restored by researchers near Resolute Bay. 

The tradition of using whale bones to build homes dates back more than a thousand years. 

Torsten Diesel with the Inuit Heritage Trust says the organization hopes Iqalummiut will come together to work on the project. 

"In terms of labour we would like to encourage Iqalummiut, once it's time to build the house, to come out and build the house together," he says.  

"Maybe have some elders there so we can tell the stories and share the knowledge of Inuit past with local residents." 

The Inuit Heritage Trust is now considering where to build the house; among the options is the Crystal Two site by the Sylvia Grinnell River. 

Diesel says the project does not have funding at the moment but he expects it could cost anywhere from $80,000 to $240,000. He hopes to build the replica by fall 2016.


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