The Inuit Circumpolar Documentary

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Towards the Glacier

When I first experienced how easy the strong dogs raised in Qaanaaq are pulling the 500 kg sledge up to the top of the glacier (in good weather), I was thinking about the work of Eivind Astrup (1871-1895). He learned how the Greenland dogs and the sledge outrange any other transport vessel in the polar Arctic. Astrup crafted sleds for the Peary expedition – copied from the nearby Inuit families, families related to our expedition members. His writings reveals a deep respect and understanding of the local Inuit culture.

From his second expedition, Eivind brought back to Norway with him four Greenland Dogs. These were the first in Norway and he raised them on a small island in the Oslo Fjord. When the dogs were old enough he trained them on the iced sea outside Oslo. The ash sledge they pulled was his own native-inspired design and built by experienced Norwegian sledge carpenters.

Read more about Astrup in the biography, or use this link to the article by Jonas Warme Moe:
http://thefanhitch.org/V15N1/V15,N1Astrup.html

T. Higraff

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Audio Post from 1000 meter altitude

(Norwegian). 1000 meter altitude. Windy. 21 minus. Going downwards from the top after this.

No Ice, No Hunting

Reports from the Nanoq-expedition shows how difficult it is to maintain the old cultural dogsled journeys that used to keep people around Baffin Island in contact with each other, people who are closely related in language and culture. Nanoq cant’t go northwest along the shore, but must straight north. That means crossing the glacier into Inglefield Land! Everyone knows that the ice sheet on Greenland is melting. But new research shows it is disappearing much faster than previously thought. For the hunters in the Baffin Bay region, the result is that fjords and bays are covered with ice much later than before. Shorter hunting season means less chances for outcome for people and dogs.

The Young Hunter

Avigaq enjoys a cup of tea during a break. He is the sixt and last member in the dogsled-team that have signed in the Nanoq-team. Still in his early 20ies, he likes to party with his friends. But he has gained much experience as a hunter and trapper, and would like to do that most of the time if he could decide. He helps the Nanoq Expedition with his sled and his good dogs to get up on top of the glacier, before we run down to the Inglefield Land in the North.

Female Inuit Expedition Member

We are proud to present Louise Simigaq Duneq in our Nanoq team. Her great grandfather is the famous American polar explorer Matthew Henson, who joined Robert Peary on most of his expeditions. She lives in Qeqertat.

The Nanoq Document

Alegaqsiaq Peary (to the right) help us to interview to male and female bearers of traditions. Twelve people so far have shared their knowledge of dog handling and hunting, and have made it possible for Nanoq to complete the first and most important task: To document the voices of the material and immaterial inuit heritage. T. Higraff

Wedding in Qaanaaq

Today, Sunday 7.th of April, we have been in church. Lots of beautiful people. The Greenlandic national costume is used on special festive occasions like this.

No Voices for Indigenous People in Thule

Tucumec Peary is a hunters wife in Qaanaaq. Her husband, Mamarut Kristiansen, tries to live as a professional hunter. In our interview with her, she describe their situation as very challenging.
– It is like we have been forgotten. We have been treated like garbage. Like we don’t live in this land. It used to be better when we had a person from our community represented in the parliament in Nuuk. Now there are no one there to speak our words.

Tucumeq Peary is among many people in the polar region of Greenland who have not seen much of The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in their real life the last ten years.

– We have tried to contact the government to make them understand our situation, but they won’t listen. We have a different life here than in the south.

I many ways, the polar eskimo woman is facing more problems than their men. When the men can’t get enough money, the women have to work more, they are the ones who pay all the bills. To be a woman in Qaanaaq is difficult, also because there is no nursery or assistance to get when they are having a baby.

– We have to leave our kids, our family, to live down south for a month or two. The trip take two or three days, depending on where you live.

Torgeir S. Higraff

Go Fishing in Qeqertat

Greenland is the wildest place on earth for char fishing. Arctic char in big amounts is to be found in the lakes near Qeqertat. Their size is not that bad. There are hundreds of rivers and lakes, full of Arctic Char. Because of the enormous territory and few inhabitants, many of these fishing areas are hardly fished at all and some rivers have not seen an angler – ever.

On the photo is some of the catch from Qitdlutoq Duneq and his family.

Shopkeeper in the Polar Arctic

Nukapienguaq Jeremiassen (to the left) runs the small shop in Qeqertat. They receive supply once a year from a ship. Theres no opening hours. If people need something in the middle of the night, he opens the shop. The assortment is not big, but he has a few items of each category. He sells anything from weapons, sugar, needles.