How the Canadian Museum of History and the community of Arctic Bay are telling the real story of an Inuit ancestor
The real story of Nuvumiutaq, an Inuit ancestor from northern Baffin Island
Archeologists found his remains in a stone cairn on northern Baffin Island in 1959 and, as would never be done today, they took them south for study and storage. The Inuit Heritage Trust is now leading the repatriation of this Thule man’s 800-year-old bones and belongings from the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que., to his homeland, but in the meantime, the people of Arctic Bay, Nunavut, the museum and a French forensic artist have worked together to create this lifelike figure of what he looked like. Given the name Nuvumiutaq (simply, “person from the peninsula”) by Arctic Bay elders, he now stands in the museum’s new Canadian History Hall. Around the time he hunted in the waters off northern Baffin Island, Crusades began and ended in the eastern Mediterranean and Genghis rose to power as Great Khan of the Mongols. European sails would not appear in the Northwest Passage for another four centuries. Read on to find out how forensics, traditional knowledge and clues left by Nuvumiutaq himself came together to give this Inuit ancestor new life.