How the Cana­dian Mu­seum of His­tory and the com­mu­nity of Arc­tic Bay are telling the real story of an Inuit an­ces­tor

Canadian Geographic - - CONTENTS - By Nick Walker

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.

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