Population Density: Nunavut, which is the province we cross into for the second half of our journey, is the most northerly of the Canadian provinces. It is also the largest Canadian province. With a surface area larger than Alaska, and a population that is less than one twentieth that of Alaska's, it is one of the most sparsly populated regions on earth.
People: Paleo-Eskimos, nomadic hunters, came to the region 8000 years ago. Archaic Indians also hunted in the region several thousand years ago. 1000 years ago, Thule Eskimos, the ancestors of the modern Inuit, came to the area. They lived primarily on the coast, but travelled inland to Baker Lake and up the Thelon River to hunt caribou. In the 17th and 18th centuries, some of the Thule, sometimes referred to as the Caribou Inuit, began to stay permanently inland. In the 1920s and 1930s trading posts, missions, and the RCMP, were established in Baker Lake. This had a dramatic impact on the Inuit, and by the 1960s (within my own lifetime!) most of the Inuit inhabitants of the region had settled in town. This change from the traditional to modern ways of living happened recently enough that there are still a few people who remember living off the land in the old way. Hopefully, we will have a chance to meet some of these people in Qamani'tuaq at the end of our journey!