History

The area at the mouth of the Thelon River has always been a traditional gathering place for Inuit, for summer hunting and fishing. The various groups travelled up the river systems in the area to their winter hunting grounds. The Kazan River, in particular, was also very important as a travel route and for hunting caribou.

In 1762, Captain Christopher of the Hudson’s Bay Company sailed up Chesterfield Inlet and named the Lake for Sir William Baker, one of the Governors of the Company.

The Hudson’s Bay Company established the first trading post in the region on the island called Ookpiktuyuk, southeast of the present community. In 1924, the Revillon Freres built a post at the present site, and both the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches built missions nearby in 1927. In 1936, the HBC moved their post to a site near the current airport. They bought out the Revillon Freres, and later operated the post out of the building that is now the Vera Akumalik Visitor Centre. People began to congregate around the missions and the past.

During the 1950’s, when caribou were scarce and starvation threatened, the government moved people from their inland camps to Baker Lake. Six traditional groups of people now live in Baker Lake. They remember and have preserved many of their traditions of the past.