In a land which has seen the comings and goings of thousands of seasons, it’s in the travels and adventures of the people that the story is told. For the Inuit, history is more a matter of place than it is of time. It is the memory of the changing of the seasons, and nomadic journeys following the migrations of the animals that made life possible for them. The Inuit sense of tradition flows from the memories of the places they’ve camped for generations: places where the caribou were plentiful and the fishing was good.
The Baker Lake Traditional Camp is a living memory of life of the land. The aim of the camp is to provide a way for people to experience the Inuit nomadic traditions of the past.
The seasonal setting is a summer encampment. The camp is maintained by an Inuit family who introduce visitors to the camp’s characteristic features. The caribou tent, which is constructed by the traditional methods, is a sample of the kinds of portable architecture for which Inuit are known throughout the world. Inuit ingenuity in the construction of temporary shelter is one of the most important features of their survival in the often hostile and changeable arctic environment.
Visitors will also see a caribou skin kayak, one of many modes of transportation which were developed to follow the ever-changing patterns of nature, and the migrations of the animals Inuit depended on for everything from food to shelter. Throughout the camp the visitor will find traditional tools and games which were also an essential feature of the traditional life.
The Traditional Camp is very much a living museum. It represents an attempt to bring history to life and provide an important source for research and documentation of Inuit heritage. The camp also serves as a central gathering point for community games and feasts.
The Traditional Camp project is part of the efforts of a group of concerned citizens of Qamani’tuaq (Baker Lake) to protect their heritage as they face the dramatic cultural changes of modern settlement life. Qatqamiut: The Baker Lake Historical Society was incorporated in 1989. The group is pursuing the preservation of heritage on several fronts.
The term “Qatqamiut” refers to people who in traditional times, used to camp atop a hill where they could spot the approach of caribou, strangers, or changes in the weather. The term is an appropriate description of the society’s goals in preserving local history and the Inuit cultural legacy.
The Traditional Camp is sponsored by the Government of Nunavut, private sources, donations, and the volunteer efforts of many Baker Lake residents.
We hope that you will enjoy your visit. We ask only that you do not disturb or litter the site, and that you treat it with respect so that future visitors can also enjoy the experience as well.
We welcome you to the Baker Lake Traditional Camp. The camp is open from dusk to dawn throughout the summer months. Tea is always on. If you need directions to reach the camp, just stop by the Akumalik Visitor Centre.