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Face-time with Inuit Elders

By Margo Pfeiff
  A wizened Inuit hunter sits beside me in a traditional summer home made of caribou skins called a qammaq. He is explaining how he catches seals by standing motionless, harpoon poised, for hours in the cold. We're not on the tundra, though. We're in the Pangnirtung community visitor's centre in Nunavut - a rare spot where visitors can chat with Inuit elders. Come on in, take a seat! The women are busy sewing fur-trimmed mitts while the men play cards in the next room. If you want to get to know the folks of this small, artistic community on southern Baffin Island, you've come to the right spot.
     A stroll through Pangnirtung is a walk through Inuit art, culture and tradition. Start at the community centre, where you might find an artist manning the information booth while sketching. Just next door is the headquarters for nearby Auyuittuq ("the land that never melts"), the Arctic's first national park, located north of the Arctic Circle, and one of Canada's best. Tack a few days onto your trip for a trek amid some of the North's most dramatic jagged peaks and glaciers at the head of a narrow fjord.
     Art browsing in "Pang" is as simple as sitting down to dinner or taking a walk. Carvers might approach you in a café with polished-stone polar bears or caribou-antler earrings in their pocket. Buying from the artist direct is an Arctic norm.
     Just up the road, wander through the print shop at the Uqqurmiut Centre for Arts & Crafts. Watch some of Nunavut's best printmakers put finishing touches on works for their annual collection. Or peek over the shoulders of women weaving wall-sized tapestries.

Award-winning, Montréal, QC-based freelance writer and photographer Margo Pfeiff's work has appeared in Reader's Digest (books and magazines), GEO, Better Homes and Gardens, Time-Life books, Canadian Geographic, Los Angeles Times, San Francisco Chronicle, The Dallas Morning News, Montréal Gazette, National Post, The Globe and Mail and Cathay Pacific's Discovery magazine.

Photo Credit & Article:
courtesy, Canadian Tourism Commission

If you go
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as seen on
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www.greatcanadianparks.com
www.pc.gc.ca
www.uqqurmiut.com
www.nunavuttourism.com

What's happening, money, distance, time?
Media Guide: http://www.abyznewslinks.com/
Currency conversion: http://www.xe.com/ucc/
Distance calculator: http://www.indo.com/distance/
Time zone converter: http://www.timezoneconverter.com/

Transportation, visas, health, maps and temperature
Airlines (Wikipedia): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_airlines
Embassies/Consulates (Embassy World): http://www.embassyworld.com/
Health precautions (WHO): http://www.who.int/ith/en/
Google interactive map: http://maps.google.com/
Temperature (Temperature World): http://www.temperatureworld.com/


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