The Umiyaqtut Festival
Every year the Umiyaqtut Festival is hosted in our small but growing community called Gjoa Haven, Nunavut. Umiyaqtut is Inuktitut for shipwreck, but the Umiyaqtut Festival means so much more.
This locally organized and coordinated festival schedule is Canada’s only Northwest Passage celebration event. With a schedule that is unique each year, it is guaranteed to showcase a diversity of Inuit games, art and music that makes the greater Netsilik region of Western Nunavut a remarkable and vibrant part of Nunavut.
The Hamlet of Gjoa Haven, the Government of Nunavut, the Nattilik Heritage Society, Parks Canada and the Franklin Interim Advisory Committee were proud to host the first-annual Umiyaqtut Festival in 2017. That inaugural celebration focused on the recent milestone discoveries of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror in 2014 and 2016, as well as the important role Inuit knowledge and the community of Gjoa Haven played in their discovery, and the preservation of Inuit traditional knowledge surrounding the wrecks held by the greater Netsilik peoples. The Festival is now an annual event that takes place from late August to early September and features community feasts, cultural performances, artistic programming, artifact showings and presentations related to the two shipwrecks, Inuit knowledge and the national historic site.
Language Initiative Project-Parka and Mitt Making
The students learned from the Elder’s how to produce fabric parkas and sealskin and fabric mittens. They also learned Inuktut during the project. Below are some photos of the seamstresses.
Elders, Mary Qingnatuq, Martha Atkitchok
Students, Ramona Tungilik, Felicia Porter, Connie Arqviq, and Heidi Kamookak.
This project was funded by the Government of Nunavut’s Language Initiatives and managed by the Nattilik Heritage Society.
In the 2021 Umiyaqtut Festival, we had a 3 day miniature camp where the ladies made little canvas and seal skin tents, the men made little wooden Kayak, Pitisi (Bow and Arrow) and Qaruqsaq (fishing hook) and students from the elementary school came to watch how were they made and learned about the tools we used long ago and how they were used.
Elder for Wood Work: Simon Hiqiniq
Students for the wood work: Johnny Porter, and CJ Putuguq
Elder for Sewing: Leonie Aaluk
Sewing student: Arieann Aaluk
Arctic Sport Events
Athletes that’s been to the Arctic Winter Games demonstrates arctic sports to the community. The Arctic Winter Games is a northern tournament where athletes play northern and arctic sports such as one foot high kick/two foot high kick, arm pull/leg pull, musk ox wrestle and so much more inuit games.
The Athletes: Brenda Hiqiniq, Anna Grace Aaluk, Johnny Porter and Chad Siksik
After School Activities
We started after school activities with both the Qiqirtaq Ilihakviq (high school) and Quqshuun Iliihakviq (elementary school) In November 2021. We teach the students the importance of our heritage, our language and traditional knowledge and how it should be pass down to the next generation.
Coming Soon is the 6th Annual Umiyaqtutt Festival!
Featuring Special Guest Performers, Square Dances/Fun Dances, Games and MANY MORE!
Cultural Evening Events will be back soon!
Cultural Evening includes Drum Dancing, Storytelling AND MANY MORE! You can also win prizes when you attend these Cultural Evening Events.