The Inuit of the North were known to be nomadic people, following the migrations of the animals and returning to fishing spots yearly.

Ancient food caches made of rock called piruliaqs dot the landscape of Uqhuuhiliq, a rocky island now host to nesting gulls and other water birds.
Rita Pigalak/NNSL photos

The people of Kugluktuk settled in the area near the Coppermine River, creating the village in the early 1950s.

Before settling where the town now sits the Inuit harvested caribou, musk ox, moose, fish, geese and seals to name a few. To preserve their catch they would build rock caches to store their food and many of these caches can be found in areas where our ancestorss roamed.

This small island called Uqhuuhiliq sits off the shores west of Cape Kendall, a rocky island with some beach that is home to many nesting seagulls and other water birds. Between fifteen to twently old rock piles which were food caches can be seen on the island.

“The generation before me lived and fished around that area, I was too young to remember who the families were that lived at that area and my memory now is not that great either as I am getting old”, said Laura Kohoktak, who has lived in the region for many years.

“The food caches were built to preserve and protect thier food from predators and when the people return from travelling the caches were there if they or anyone needed food. They are called “piruliaqs” but now we have freezers,” laughed Elder Tommy Norberg.

So as years pass, there sit the rock food caches to remind us of how life was then, the way of our people and how we should never forget where we come from.

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Rita Pigalak - Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Rita Pigalak grew up in Kugluktuk and spent most of her adult life there. Inuinnaqtun is her mother tongue. She now lives in Yellowknife but remains intimately connected with her home community and the...