The Kugluktuk Hunters and Trappers Organization runs a Country Food Program that is administered by the Government of Nunavut’s Department of Economic Development and Transportation. The HTO applies for and receives up to $30,000 each year for the purchase and distribution of local country food. The HTO signs a contribution agreement, receives the money and pays the harvesters.
The HTO has accessed these funds every fiscal year.
The harvesting is done by local members of the community, The harvesters and community members use this program, after harvesting the food it is then distributed to those who cannot acquire it themselves.
They provide ptarmigan, geese, seal, fish and muskox where a certain number of tags are allocated for the community. Harvesters sign out these tags and bring back the meat.
Since 2007, the Kugluktuk HTO has stopped all commercial community and sporting hunts of caribou in the area and no longer provides that meat.
Amanda Dumond, a resident of Kugluktuk, has been with the HTO since March of 2017.
“This is one of the best programs out there,” said Dumond.
“The funds are small for a growing community, but what we try to do is to have country foods available mainly in the winter when harvesting activities are much slower.”
She said she often wishes for more funds to spread throughout the whole year, as it provides people with the much preferred and healthier country food.
Considering how expensive food is in the Northern communities, this program helps families make ends meet when otherwise not possible.
Country food is a staple in the diet of the Inuit, providing the ingredients for traditional meals.
Sharing your catch, however small, is a common practice among the Inuit of the North in keeping with their traditions and values.
About 100 to 150 families use this program yearly and the HTO always gets great comments from the harvesters and the community members who use this program. Jane Hinanik, an elder of the community, said she “is always very grateful for the program.”