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Arvia'juaq and Qikiqtaarjuk National Historic Site of Canada

Arviat, Sentry Island, Nunavut, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1995/07/06

General view of the Arvia'juaq and Qikiqtaarjuk sites demonstrating the continued use of these sites for cultural, spiritual and economic purposes by the Inuit.; Parks Canada / Parcs Canada, n.d.
General view
General view of an archeologist excavating the Qikiqtaarjuk site, 1996.; Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, 1996.
General view
General view of the Qikiqtarjuac site.; Parks Canada /Parcs Canada, n.d.
General view

Other Name(s)

Arvia'juaq and Qikiqtaarjuk National Historic Site of Canada
Arvia'juaq and Qikiqtaarjuk

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2004/04/30

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

This national historic site is comprised of two portions: Arvia'Juaq and Qikiqtaaruk. Arvia'Juaq is a traditional summer camp of the Paallirmiut Inuit. It is a 5-km long island with two sections joined by an isthmus, and is located 8 km from the Hamlet of Arviat on the western shore of Hudson Bay. Situated in an area rich in marine wildlife resources, the island contains many ritual and spiritual sites.

Qikiqtaarjuk is a point of land projecting into Hudson Bay from the mainland immediately opposite Arvia'Juaq. It was once a small island and is now joined to the mainland by a narrow strip of land. Rich in evidence of human habitation, it contains tent rings, food caches, kayak stands and graves from the summer occupancy of generations of Paallirmiut. A sacred site associated with the legend of Kiviuq is located at the end of the peninsula. The designation refers to all these elements of both sites.

Heritage Value

Arvia'Juaq and Qikiqtaarjuk was declared a national historic site in 1995 because
- Arvia'Juaq and Qikiqtaarjuk speak eloquently to the cultural, spiritual and economic life of the Inuit in the Arviat area, focusing on coastal activities.

The heritage value of Arvia'Juaq and Qikiqtaarjuk National Historic Site lies in the wholeness and completeness of this cultural landscape, in the continuity of human habitation that they witness, and in the rich cultural, spiritual and economic role they play in the lives of the Inuit of the Arviat area. Heritage value is embodied in the natural features and resources of the land, in all evidence of human habitation and patterns of Inuit occupancy, and in the ritual and spiritual properties of the many sacred sites.

For centuries the Inuit of the Arviat area have returned to Arvia'Juaq and Qikiqtaarjuk each summer to camp and harvest the abundant marine resources. These gatherings provided an opportunity to teach the young, celebrate life, and affirm and renew Inuit society. The oral histories, traditional knowledge and archaeological sites at Arvia'Juaq and Qikiqtaarjuk provide a cultural focus for future generations since they continue to be centres to celebrate, practise and rejuvenate Inuit culture. These sites have been designated on the recommendation of the people of Arviat.

Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minute, July 1995; Commemorative Integrity Statement, 1997

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements which contribute to the heritage value of this site include:
- continued use of these sites for cultural, spiritual and economic purposes by the Inuit;
- the health and well-being of marine wildlife resources in and around the areas;
- the wholeness and completeness of the cultural landscape, including the physical features of the natural landscape and evidence of people in, on and about the natural landscape;
- the continuing presence of natural and archaeological sites, particularly those which are remembered and revealed in oral tradition;
- the continuing presence and lack of disruption of archaeological sites, particularly those which witness centuries of occupation;
- the undisturbed presence of grave sites;
- continuation of the beliefs, observances, proscriptions and unexplained forces associated with traditional Inuit use of the land;
- continual currency and respect for elders' knowledge of historic events, legends and Inuit life-ways associated with these sites;
- the health and well-being of the tundra on Arvia'Juaq and Qikiqtaarjuk;
- uninterrupted viewscapes between Arvia'Juaq and Qikiqtaarjuk,
- viewscapes from both sites to the waters of Hudson Bay.




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land
Migration and Immigration

Function - Category and Type



Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Aboriginal Sacred Site

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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