Cultural Centre in Canada’s Arctic Eyes Early 2024 Opening


Photo: Shaun Best / Reuters

Kuugalak, a new cultural centre in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, aims to preserve the Inuinnaqtun language and culture

Kuugalak, translating to little water, is set to open in the new year. The centre is for the Pitquhirnikkut Ilihautiniq/Kitikmeot Heritage Society to host cultural programming and activities for Inuinnaqtun.

The society's activities are aimed at Inuinnaqtun revitalisation, collaborations to preserve and renew Inuinnait culture, and community well-being. Officials hope the first cultural programme will be held in the new building as early as January 2024.

In 2019, the society partnered with the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) to develop plans for the cultural centre and set a net-zero emissions target for the building. Two years later, the design work began to bridge local and traditional Inuit knowledge with renewable and energy efficient materials. Construction started in 2022.

While officials are hopeful to host programming in January, there will still be ongoing construction to finish the outside portion, Emily Angulalik, the society's executive director, said.

A grand opening is expected later in 2024.

An artist's rendition shows the future Kuugalak cultural workspace in Cambridge Bay. (Submitted by the Pitquhirnikkut Ilihautiniq / Kitikmeot Heritage Society)

Once the building is complete, it will be used to test and monitor how renewable and sustainable building materials perform in Arctic conditions, the society said.

The project has received funding from the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency’s (CanNor) Canada Community Revitalization Fund, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., the Government of Nunavut, the federal government and Indigenous Clean Energy.

Elders with Pitquhirnikkut Ilihautiniq say they are looking forward to Kuugalak opening.

Pitquhirnikkut Ilihautiniq (also known as Kitikmeot Heritage Society) is an Inuit-led charitable organisation in the Kitikmeot Region of Nunavut, Canada. Its primary objective is to preserve and promote the cultural heritage and language of Inuinnait, a regional group of Inuit located in the Central Canadian Arctic.

Source: CBC News