Situated at the mouth of the renowned George River, Kangiqsualujjuaq, a community of over over 950 people, is the northernmost community with a forest environment.
In 1959, federal agents proposed a new way of doing things in order to create employment in outlying regions.
That is when the first Nunavik cooperative came into existence.
The cooperative was of forest workers whom it was believed at the time it could produce all of the timber necessary for construction in the region, a region which, with the exception of a few sparse pockets of vegetation, is completely devoid of all forest area so that all materials must be imported at great cost by boat from the south.
Even though the region enjoys a relatively mild climate for its latitude, the climactic conditions do not allow fast enough growth for the resource to renew itself. The distance of the communities and the difficulties of transportation in the region also made the distribution of finished products economically unfeasible at the time.
What might have appeared to be a failure nevertheless largely fulfilled its objective: the seeds of the cooperative had been sown and this was the beginning of major change.
It was on the basis of this first experience that a first store and camps for hunting and fishing tourism were built, while other members of the community went about producing works of art and handicrafts.
Due to the lack of soapstone in the area, Kangiqsualujjuaq sculptors mostly make carvings out of caribou antler, which are in abundance (the caribou shed them).
Popular subjects in this area are all kinds of arctic animals such as birds, seals, whales, otters and bears. Sculptors will either carve out small three-dimensional animals out of antler and use a larger antler piece as a base, or carve in bas-relief using the antler as their canvas.
Notable artists (past and present) include:
- Daniel Annanack (1967-)
- Tivi Etook (1928-)
- Peter Morgan (1951-2018)