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Inuit Heritage Trust

When the community of Taloyoak was concerned about damage and looting of archaeological sites in and around their community they called Inuit Heritage Trust. The Inuit Heritage Trust is an organization established by and for Inuit of Nunavut. IHT is committed to the preservation, enrichment, and protection of Inuit Culture heritage and identity.

This section introduces Inuit Heritage Trust (IHT) and the work they do and what to do if you find an archaeological site or artifact.

Consulting with Communities

A Board of Trustees controls the IHT. Three members are nominated by the Regional Inuit Association, and Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated appoints one other for a total of four trustees. The Trust is involved in developing policies and legislation that will protect Nunavut's cultural heritage.

One of its most important on-going roles is to review archaeology research permit applications. It also reviews proposed changes to geographic place names in Nunavut. In all its work, IHT consults with Communities and governments.

Public Awareness

A website for Inuit Heritage Trust (http://www.ihti.ca) was launched in October 2003. Visit this site for news or projects and events.

As part of its responsibilities to protect the archaeological heritage of Nunavut, Inuit Heritage trust carries out public awareness campaigns. These let people know the importance of preserving and protecting archaeological sites.

Place Names Project

The Place Names Program is administered by IHT. It is a system whereby locations in Nunavut are recorded with their Inuktitut place names. The IHT collects the place names and puts then on digitized maps, which are then submitted to the Nunavut Government. The government can then adopt the names and make them official. This is an effort to give priority to Inuktitut place names that have been ignored since non-Inuit Arctic explorers gave English names to places.

Many communities have had Place Names Project over the years and many are still actively recording the names. The Place Names Workshops that Inuit Heritage Trust have participated in during the past couple of years were held in Taloyoak (2002), Pont Inlet (2002) and Pangnirtung (2003).

Respecting Sites Artifact

It is very important for the people of Nunavut that archaeological sites are respected and protected. There are two main reasons for this. One is the role they play in Inuit values and beliefs. These ancient sites represent the footsteps of the ancestors, and must be honored. The other is to safeguard the knowledge that can be learned from these sites.
For these reasons no one is allowed to disturb a site or move an artifact without permission.

Nunavummiut owns nunavut artifacts collectively, but the Government of Nunavut is responsible to ensure they are taken care of for many future generations.
Archaeologist are professionals specially trained to understand what artifacts and archaeological sites can tell us. They know the scientific ways to look at, study and excavate archaeological sites and artifacts so they information is saved and not lost.

Respecting Sites ~ What do you do?

If you find an artifact, leave it in its place. There are laws in Nunavut that prohibit people from touching, disturbing or removing artifacts from where they are found. These laws are made so that these items can be protected and cared for properly so they don't get destroyed. They are important in teaching us about our ancestors and the other people who have lived in Nunavut over the past 4,000 years

If you come across an artifact or archaeological site, please contact Inuit Heritage Trust or the Government of Nunavut, Department of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth.

Contact Information

Governtment of Nunavut,
Department of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth
Julie Ross or Doug Stenton
Toll Free: 1-866-934-2035
Fax: 867-975-5504
E-mail: cley@gov.nu.ca
Box 1000, Stn, 800
Igaluit, Nunavut

Mission Statement

Inuit Heritage Trust ~ Who Protects the Past?

The ancient people of the Arctic left a rich cultural heritage over thousands of years. More then 6500 archaeological sites have been documented in Nunavut. Each one is a record of the ancestors of the Inuit, and contains important clues to understanding the past. Together they are a part of the heritage of all Inuit.

To preserve this valuable cultural heritage, the Inuit Heritage Trust was created in 1994 as part of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement. From its headquarters in Iqaluit, the Inuit Heritage Trust provides leadership and direction in the management and protection of Nunavut's cultural resources, including its archeological resources.


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