Court Circuit to Pangnirtung (Pt.2)

Pang 2 - 1

In part one of this post about my recent court circuit to Pangnirtung, I opened with a photograph of the entrance to Auyuittuq Pass, which is part of the unique scenery visible from town. Here, you can see a slightly more distant shot of the pass which, by way of contrast, shows the same view in summertime. The building pictured in the foreground has the rather ‘totalitarian’ name ‘People’s Community Hall’ and is where Court is held…

Pangnirtung 2009 - 5

This is the hotel (the only hotel in town) that I have been staying at on a fairly regular basis for the last thirteen years. It is called the ‘Auyuittuq Lodge’ (after the nearby pass), and the name, ‘Auyuittuq’, means ‘the land that never melts’ in Inuktitut. ‘Pangnirtung’, by the way, is an Inuk word meaning a place where there are bull Caribou.

Pang 2 - 3

The rooms in the Lodge are not, it must be said, the best. None have en-suite bathrooms and all are a bit Spartan. In fairness, I should note that this photograph was taken nearly two years ago and the tiny little televisions have been replaced with much nicer flat-screen models now. Little else has changed in the time I have been staying there, however.

Pang 2 - 4

The common areas are, in contrast, quite nice and comfortable. It is not easy to tell from this picture, but the windows behind the couches have a lovely view over the fiord.

Pang 2 - 5

In the evenings, at suppertime, it is quite common to have women from the community stopping by to sell various crafts. The two ladies here are wearing the traditional article of apparel known as the ‘amauti’. Both, as you can see, are carrying babies.

Pang 2 - 6

One compensation for the less than palatial sleeping quarters at the hotel is the food. In many hotels in the Territory, meals can be pretty dismal but this is not so at the Lodge due to the efforts of ‘Chef Louis’ who not only cooks, but has been managing the hotel for the last six years or so.

Pang 2 - 7

Fresh bread and home-made soup are served both at lunch and supper. The soup is quite often a composite from part of the previous day’s meals but it is always good and filling.

Pang 2 - 8

In part one of this post, I mentioned that Pangnirtung boasts a modest Turbot and Halibut fishery during part of the year. Here you can see a sample of the Turbot catch which Louis cooked with almond-butter. I am not a huge fan of the fish but this was pretty tasty.

Pang 2 - 9

The two ladies you see here are Court Interpreters, Atsaina and Maaki, both enthusiastic smokers enjoying a quick puff on the hotel balcony. I was out there for almost ten minutes before I notice that Maaki was only wearing shorts and flip-flops without socks. Fortunately, it was only minus 20 or so outside.

Pang 2 - 10

During our whole week in Pangnirtung, there were some pretty decent displays of the aurora borealis (or ‘Northern Lights’). I tried to get some decent shots but all but this rather dismal one were useless. If you would like to see some really terrific pictures of the aurora, you can take a look at some taken by Sarah, a resident of the community, which are featured on her blog ‘Sarah on the Road’. Sarah actually went out onto the sea-ice to take her shots and thus wasn’t plagued by the artificial lights in town as I was (I went no more than 20 feet from the backdoor of the hotel). When I complimented Sarah on her superior pictures she very kindly offered to go on a shoot with me on my next visit. That will be in May and I hope that we get such lovely displays of the lights on the trip as well…

11 thoughts on “Court Circuit to Pangnirtung (Pt.2)”

  1. I can see that you turned your business trip into something more interesting…..a post! The most interesting part for me is to see ladies dressed in their local apparel , which tells me a bit about the socio- economic background of the ladies. If this is the only hotel there, there aren’t a lot of residents. How do they make money and earn their living? Did you interview them?

    1. No … I didn’t interview them, but then I have been visiting this community for thirteen years so I know many of the residents and am pretty familiar with the place. The population is just over a thousand or so and the hotel, municipal government, the two main stores and the fishery industry employ quite a few people. There are also territorial and federal government offices there as well. Many families live a fairly traditional life in that they hunt and fish for sustenance (many live in outpost camps for some of the year, not in town), but they receive income supplement from the government. Arts and crafts supplement the incomes of many. Soap-Stone carving is not quite as extensive here as it is elsewhere in the North but Pangnirtung is famed for it’s woolens (notably the traditional ‘Pang’ hat) and tapestries. Many fine print artists are there too… Local wildlife which supports the population includes, seal, char and caribou, but walrus, ptarmigan and other food is quite plentiful.

  2. Thanks for linking to my blog… glad you enjoyed your time in Pang. The hotel hasn’t really changed much in years! Next time you are in town, for sure let me know…

    WIth my northern lights photos…I didn’t go to the sea ice, but just behind my house (on the other side of the river…) so it was sheltered a bit more from town’s lights…but still have some from on the other side of the river!

    I can relate to the flipflops and shorts…often I go to my neighbours’ house across the street in a t-shirt and flip flops in those types of temperatures!! 🙂

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