Elijah Evaluarjuk and his family own and operate a hotel in Igloolik, a small community on a small island in the middle of the big, empty ocean expanse between Baffin Island and the Melville Peninsula.
Being a small place ensures that local happenings — a birth, a death, the arrival of a brand-new, 7.3-metre aluminum boat manufactured in Winnipeg and delivered to the Evaluarjuks’ beach by way of a 600-kilometre trip through the Northwest Passage — become momentous community affairs.
And so it was, about 15 years ago, when the shiny new aluminum boat showed up at the family’s hotel.
We thought it must be at the bottom of the ocean
“It was a really big deal,” Elijah Evaluarjuk says. “The boat was quite expensive for us. We had a canoe before that, with a motor on it. I had been going walrus and caribou hunting with my Dad for as long…
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