History People Land Wildlife Community Activities Tour Grise Fiord: our welcome to the top of the world

The story of Grise Fiord begins with the first great migratory movements of our ancestors from northeast Asia across the Bering Strait. These prehistoric hunters gradually spread eastward about 4,500 years ago, driven by the search for new game. Some reached eastern Ellesmere Island where they discovered the polynya, or areas of open water, and they settled here, laying the stone foundations for tents used the summer hunting season. You can still see traces of these ancient camping sites, but don't disturb them, please.

Then, about 1,000 years ago, the climate warmed, and a second wave of people from the Thule culture people moved rapidly east, traveling in large skin boats and living on whales and other sea mammals. By 1,000 AD, they reached Ellesmere Island.

In historic times, no Inuit lived in Grise Fiord, although Inuit passed through in the mid-1800s as part of another great migration, this time from northern Baffin Island to Greenland, which led by Qillaq (later called Qitdlarssuaq).

In 1922, the RCMP established a post at Craig Harbour, 55 kilometres west of Grise Fiord. In 1953 the federal government resettled eight Inuit families from Inukjuak, formerly known as Port Harrison, in northern Quebec, and from Pond Inlet to Lindstrom Peninsula, not far from today's community, to reinforce Canada's claim to the High Arctic. This relocation remains a highly controversial one. In 1956, the RCMP post moved from Craig Harbour to Grise Fiord. When a school and houses were built here in the early 1960s, families also moved to today's community.

When you visit us, you can still visit the remnants of the "old camp" where the first settlers lived. You can tour the present-day community of Grise Fiord by pressing on the "tour" icon of this site.


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