Mar 17, 2010
|Chesterfield Inlet is the oldest settlement in the Kivalliq region of Nunavut. Although it was named after the 4th Earl of Chesterfield in 1749, the Inuktituk name is Igluligaarjiq, meaning "Place of a few houses". And few houses it has!
With only 267 residents, this community is small and quiet. The people are really really gentle and friendly though, and I've been enjoying my time here immensely.
The Hudson's Bay Company was established here by 1911, and by 1930 a "large" three-story hospital had been built in this little hamlet (hospital Santa Therese) that could be seen for miles in all directions. We live right beside this old hospital (see photo) and it looks like it belongs in a small Western cowboy town, not in Canada's arctic!
The Inuk people in those days lived on the land, migrating with the caribou and muskox and sea-life...hunting was their livelihood. They eventually started moving into clusters/ towns when there was a caribou famine and the mines opened in the 1960's...
Apparently there was a Surgeon who lived in Chesterfield and performed quite advanced Abdominal surgeries in the 1930's (Cesarians, tubal ligations, bowel repairs etc), and the hospital was staffed by the Grey Nuns (Nayait)...
Anyhoo, that's all for today's history lesson. I've been reading a book called "Consumption" that I stumbled upon in Baker Lake...to my surprise, it's written by a Doctor I worked with briefly in Rankin Inlet! It's a fascinating story, telling the story/ history of this area and the small communities surrounding, and some of the people mentioned in the book I have met. A good read!
Shaun and I have been working here in this 2-Nurse Station for the past month, and getting along surprisingly well (not that we don't normally get along, but we don't normally work together this closely...and it's just the two of us as Nurses anyways). The staff here are really knowledgable and supportive, and it's been a really great experience.
I'm heading back to Rankin Inlet on Friday, and Shaun will join me there on Monday. I'm sad at the thought of leaving this place...
We ate caribou for the first time last night, and omigooodness, it is SOOOOOOOO good! I think it may be the best red meat I've ever eaten...tender, flavourful, and just so yummy.
A local woman I've gotten to know a little brought a roast in for us to try, and since you don't "buy" meat that they have hunted (it's an unwritten rule most of the local hunters have here), we did a "trade" - I make her kids some ice-cream-cone-cupcakes...Shaun helped me ice/ decorate them, and they were as thrilled about the cupcakes as we were about the caribou! It was perfect.
On that note, Shaun just called me for dinner...
Until next time,
lizzy g signing off ;)