Fundraisers are hoping to establish a new arts centre to greet those coming to Tuktoyaktuk.

‘Saliqmiut – Tuktuuyaqtuuq Centre for Arts and Culture’ will help preserve Inuvialuit culture and tradition for years to come — if the community can fundraise $20 million to cover the costs.

“Saliqmiut is the cornerstone in building and recognizing the great contributions of Inuvialuit to our great land of historic wealth,” said heritage centre member Nellie Cournoyea. “This has been a long time in coming and will surely build upon the heart of the Inuvialuit community.”

Saliqmiut is Inuvialuktun for ‘people along the coast, at the edge’ and was the traditional name for the people who live in the area around Tuktoyaktuk, though the centre promises to showcase the broader Inuvialuit Culture of the Western Arctic.

With the aim of preserving Northern culture and arts, the centre would be used to host workshops on traditional Inuvialuit arts, knowledge and skills, ranging from Drum Dancing to Arctic Games. It will also serve as a archive and museum of historical Tuktoyaktuk.

On top of this, the space will also serve as a theatre for performances of traditional and contemporary arts. To help with the centres operational costs, office space and hostel-style guest rooms will be available to rent over the winter months. The centre will effectively be a performance pavilion in the summer months and a hub for artists over the Arctic winters, with a particular focus on connecting youth with Elders to help encourage youth to express themselves through the arts. A second goal of attracting artists from around the world to come to Tuktoyaktuk to create would also help bolster the community’s artistic wealth.

With support from CanNor, Parks Canada, the GNWT and Tuktoyaktuk Community Corporation the project is now trying to source the $20 million needed for the building to begin construction in 2024. However, they’re still accepting private donations which can be arranged on the Saliqmiut website.

“CanNor provided support for the marketing strategy for the centre, the wages for capacity to lead the project into the capital fundraising campaign and set up the corporate structure to become a charitable society,” said hertitage centre spokesperson Annie Steen. “Parks Canada provided funding to help develop the mini-docs that you can see on our website. There will be 7 mini-docs that will be posted over the course of the next little while. The GNWT provided support through the department of ITI for my secondment to the Tuktoyaktuk Community Corporation and through the Department of Lands who have offered us the lots to build the centre on.”

Tuktoyaktuk Mayor Erwin Elias voiced his support for the project.

“I think that it’s important that we have this critical piece of infrastructure to help our community develop, as it will bring economic benefits and employment for our local businesses and artists,” he said. “It will also help us develop our tourism in a manner that is respectful and true to the Inuvialuit culture.”

Designed by Taylor Architecture Group, the form and shape of the building was based on traditional buildings. The great hall will be based on the look and feel of an Igluryuaq, the historical sod homestead of the area.

Visit for further information or to get involved in the project.

Eric Bowling

Your source for all things happening in the Beaufort Delta. Eric jumped at the chance to write for the Inuvik Drum after cutting his teeth in Alberta. He enjoys long walks, loud music and strong coffee....

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