Torngat mountains. Parc national Kuururjuaq.Robert Fréchette, KRG
Inuit wildlife harvesting rights –The Québec Parks Act stipulates that “hunting and trapping of every kind is prohibited” in national parks, notwithstanding any provision of law. All national parks in southern Québec comply with this legal provision and visitorsto Nunavik’s national parks are subject to the same rules. However, Inuit wildlife harvesting rights are also formally guaranteed throughout Nunavik. In accordance with Section 24 of the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement and the Act respecting Hunting and Fishing Rights in the James Bay and New Québec Territories (R.S.Q., c. D-13.1), beneficiaries of these agreements are permitted to exercise their harvesting rights in the Parc national des Pingualuit and other park projects in the region.
Leaf River caribou herd – The Leaf River caribou herd is currently the largest herd of migratory caribou in the world. In 2001, the herd’s size was estimated at roughly 628,000 head. A portion of the calving grounds of the Leaf River caribou herd lies in the Parc national des Pingualuit. Tundra caribou have a very large annual migration range and their crisscrossing paths may be observed throughout Nunavik. Caribou are the main prey of grey wolves. These animals hunt in packs in order to conserve their energy and, most often, attack older or sick caribou, or calves.
Nunavik’s first national park – The first national park to be established in Nunavik was the Parc national des Pingualuit. It was created by the Québec government in December 2003 and was officially opened to visitors in November 2007. The idea to create a park in this area, which used to be known as the Nouveau-Québec Crater, was first put forward in the early the 1970’s by representatives of the nearby Inuit community of Kangiqsujuaq and the concept of the Parc national des Pingualuit was written into the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement. From idea to reality, it took close to 30 years of ground-breaking work on the part of Inuit, local and regional administrations and the Québec government to create the first national park in Nunavik.
Climate – The climate of the immense territory of Nunavik ranges from sub-arctic to arctic. The region’s proximity to polar air masses results in a low degree of humidity and scarce precipitation. Total annual precipitation in some areas of Nunavik can be as low as 200 mm. While the mean temperature of the coldest months of the year, January and February, is a chilling ‑28°C, average annual temperatures hover between -5 and -10°C. The region’s frost-free season is short and variable, averaging 80 days in the south and 20 days in the north. Summer is characterized by long hours of daylight and higher temperatures that nurture biological activity. Only the months of July and August are virtually snowfall free.
Inuit – Inuit is the contemporary term for Eskimo, referring to the traditional inhabitants of Canada’s north, including Nunavik. Inuit may also be described in a general manner as Aboriginals or First People, which is to say the indigenous inhabitants of Canada (Inuit, First Nations –formerly known as Indians–, and Métis) without regard to their origins or identities.Inuitare not First Nations, nor Indians, nor Innu. Innu are a First Nationsgroup living in northeastern Québec and southern Labrador. Finally, Indigenous Peoples is an all-encompassing term that includes the Aboriginal or First Peoples of Canada, and other countries like the Maori of New Zealand, the Aborigines of Australia, and so on.