Avataq Cultural Institute
An avataq is a hunting float made traditionally of sealskin. The avataq is fitted with wooden plugs on its ends, and the holes in the skin may be plugged with ivory plugs called uaqtaq. An avataq keeps a hunter’s catch afloat. It serves as well as a marker for locating a submerged sea mammal harpooned by a hunter. Since its inception in 1989, the Avataq Cultural Institute provides a foundation for the living culture of today’s Inuit and it’s the cultural leader for Nunavik Inuit.
The institute is as an important resource for Inuit culture in Canada and beyond. Its goal is to ensure that Inuit culture and language continue to thrive into the future, so that the descendants can benefit from the rich heritage passed down to us through the wisdom of the ancestors.
The Institute recognizes the invaluable role of elders in Inuit society, thus the Avataq Cultural Institute spearheaded the first Nunavik Elders Conference, held in Kangirsuk in 1981. The Avataq Cultural Institute is home to three collections: the Nunavik archaeology collections, a documentary archive, and a Nunavik Inuit art and ethnography collection. Nunavik’s tangible and intangible heritage are thoroughly expressed and well represented.
The Archaeology Collection is mostly comprised of the results of fieldwork conducted annually by the Institute’s archaeologists. The collection allows making a precise portrait of the human presence in Nunavik from the arrival of the Palaeoeskimos some 4,000 years ago to the arrival of the Thule people, direct ancestors of the region’s Inuit. Through its documentary archives of textual, photographic and audio documents, the Institute traces the history of Nunavik’s Inuit.
Many photographs depict Nunavimmiut daily life and the radical changes within the community. Finally, the Nunavik Inuit Art Collection is a window on the Inuit cultural expression. Sculptures, artisan and graphical works bear witness to the creativity and interpretive power of the Nunavimmiut imagination.
To contact the Avataq Cultural Institute:
Westmount office 215 Redfern Ave, Suite 400 Westmount H3Z 3L5
Telephone: 514 989-9031 or free of charge: 1-800-361-5029
Inukjuak office: General Delivery Inukjuak, Quebec
Telephone: 819 254-8919, 819 254-8939, 1-866-897-2297
Website of the Avataq Cultural Institute: www.avataq.qc.ca