On their way to gaining substantial control of their ancestral land, Nunavimmiut learned important lessons. The creation of Nunavut, itself a twenty-five year effort, was only the stepping stone to other initiatives.
In 2008, after years and years of negotiations, the Ninginganiq National Wildlife Area became a reality. Off the east coast of Baffin Island, south of Clyde River, this marine habitat is the late-summer home of 100 bowhead whales, the largest known concentration of the endangered Baffin Bay – Davis Strait population. The entire coastal area in this region is pristine at present, and supports intact populations of polar bears, ringed seals, Canada geese, snow geese, halibut, ringed seals and narwhal.
History moves fast in Canada’s Arctic, and what was gained through patience and persistence is often taken for granted a few years later. As a lesson for other indigenous communities, “Sanctuary” will look at how the victory of Ninginganiq was achieved, and how the people of Baffin east coast can best protect and use it for future generations.