Iqaluktuuq (Ekalluk River) is the Inuinnaqtun name for a short section of river that drains Tahiryuaq (Ferguson Lake) (see map facing). The group of Inuit families whose homeland was centred on Iqaluktuuq are called the Iqaluktuurmiut or “people of Iqaluktuuq”. This short river was very important to the Iqaluktuurmiut because of the rich runs of char that occur here annually in the spring and in the fall. It was also very important because the area formed a natural funnel for caribou migrating south between the enormous lake Tahiryuaq to the East and the ocean to the West. In good years the Iqaluktuuq area provided ample opportunity to accumulate enough fish, caribou and caribou skins to enable Iqaluktuurmiut to be well fed and clothed while hunting seals through the long winter season. Iqaluktuuq formed such a strategic location for subsistence life in the region, that there is archaeological evidence for the area being continuously occupied for four thousand years.
Frank Analok at Iqaluktuuq, 2000 (Kim Crockatt).
“A long time ago I remember living in Iqaluktuuq as a young boy. There were people here a long time ago as there are some old campsites…Right now the campsites are overgrown with grass and the rocks and paths are also covered. At these campsites people used to go spearing fish starting early in the morning as I remember it. They did not even have anything to drink or eat. They would go to the fishing spots while the fish were running in order to stock up for the winter by spearing fish. They did not have nets. They buried fish in the rocks and dried them also. While the men were fishing the women would bring them dried fish and fish heads to eat. They would fish until it got dark and then they would go home” (Frank Analok at Iqaluktuuq, July 5th, 2000).