||Trip 1: May 27 to 29, 2005 Trip 2: July 6 & 7, 2006
1. The 'Flats'
2. Port of Churchill
3. Fort Churchill Monument
The destination of this trip north was Arviat but instead, due to poor weather we overflew Arviat and stayed in Rankin Inlet for a few days. Then attempting the same feat from the opposite direction our plane passed Arviat and arrived in Churchill at 7:40pm.
Brian Berry, Calm Air pilot, came in on the Hawker shortly after us. I stayed with him and Doug (co-pilot) in the house Calm Air uses in Churchill. Doug took me on a quick tour of Churchill that night. We couldn't hang out too late because the guys were flying charter to Pond Inlet next morning.
The day began very sunny so decided to see as much of Churchill as I could by walking. I trekked to the Port of Churchill which is a huge facility. A short distance away is an area known as the, 'Flats.' Jenny Tootoo played there as a little girl. Robert McDonald, a long time resident of the 'Flats,' said it has 3 permanent families and during the summer other people live in the cabins.
I made it to the CN Rail station just as a Via train was pulling out. I hope to make that trip up to Churchill one day, on the 'Muskeg Express.'
Photographed Henry Isluanik on my way back. Henry is a very friendly fellow who was born in 1925 west of Whale Cove on the land. He learned English in a hospital while being treated for tuberculosis.
5:00pm took taxi to airport and was informed the flight to Arviat was unlikely. I could fly north but decided to remain in Churchill. Decided therefore to walk from airport to town, a foolish endeavor. Polar bears do frequent the area, one having been sighted on the landing strip the previous week. After 20 minutes on the highway, feeling increasingly uncomfortable, I was picked up by a couple (plus 4 kids) heading back to their hotel.
Another sunny day. Unfortunately on Sunday many of the tourist sights like the CN Station and Eskimo Museum are closed.
12:30pm took the taxi to airport and discovered from the driver many Sayisi Dene from Tadoule Lake visit Churchill. I shouldn't have been surprised considering the history of the Dene and Churchill from the 50's to the 70's, a terrible history indeed! Next trip to the community I hoped to visit Camp 10 and Dene village to see for myself the final destination of that relocation that went horribly wrong.
Churchill July 6 & 7, 2006
4. Churchill's beautiful landscape
5. View of Prince of Wales Fort from Cape Merry Battery
6. Roxanne standing guard
Churchill was the last leg of my trip to Whale Cove and Baker Lake. I was met by Roxanne Chan at the airport. Roxanne has lived in Churchill for many years and proved to be a superb tour guide.
First, however, was to view the possible venues for the Portraits of the North Exhibit that the Manitoba Museum and I were hoping to have in Churchill this fall. Two looked promising so we left it at that.
We picked up a Dene lady named Nancy then drove to the outskirts of Churchill. Visited the Cape Merry Battery which overlooks the entrance of the Churchill River into the Hudson Bay. From this stunning view one can see the Prince of Wales Fort in the distance.
We drove to Dene Village. At the entrance, standing in mute testimony of what befell the Sayisi Dene between 1956 and 1973 is a stone monument. The plaque serves as a resounding indictment of the Canadian Government's decision to relocate these people from their land. I had met and drawn several elders of the Tadoule Lake band and now felt closer to their story.
10:00pm Visited Cyril Fredlund and his wife, Dora. He was born at Padlei, speaks Inuktitut, and has a great many stories to tell. Had a very good time.
Had been up too late the previous night so had no time for a morning walk. I packed and Roxanne drove me to the airport. It had been a short but superb visit to a truly beautiful community in Manitoba. Churchill is listed as one of the 100 sites to see in the world but I am suggesting it should not just be for the polar bears.
Thanks to Calm Air for the trip.