Country food plays an important role in Inuit culture. Some examples of country food are ptarmigan, maktaaq (whale skin and blubber sometimes served today with soya sauce or marmite), caribou, bird eggs, seal, arctic char, and berries.

Country food is often high in protein and healthy fats which were crucial for survival in the arctic. In 2020, global warming, changes in animal migration, and issues concerning sustainability impact access to country food.

Nunavik communities often have hunter support stores now with freezers to store country food for inhabitants. Sometimes communities with lots of access to country food are able to send country food by plane to other communities that have less access. This food is sometimes distributed through the hunter’s support stores. Sharing food is a common practice and a sign of respect. Community feasts are still common in Nunavik in 2020. Individuals who are able to contribute dishes, do so and all members of the community are welcome to participate in the feast.  It is a popular practice to have an opening prayer at the community feasts to give thanks to the land and animals.

In 2020, community greenhouses are becoming more popular in Nunavik. Interested community members can apply for a plot in the greenhouses and grow fresh food for themselves and their families. There is also a hydroponic growing container in Kuujjuaq. Local greens can now be purchased at the local store in Kuujjuaq. This initiative helps reduce food costs and promotes the local economy.

Author:  Text by LEARN Social Sciences, based on The Canadian Encyclopedia, Makivik Corporation, and Nation Magazine.

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