Baker Lake mystery trunk opened


A locked wooden chest found near Baker Lake last summer has been opened to reveal the skeleton of a small child.

John Avaala was among a group of hunters that came across three unmarked graves and the metre-square chest while on a caribou hunt at the eastern end of Baker Lade. At the time, he joked that the chest contained a million dollars.

Instead of breaking open the rusty padlock, the hunters returned to the hamlet to tell the mayor about the find.

Archeologists opened the trunk on Wednesday, and estimate that the grave is 50 to 70 years old. The site where the trunk was found also contained stone caches and inuksuit, as well as artifacts such as barrel hoops, stovepipes, wood and metal. Archeologists photographed the site rather than disturb its contents.

Avaala participated in the excavation of the trunk along with local resident Darryl Simailak and Doug Stenton, the director of Culture and Heritage at Nunavut’s department of culture, language, elders and youth. The department will consult with the hamlet before doing more exploration.

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