Bernier exhibit begins Nunavut tour


A travelling exhibit detailing the Arctic explorations of Captain Joseph Elzear Bernier from 1904 to 1925 opened in Iqaluit last week.

The exhibit, part of a larger permanent collection at the Musée maritime du Québec, made its journey to Nunavut with the help of the Association des francophones du Nunavut.

Called “ilititaa… Bernier, his men and the Inuit,” the exhibition is a collection of diary excerpts and photographs laid out on long canvas banners.

Through interviews with elders from north Baffin Island, researchers have learned much about Bernier’s relationships with the Inuit, and have even found many of his descendents.

“Despite all the years passing, Inuit haven’t forgotten about the one they still fondly call Kapitaikallak. Captain Bernier is a legend among the people of North Baffin and across Nunavut,” an introduction to the exhibit reads.

During the opening at the Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum, elders circled the room, bending down to look closely at photos, and pointing at the people they recognized.

The exhibit is expected to travel Nunavut for about one year, stopping in Pond Inlet next, and eventually reaching Igloolik and Arctic Bay.

A banquet on Saturday in Iqaluit hosted by the Francophone Association is being billed as the meeting of two worlds: “Some of Captain Bernier’s descendants shall be among us to meet with their northern relatives, making stronger the ties between our cultures and people.”

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