Graburn, N.H.H. (1963) Lake Harbour, Baffin Island, NCRC-63-2, Ottawa: Northern Co-ordination and Research Centre, Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources.

Keywords: Iqaluit (Frobisher Bay)Lake HarbourNorthern Co-ordination and Research Centreresettlementtents

During the summer of 1960, Graburn was employed by the DNANR to evaluate the economic and social conditions of the Baffin Island “settlement” of Lake Harbour. Regional population had fallen significantly as Inuit migrated to Frobisher Bay (Iqaluit) and the department was considering withdrawing services. At the time of Graburn’s visit, there were approximately 18 families (110 Inuit) living in 4 camps; just three families who were employed in the settlement resided there.

Only the three settlement families occupied permanent shelters. These houses were “frame and plank insulated construction, with electricity and two or more rooms” (p. 7). The remaining families occupied “large and adequate” canvas tents from May to October, and lived frame houses with canvas double walls, moss insulation and banked with snow during the remainder of the year. Graburn describes housing in Lake Harbour as “almost certainly better than that at Ikaluit (Frobisher Bay) in all respects” (p. 7).

Nuclear families comprised most households, though many also included an older or single adult relative. Older children generally had “separate beds or sleeping platforms, emphasizing their growing independence of their parents” (p. 15). Graburn notes that along with population reduction over the previous 50 years, household size had also fallen. This he attributes to a greater absolute and relative availability of construction wood (local driftwood and commercial) allowing households to split into nuclear family groups (p. 17).