Inaccessible by road, tucked away 1300 miles from the nearest metropolitan centre, Iqaluit, the capital city of Canada's newest territory, Nunavut, remains one of North America's final frontiers. The transition the local Inuit have made from a nomadic lifestyle to a modern urban lifestyle has been both recent and rapid. As a result many social constructs governing expected behavior are still radically different to what southerners would consider "normal". 

I spent two months with Evie Onalik and her three daughters Levi, Uqi and Akeeshoo documenting them as they face both the joys and struggles of contemporary Inuit life. 


The Tundra Valley subdivision in Iqaluit Nunavut is barely visible during a white out in early March.


Since becoming the capital of Nunavut in 1999, Iqaluit's population has exploded, bureaucratic jobs within the territorial government have been a major draw for both southerners as well as Inuit living in up island communities or out on the land.


Sisters; Geela, Evie and Leeveena sit together on the floor and carve up an arctic char caught by their brother. Some of the fish is eaten raw as a snack while they carve and the rest will be cooked and served for dinner.


Having grown up on the land, Evie sits quietly, daydreaming about a life that seems worlds away.


A strong and supportive mother, Evie often plays the role of headrest as her children snuggle up with her looking for comfort and acceptance.


With only a 4th grade education, Evie has risen to the role of Supervisor of Housecleaning at the local hospital. Her job requires her to patrol the hospital's halls to check up on her staff.


Evie works several jobs to help support her family, each weekend she cleans a local law office.


Using the tub, Evie and her sister Leeveena, wash and rinse the pelt of a polar bear their brother killed.


Evie and her sister Leveena talk outside their brother's house about a stabbing that occurred just across the street. The assault took place at the home of another of their kin and the two worry about who was involved.


Evie, her mother, and her youngest daughter, Akeeshoo, ride behind a skidoo on a qamutik (wooden sled) on their way to the family's campsite.


Uqi wanders down towards the sea-ice looking for a good spot to set up the family's tent.


When snow conditions are not good enough to build an Igloo Inuit use large canvas tents. Evie, her sister Leeveena, and their mother, take a break after setting up their tent.


Spanning four generations, Evie, Leeveena, their mother, Leeveena's grandson and her daughter and Evie's daughter Uqi all take a moment to rest and let their clothing dry.


Repeatedly sexually assaulted throughout her childhood, Levi has broken the vicious cycle of denial and continued abuse.


A wild child through most of her youth, Levi has maintained many of her old habits, like smoking.


Working her way down the long road to recovery, Levi relies heavily on her fiance Aqqalu for emotional support.


Currently jobless, Levi likes to keep herself busy cooking and baking for her fiancé and the rest of her family.


Levi and Aqqalu spend time together in the room, in the Onalik family home, that the couple share.


Determined to transform her experiences into a positive catalyst, Levi has involved herself in the effort to warn other girls of the dangers they may face and to help those already victimized know they are not alone.


Tight-knit and ever present, family is an important part of modern Inuit culture. Sisters, Levi and Uqi have helped and supported each other through tough times.


A social butterfly, Uqi and her friends hang out on a roof top and watch an uphill snowmobile race.


Uqi, dressed in an amauti, stands backstage with the rest of her school choir.


Prepping for a night out, Uqi ties her hair into braids in the mirror.


With limited venues for teens to hang out at, Uqi and two friends take to the streets wandering through.


Cigarettes are a valuable commodity for youth in Iqaluit. Uqi excitedly shows off her last cigarette to a visiting friend.


Uqi hangs out in her room.


Passed out on the living room couch, it can often take Uqi an entire day to recover from a long night.


Uqi re-pierces her ear as Akeeshoo peers over her shoulder.


Restless and pent up during the winter months, Akeeshoo has taken to doing handstands at the back door.


Akeeshoo and her cousin try to make the most of a blizzard day by monkeying around on the family's furniture.


Stuck inside without a proper fire, Akeeshoo and her cousin roast marshmallows over a candle.


Akeeshoo sulks in the corner of the family kitchen.


Akeeshoo pokes her head out of the family tent during a camping trip.


Akeeshoo, Uqi and their grandmother, bundle up and prepare to bed down. With the temperature outside their tent ranging between -20 and -35 Celsius, it is imperative that they are warmly dressed before going to bed.


Under a starry sky the Onalik family tent glows and illuminates the tundra around it.

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