The inauguration of the recently built (2018) CEN research station in Kangiqsualujjuaq took place September 5-6th 2018. The event was a great success, with more than 60 participants from the community, 5 members of CEN and 1 member of CIÉRA. The opening ceremony was officially launched with a prayer by Norman Snowball, followed by an opening speech by Hilda Snowball, Mayor of Kangiqsualujjuaq. Najat Bhiry, Director of the CEN, then spoke, followed by Ellen Avard, Director of the Nunavik Research Centre (Makivik Corporation), Michael Barrett, Assoc. Director of the Environment Dept. at KRG and Charlie Munick, Director of Kuururjuaq Provincial Park. All speakers underscored the importance of involving Northerners in scientific research to better understand the environment and observed changes. A magnificent flag of the Northern Village was signed by all the participants and hung in the station's meeting room. The participants then proposed names in Inuktitut for the new station, which was also built to become a platform for knowledge exchange of Inuit and academic knowledge. The chosen name, Sukuijarvik, means "Science Place". Ongoing research in the area covers work on permafrost and infrastructure, slope dynamics, water quality of lakes and rivers, Arctic char, and social and health sciences.
The festivities continued with various games bringing together people of different ages (children, adults, elders) and cultures (Inuit and non-Inuit). The day of September 5th ended with a local feast (suvalik, bannik, fish chowder (Arctic char)), grilled fish, and corn brought from the “South”, prepared by Mary Emudluk, Rita Annanack, Eleonora Townley and Emily Emudluk. The next day, a berry-picking contest prompted about fifty participants to search the area for little orange treasures called "arpik" (cloudberry). Upon their return to the station, the pickers had their harvest officially weighed. The winning harvests had to weigh as close as possible to 3.3 pounds, without exceeding (a weight proposed by the organizers). The winners in the women's category were: Sarah Pasha Annanack, Minnie Billy Morgan, and Maggie Etok Imak; and in the men's category: Bobby Unatweenuk, Jimmy Unatweenuk and Alec Morgan.
This project was mainly funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation and Université Laval.
Thank you to all those who participated in making this inauguration a success: Jeannie Annanack, Ellen Avard, Christine Barnard, Michael Barrett, Najat Bhiry, Nancy Etok, Richard Fortier, José Gérin-Lajoie, Charlie Munick, Élise Rioux-Paquette, Thierry Rodon, Eleonora Townley, Hilda Snowball.