Rankin Inlet in the Summer
Our summers are short, but can be hot at times. We're not too far from the Arctic Circle, so the days are long. In July, the sun sets about 11 pm and rises again by 2 am. The birds come back, the snow disappears by mid-June, and there are lots of flowers. The lakes and the sea thaw out, and we spend a lot of time out at cabins or in boats in summer. Favourite activities are fishing, hunting geese or caribou, collecting clams, and berrypicking in fall. And yes, kids here like to swim, too. We have a pool, and many people swim in lakes by their cabins.
We also have "cabin country", pretty much like in the South, but for different reasons. Our cabins enable us to feed our families. Cabins are located in traditional hunting, fishing, or berry picking areas. Some families have more than one cabin - one for hunting and one for fishing, each in different areas. These aren't made of logs because we don't have any - they are usually made of plywood sheets, insulated with pink fibreglas insulation.
Cabins are also used in winter. Most are heated by oil stoves as there's not much wood to cut here. Most winter use is associated with ice-fishing, catching fish through two metres of lake ice. Families go out to a cabin and make their ice fishing holes nearby.
In August, whole families go out berrypicking. Our people use just about all the berries that grow here. In the old days, most were eaten fresh but today many people make jam or freeze them for later use.
- Blueberries: small and tasty, growing on sand eskers.
- Lingonberries or mountain cranberries: red and tart in fall, also grow in sandy areas. They are great for baking if you freeze them first.
- Bearberries: two kinds, black and red. They are bland, but good when mixed with other berries.
- Crowberries: black and very small, but there are LOTS of them. They make good jelly if you strain out the seeds.
- Cloudberries (aqpik): like yellow raspberries, growing in wetlands. They have an unusual creamy flavour.
Here's a pdf gallery of Arctic flowers(52kb), with names in English, Inuktitut, Inuktitut syllabics, French, and the scientific name as well!