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Rankin family looks to the land, each other, during Covid lockdown

It's all about heading out onto the land near Qamaniq for Noel Kaludjak and his inner circle of family members in Rankin Inlet, as they turn to fishing and hunting to escape the threat of Covid-19 each day and the boredom of the community lockdown currently in effect across the Kivalliq.

Kaludjak said he and members of his family head out on the land just about every day.

Young Sammy Bruce enjoys some fresh char while out on the land with family members near Rankin Inlet this past week.
photos courtesy of Noel Kaludjak

He said there's also quite a few other people from Rankin Inlet setting nets in that area.

“It's nice to be out on the land every day and away from the threat of Covid-19,” said Kaludjak.

“I bring my grandson, who is staying with us, along for the trips. He said he wants to isolate up there in our cabin now and not have to come back to town.

“We also look for caribou while we're out there – some guys I know have got some out there and some others have got a wolverine – and there's some muskox up there, so we might try for them. We'll see.

“We're thinking seriously about it because there's some on Peter Lake, so we might go check them out and see how they are.”

Kaludjak said it looks like there might be a record number of fishers out and about on the land near Rankin this year.

He said he's seen far more nets out there this year than he's ever noticed during past years.

“There's lots of nets out there right now and it's good to see people setting nets and catching a few char here and there.

“There's even more guys buying nets and setting them up in other lakes too.

“Fishing is on a high note right now and, I think, there's no doubt getting out of town and away from all the Covid stuff during the lockdown is the main reason behind a lot of that.

Kenny Saviakjuk chows down on some fresh char while out on the land with family members near Rankin Inlet this past week.

“Being out on the land is way better than being in town right now, but you gotta come back sometime.”

Kaludjak said he always felt it was only a matter of time before Covid-19 made its way into Nunavut.

He said the Government of Nunavut did a really good job keeping it at bay for a long time but, unfortunately, the virus managed to somehow sneak into the territory.

“We'll probably never know how, exactly, it made its way into Nunavut, but it's here now and we have to deal with it. We're lucky there's been no community transmission in Rankin yet that we know of.

“Our family has been doing lots of things together to keep our spirits up, like going out on the land and watching movies. I like cooking, so I've been doing a lot of that and making a few ulus here and there, while my wife has been continually sewing.

“And we go for rides and gather up the road once in a while. We don't take the kids out into the community at all, we just drive around to escape the house for a while. We, absolutely, don't let them out of the building without our supervision.

“We Facetime with family and make a mess and clean it up. Then we make another mess and clean that up. And we have a lot of music on the go, as well. We do what we can to stay safe and keep our spirits up, which is all anyone can do right now, I guess, as we try to get through this together.”