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Portable cabin ready to go in Gjoa Haven

Many Nunavummiut enjoy their time away at a cabin but building the shelters at a remote site can take a lot of resources and coordination.

In Gjoa Haven, Allen Kaloon, his son Kenneth, George Hikoalok, Simienoi Jr. Samok, and Samson Jr. Kaloon combined efforts recently to put together an eight-by-twelve-foot cabin on plastic runners that can instead be towed to a chosen location.

George Hikoalok, with his back to the camera, Simeoni Jr. Samok, kneeling, and Allen Kaloon, seated at right, complete the framing of a cabin on runners – making it possible to tow – in Gjoa Haven. photo courtesy of Kenneth Kaloon

“My father has been building kamotiks all his life so I'm sure he had the idea of building (a cabin) on sleds made (with) plastic pipes,” Kenneth said. “Also, we have been cutting the plastic pipes for sled runners for many years. They come in pretty handy and last long. The sled (under) the cabin is very easy to push when it's on the sea ice, (it) can glide too.”

Working on the project intermittently, it took about three weeks to construct the cabin, said Kenneth. The lumber was purchased through the Co-op and the plastic pipe was salvaged from an old, unused water pipe in the community, he added.

It was the first cabin on runners they built and there has been a great deal of interest in it, according to Kenneth.

The completed Gjoa Haven cabin on runners measures 12 feet in length by eight feet wide. photo courtesy of Kenneth Kaloon