Thursday, April 29, 2021


      I was scanning some slides today that reminded me of transportation or lack of it in the north. 

      As you know I spent two years in a very isolated northern settlement called Wakeham Bay  which is now known as Kangiqsujuaq. The population was approximately 200 people 

      At the time I was there from 1967 to 69 transportation was almost nil. The nearest road was more than 500 miles away. There was no airstrip and there was no dock for ships to unload.

      All freight was  brought in by ship. The Hudson Bay Co would charter a ship to bring in all their trading supplies. The ship would anchor in the bay about a mile off shore. Freight was loaded into small powered barges . These little barges could move up to the beach. Then all freight was taken off by hand. Most trading posts were built on the beach so their warehouse was not far from the beach where the freight was dropped, 

All people in the settlement pitched in to unload the supplies. You can see two women carrying a 100 lb bag of flour.

    Now this system was not as simple as it looks.

    The commerce was all trade. These trading posts used very little cash. It was all trade. 

     I think there was roughly $200.00 in cash in the community. It was used to play poker. 

    So If a hunter or trapper wanted to go out he would go to the store to get supplies . He may want gun shells, flour, baking powder, lard and tea. He would be given the supplies on credit. When he came back he would trade his skins and pay off his debt.

    The people knew what they were doing when the volunteered to unload the ship. They knew that this labor might make it easier at times to get credit.