Montreal, February 24, 2022 – Makivik has made the decision to cancel the 2022 edition of Ivakkak. The Ivakkak organizing team along with Makivik leadership have come to this decision after carefully considering many factors including the Pandemic outbreaks in some communities as well as an indication of many rabid foxes reported in the region. Additionally, community stop-overs could pose an issue in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak, there would be no way to guarantee adequate safe accommodations for both Ivakkak participants and ground support crew which was a real worry to the Corporation.
The 21st edition of Ivakkak was scheduled to begin in Kangiqsujuaq on March 21st and consisted of an approximately two-week journey to the community of Aupaluk with stops in Quaqtaq and Kangirsuk. In a typical year, Ivakkak sees about 40 individuals participating in the event, including mushers and support staff, travelling the proposed race route. As the race progresses, community stop-overs are required for resupply, rest and community activities.
During community stop-overs, mushers and staff require boarding, which often sees individuals temporarily staying at the homes of community members. Due to the current pandemic situation, and the real possibility of communities along the route having outbreaks of COVID infections, there is a chance that adequate accommodations for the teams will not be available. Given the number of participants, Makivik also decided the risk of transmitting the virus between communities was too high. Along with the potential health risks, these issues could result in unforeseen expenses that could not only drastically increase the overall cost of the event, but also cause extra hardship for the teams, staff, and community members. Because of COVID unknowns and obstacles, the event and this route will now be pushed to the winter of 2023.
“I’ve always been a big supporter of Ivakkak. The return of the Inuit Sled Dog and the preservation of Qimutsiit is an important file both now, and in my previous terms at Makivik. I intend to support the work that is needed for Ivakkak to run smoothly for all Nunavimmiut to enjoy. Making the decision to cancel the 2022 edition of Ivakkak wasn’t an easy call to make, but with the uncertain time we find ourselves in, and the unpredictability of the COVID-19 virus, we as the Executive committee unanimously felt that postponing the event for this year was the best way to protect the Qimmiit, the teams, Ivakkak staff, and our communities,” said Andy Moorhouse, Vice President of Economic Development. Makivik will work with the communities to ensure that mushers have local activities, which will be announced in the coming weeks.
Makivik and the Ivakkak coordinating staff will use this cancellation as an opportunity to hold a maintenance year to analyze the operation of the event and propose changes to improve the event in the future. Makivik looks forward to bringing Ivakkak back in 2023!
Director of Communications
Makivik is the land claims organization mandated to manage the heritage funds of the Inuit of Nunavik provided for under the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement. Makivik’s role includes the administration and investment of these funds and the promotion of economic growth by providing assistance for the creation of Inuit-operated businesses in Nunavik. Makivik promotes the preservation of Inuit culture and language as well as the health, welfare, relief of poverty, and education of Inuit in the communities.