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Nunavut Quest concludes with a weeklong community party

Nunavut Quest, a roughly 400-kilometer dogsled race, is bringing back a once-threatened tradition in the territory. In the 2024 event, Nanuraq Uttak became the first Nunavut Quest musher to win it all as he clocked the fastest overall time of 33 hours, 58 minutes, and 38 seconds over 6 days of racing from Arctic Bay to Pond Inlet. Uttak, an experienced butcher from Igloolik who started dog sledding just two years ago, clinched the race’s top prize of $20,000. In total, $54,500 in prize money was distributed among the six fastest finishers.

The week-long race concluded with a ceremony joined by various communities who sang and danced together while discussing the history and culture of the region. Qikiqtani Inuit Association supports Nunavut Quest through an annual $100,000 allocation. The Qimmiit Revitalization program was launched by QIA in 2020 with the aim of promoting the Inuit tradition of using dog sled teams for travel and hunting.

The weeklong celebration of Nunavut Quest started on April 23 and the closing ceremony brought together representatives from the Quest committee, Hamlet of Pond Inlet, and Qikiqtani Inuit Association. The celebrations kicked off with a welcome feast, games, and contests including the highly anticipated hukki, otherwise known as the square dance, along with the Miss Nunavut Quest beauty pageant.

This year’s Miss Nunavut Quest title had thirty-one participants and Erin Enook from Pond Inlet won first place with a cash prize of $3,000. Horizon Willie from Arctic Bay came in second place and received a cash prize of $2,000, while Cheryl Tilley from Arctic Bay secured the third position and won a cash prize of $1,000.

April 24 hukki competition winners were:

  • 1st place, $1,600 each – Hailey Amarualik (Pond Inlet) and Michel Oolateeta (Pond Inlet)
  • 2nd place, $750 each – Grace Simonee (Pond Inlet) and Pauloosie Iqqaqsaq (Arctic Bay)
  • 3rd place, $650 each – Jillian Kyak (Pond Inlet) and Robert Aglak (Pond Inlet)

April 25 hukki competition for out-of-towners winners were:

  • 1st place, $1,600 each – Marie Naqitarvik (Arctic Bay) and Tristan Sangoya (Clyde River)
  • 2nd place, $750 – Angela White (Newfoundland and Labrador) and Andy Hainnu (Clyde River)
  • 3rd place, $650 – April Taqtu (Newfoundland and Labrador) and Michael Apak Irngaut (Igloolik)

This year’s finish line of Pond Inlet will be the starting point for next year’s race, the 2025 Nunavut Quest that will culminate at Igloolik.