Inuit have lived in the Kugaaruk area for thousands of years. Numerous archeological sites dot the landscape and add a sense of history to the area.
The unique environment makes Kugaaruk a challenging place for maritime transport. Often, many ships are unable to reach the bay. This is one of the few communities who rely on the Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers to bring in supplies. This unique environment allows you to experience sea ice almost throughout the year, giving you an amazing window on winter life and activities even during the summer.
The first Roman Catholic missionaries arrived in 1935 and a permanent mission was established in 1937. A stone chapel built in 1941 is being restored today by the community as an important historic site. Local Inuit continued to live a largely nomadic life until 1955 with the construction of a DEW Line radar site in the community. This brought the wage economy to the area, which led many Inuit to move into the community. Schools and a nursing station were constructed in the early 1960’s.
Today Kugaaruk continues to be largely tied to the traditional economy. Hunting and fishing remain important for providing food and clothing for local people. Within the past decade, there has also been a rise in mineral exploration, with numerous gold and diamond exploration camps located within a 150 km radius.