Over the centuries that Inuvialuit have lived and travelled throughout their land, they have given names to camping places, settlements and landmarks. The names may reflect the kinds of activities that were carried out at those places, the kinds of resources the area is known for, or events that occurred there. Place names help to shape and define the cultural landscape, and are an enduring record of Inuvialuit history and heritage. Knowing place names and their meanings, the resources or landmarks at those locations, and the sequence of those place names as people journeyed along travel routes was one way that Inuvialuit learned to read the land without a writing system or printed maps.
Some of the Inuvialuit place names in the Anderson River region may extend back in time to the period before the drastic decline in population due to the onslaught of foreign diseases that swept through the Anderson River region and brought about the closure of the Fort Anderson trading post in 1866. Other place names may have originated in a period of renewed interest in the area in the early 1900s, when a burgeoning fur trade economy and the presence of trading posts at Baillie Island and at Stanton (Qikuliurvik) resulted in increased use of the Anderson River for. Whatever their origins, the place names are important aspects of the history of Inuvialuit in the Anderson River region.
The Anderson River Place Names Google Earth map shows the locations of Inuvialuit place names in the Anderson River region, their meanings, and photographs of some of those places. Following is more information about the featured names, which has been excerpted from NUNA ALIANNAITTUQ – BEAUTIFUL LAND. Learning about Traditional Place Names and the Land from Tuktoyaktuk Elders, which was published by the Inuvialuit Cultural Resource Centre and the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, 2011.
Manniliqpik: Manniliqpik, or place with eggs, is part of some flat, muddy islands at the mouth of the Anderson River delta where thousands of birds gather each spring to nest. This was an important place for collecting eggs and snaring geese.
Where the geese have eggs, they put snares over the [nests] because they didn't have [gun] shells in those days… [They made snares] with strings. We did the same thing with ptarmigan because we had no shells. - Edgar Kotokak
Nunangiatchiaq or Nunangiagaaluk: Nunangiatchiaq, or Nunangiagaaluk is an area at the south end of Fox Den Island. The name means something like where you hit or touch the ground. David Nasogaluak said that the water is so shallow there that people hit the bottom with their picks when they made a hole to ice fish for coneys.
Qiku or Qikurvik: Qiku, meaning clay, or Qikurvik meaning place with clay, is on the east bank at the mouth of the Anderson River. Ralph Kimiksana described the clay:
*That [place] at the mouth is called Qiku. The mud isn’t brown but grayish...That's the kind [for making clay, and] that's why it's called Qiku. That's [what they used to make] lamps with at the place called Qikuliurvik (Stanton). *
Kinngaq: Kinngaq means high, and is the name of the first high banks that people come to when going up the east side of the Anderson River. They can be seen from a long way off.
Puvirnituq: Puvirnituq means something decomposing and refers to a skirmish between an Inuvialuit angatkuq (shaman) and Dene at this place. Edgar Kotokak talked about what took place there.
My dad used to tell this story. There was a man and his wife, and he was ice fishing. He had a house there. The Indians went to him and they were trying to shoot at him [using bows and arrows], but they didn't hit him. He would take their arrows [and] shoot [them] back at the Indians. He kept shooting. He let two of the Indians go so they could tell their people that he killed the others.
So when the [Indians] froze, he stood them up...When spring came, they really stank!...That's why they call that place Puvirnituq. My dad always told that story.
He [stood those Indians up because he] wanted to be proud. Those Indians kept shooting at him but they couldn’t hit him because he was an angatkuq (shaman).
Kangiq: Kangiq means bottom of the bay or source of a river and is located on a sharp bend in the Anderson River. The exact reason for the name was not determined.
Qaryuksaqsiurvik: Qaryuksaqsiurvik means a place to look for arrows.
There is an island behind Kangiq…It has straight uligiiliq (birch), and that's where they got [wood] for harpoon shafts (nauligak) and arrows (qaryuq) long ago. - Edgar Kotokak
Aniyaaq: Aniyaaq means to go out. This creek was at the start or end of a route to Kuugyuasiaq (Mason River).
Qutchiktuq: Qutchiktuq, which means something like high land or highest place, is the beginning of the high land that runs along the east side of the Anderson River. It was a place for spring goose hunting and was also used as a lookout for game.
Right near the mouth of Anderson River there’s a hunting place. [Hunters] didn't have to wait long because many geese are there...They got enough pretty quick and they went back…It’s name is Qutchiktuq…It is the highest place. You could look all around, even for animals. That's why they called it that. -Ralph Kimiksana
Tupiryuat: Tupiryuat means many big tents (tupiq is singular for tent). It is a line of bluffs that can be seen from the Anderson River although they are about 1.5 km inland at the far edge of a plain. The face of the bluffs is cut through by gulleys and reminds people of big tents.
Tupiryuaq: Tupiryuaq, which means big tent, is a place close to Husky Bend where a section of the river bank looks like a big tent.
Qauryuaq: Qauryuaq is a section of the riverbank that David Nasogaluak said reminded people of a big forehead (qauq).
Ivitaaqqut: Edgar Kotokak told us about Ivitaaqqut, a place near a creek mouth on Husky Bend whose name means red rock.
Long ago they used to hunt wolverines at Anderson River near Husky Bend. The whole bank has ivitaaqqut (red rocks) to colour skins. They are called ivitaaq. [The red rock] is kind of soft. It’s just like soap. After you tan the wolverine, you rub [the rock] on it and it gets red. You rub it on the skins and that's what they call ivitaaq. - Edgar Kotokak
Airaqsiurvik: Airaqsiurvik is a place to look for airaq (roots). It is located at the creek by Ivitaaqqut.
Mulli: Mulli is the traditional name for Husky Bend, which is shaped like a nipple.
Tulugarnat: Tulugarnat means something looks like ravens. Not all of the elders interviewed were certain of the location or the meaning of the name. David Nasogaluak said it is the hills across from Silaotsiak’s cabin that have black rocks.221 When interviewed decades ago, Felix Nuyaviak said that it was named for rocks.
The rocks are shiny and black like the tulugaq (raven). So Tulugarnaq means like a raven. - Felix Nuyaviak
Arviyuyaq: Ralph Kimiksana told us about two hills that form a landmark called Arviyuyaq because they resemble the head and hump of a bowhead whale. *...You know arviq (bowhead whale)? It’s called Arviyuyaq...When you see that land, it really looks like a bowhead whale. *
Puuksimaniq: Puuksimaniq is a name that only a few elders had heard of. Some thought that the name meant something like stumble or faint. Ralph Kimiksana said that long ago some people were skinning caribou, and a big south wind brought in a bad smell like the sulphur smell at the Smoking Hills. This caused the people to pass out, but they eventually revived. David Nasogaluak said that it is an old story that took place when the land at Puuksimaniq was burning, as at the Smoking Hills, and the sulphur smell was very strong.
Anuqłiqtuuq: Anuqłiqtuuq is on a bend in the river that is known in English as Windy Bend. The Inuvialuktun name translates as place where one finds it is windy.