Great Canadian Parks / Manitoba

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The Parks / Manitoba / Wapusk National Park


Artifacts found in the Churchill area, including tools and weapons of bone, rock and wood, tell a story of nomadic hunters camping along the shores of Hudson Bay almost 4,000 years ago. During the summer, the Pre-Dorset people would establish base camps from which to hunt caribou. In winter, they went out onto the sea ice to hunt ringed seal.


Around 600 BC, their descendants, the Dorset people, began to use the Churchill area. They differed from their ancestors in their use of tools, preferring harpoons to bows, and using kayaks to hunt seal, whale and walrus.


The Thule culture took over about 1000 AD and somehow eliminated the Dorset people. These are the ancestors of today's Inuit. They arrived from the north-west and brought with them distinctive styles of architecture and tool making. They used a particular type of boat called a ‘Umiak’.


Occupation patterns are determined by height above sea level, with the oldest sites of the Pre-Dorset cultures found on hilltops. These hills would have been islands when the Tyrell Sea still covered much of the land. Further down are the remains of Dorset houses, then Thule settlements.


The aboriginal inhabitants of the region today are Inuit, Dene and Cree, three nations who were trading together at this gathering place long before the white man discovered the riches of the New World.

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