The Atlas is one of the outcomes of the project “The Northwest Passage and the construction of Inuit pan-Arctic identities” (funded by SSHRC—the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council), and co-directed by Claudio Aporta (Marine Affairs Program, Dalhousie University), Michael Bravo (Geography, University of Cambridge), and Fraser Taylor (Geomatics and Cartographic Research Centre, Carleton University). This project looks at Inuit occupancy of the Northwest Passage, through a study and documentation of Inuit traditional trails and place names, which have interconnected Inuit groups across the Arctic since time immemorial.
The Atlas provides a synoptic view (although certainly incomplete) of Inuit mobility and occupancy of Arctic waters, coasts and lands, including its icescapes, as documented in written historical records (maps of trails and place names).
The documents that form the foundation of this Atlas consist of both published and unpublished accounts of Inuit engagement with cartography during the 19th and 20th centuries. All documents are held in public libraries or archives. The focus of the Atlas in this initial project is on material from the Eastern and Central Canadian Arctic. It is hoped that the Atlas can be further developed in subsequent phases to present material of other Inuit groups such as the Inupiat, Inuvialuit, and peoples of Nunatsiavut (Labrador) and Nunavik.