A visit to Rankin is sure to be unforgettable and you may see some things that you aren’t used to seeing. Many of these are just part of day-to-day life in a Northern community. Here are some of the things you may witness.
Large ships anchored off the coast of the community in Summer and Fall. Ships anchored off Johnston’s Cove are bringing in fuel to power the community. Ships anchored off Panorama Island are bringing in large items from Churchill or Montreal to a dock at Itivia. Unloading is fascinating, like a choreographed ballet of huge loaders and trucks, all hurrying to unload freight at high tide.
Located between the airport and the sea, the Forward Operating Location (FOL) was established by the Royal Canadian Air Force in support of the NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense) mission, and is one of four bases from which a fighter aircraft can be rapidly deployed should there be a defense need. This base consists of a row of hangers and storage space plus a dormitory, and all must be maintained so it can be used within 24 hrs. notice.
An adjacency of the traditional Inuit culture and cutting edge technology is apparent anywhere you go in Rankin Inlet. Polar bear, wolf, caribou and fox skins dry on porch railings of the walls of houses. Igloo-like porches of snowblocks protect the entrances of many elders’ houses. Children are still carried in the amautiks (hoods) of their mothers, and it is not unusual to see a carver working in the yard of a house. Yet, cell phone towers and satellite dishes attest to the importance of high-tech communications. Facebook and Twitter are a part of everyday life here, and throat-singing, gospel, and Inuit rap songs are equally a part of the local culture. Hunters travel on the land and sea guided by their knowledge and by the latest GPS units and SPOT emergency locators, yet often are seen wearing sealskin kamiik (boots) and polar bear pants.