Patrick Charles Jolicoeur

Grant Type

Post PhD Research Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Toronto, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10075

Approve Date

April 8, 2021

Project Title

Jolicoeur, Patrick (Toronto, U. of) "Echoes of the Tuniit: Exploring Dorset-Inuit Interaction in Northern Nunatsiavut"

Inuit migration from Alaska to the Eastern Arctic (i.e. Canada and Greenland) around the 13th century AD is considered one of the most dramatic human population movements in North America. Around this same time, an existing Indigenous Arctic population, known as the Dorset culture by archaeologists, disappeared entirely. A major debate regarding these processes concerns the dynamics of Dorset-Inuit interaction. It is possible that the Dorset are the Tuniit of Inuit oral histories. While there is scant material evidence of exchange between the two peoples, there is evidence of chronological overlap in some regions of the Arctic. However, some regions, such as Nunatsiavut (Labrador Inuit lands), do not have sufficiently robust chronological data to understand if the Dorset became a part of Inuit social memory through direct face-to-face interaction or Inuit encountering long-abandoned Dorset archaeological remains. This project will address Dorset-Inuit interaction in Nunatsiavut by excavating two houses at Staffe Island 1, one of the earliest known Inuit sites in the region. By applying Bayesian modelling to refine the chronology at Staffe Island, this project will assess whether the two groups coexisted in the same region and debate how past human interactions can become part of long-lasting social memories.