Kugaaruk, Nunavut, incorporated as a hamlet in 1972, population 771 (2011c), 688 (2006c). The Hamlet of Kugaaruk is located in the northeastern Arctic on the coast within Pelly Bay. The hamlet and the bay originally shared the same name, in honour of Hudson's Bay Company governor Sir John Pelly. In 1999 the community became known as Kugaaruk, meaning "a little stream" in Inuktitut and the traditional name for the area. The seal-dependent way of life of the NETSILIK INUIT of the area was untouched by the whaling and trapping periods that affected other areas of the North. Although first European contact came in 1829, it was not until 1935 that a missionary came to reside here.
With the completion of an airstrip in 1968, the Canadian government, in its efforts to assert its sovereignty in the North, airlifted 37 prefabricated houses to Pelly Bay. These houses and the school and medical facilities attracted the Inuit to permanently establish here. In the late 1970s a small commercial arctic char fishery and fine ivory carving came to supplement the hunting-trapping economy of local residents. The 1992 passage into the bay by a Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker led to the delivery of fuel and supplies by ship rather than by aircraft, greatly decreasing the cost of these items.
See also ARCTIC SOVEREIGNTY.