Kibokok and Aillik – The Story of Two Hudson Bay Posts

Expressing Identity


Mark Turner


The origins of the Nunatsiavut community of Postville are deeply connected with the Hudson Bay Company which established two important trading posts in Kaipokok Bay in the nineteenth century. Summer trading with the Inuit was centred around the island of Aillik near the mouth of the bay. During the fall, winter and spring trappers and hunters brought came to the “Post” deep in the bay to trade with the HBC’s station at Kibokok. The most comprehensive written records of early settlement, economy and customs for the region of Kaipokok Bay is therefore contained in the HBC journals for these two posts. Mining these records for the information they contain about the early inhabitants of Kaipokok Bay and those who hunted, trapped, fished and traded in the regions has been made much easier by HBC Archive’s decision to digitize the post journals, account books, correspondence and miscellaneous documents for HBC’s posts at Kibokok and Aillik.

The availability of these records is timely as it coincides with an initiative being undertaken by the Postville Inuit Community Government as per its 2014 Tourism Heritage Plan to create an interpretation centre and craft shop. The interpretation centre, which is being conceived to tell the story of Postville for residents and visitors, will be able to present a detailed account of the commerce, customs and movements of people within Kaipokok Bay through the rich documentation maintained by the Hudson Bay Company. The hand-written journals, ledgers and account books are being transcribed and annotated. Once this task is complete they will be made available via the Nunatsiavut Cultural Media network for use by community historians and academics alike. Conceived as a pilot project on the management and interpretation of HBC records, what is learned from the decoding the stories of Kibokok and Aillik will form the basis for further exploration of HBC records for communities like Rigolet and Davis Inlet, as well as the northern HBC posts at Saglek, Nachvak and Killinek.

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