The Arctic Char Inn

Visitors to Holman stay at the Arctic Char Inn, built in 1979. Photo: Bernadette Driscoll Engelstad, 1981.

Ikey Bolt

Ikey Bolt (centre, in suit) took over his father-in-law’s (Christian Klengenberg, a Danish trader) trading post at Rymer Point and operated it until its closure in 1937. Albert Palvik (second from right) and other hunter/trappers preferred to trade with Bolt. Richard S. Finnie, National Archives of Canada (PA-100752).

Agnes Nigiyok making tea

Agnes Nigiyok making tea, 1987. Photo: John Paskievich. Courtesy Inuit Art Centre, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (HI-25A87-6).

Margaret Kanayuk in the Holman Craft Shop

Margaret Kanayuk in the Holman Craft Shop. Artisans produce crafts such as slippers, dolls, bags, parkas and tablecloths for sale to southern markets. Photo: Darlene Coward Wight, 2000.


The current economy of Holman derives from a limited number of sources, with the arts and crafts industry being key. Government agencies such as the Hamlet office, Helen Kalvak School and the Health Centre provide much of the full-time employment. Tourism is a small but growing industry. Holman has created the world’s northernmost golf course and the annual Billy Joss Invitational Golf Tournament attracts celebrities and professional golfers from all over Canada. Sport-hunting provides employment for guides and experienced hunters as does a small amount of trapping.



Like many Arctic communities, the inception and later demise of trapping has had a major impact on the economy of the Holman area. Prior to contact with explorers and traders from other parts of the world, the Inuit lived a life of subsistence hunting. This changed with the introduction of trapping of Arctic fox as an economic venture around the 1930s. Inuit hunters began trading furs for goods such as tea, sugar, tobacco and flour, and trapping provided a significant portion of income for many families until recently. However, income from trapping has dramatically declined. The price of white fox fur plummeted after WWII, and since the 1970s the market for furs and skins has greatly decreased due to pressure from anti-fur lobby groups.


A growing population in Holman and the demise of trapping as a source of income were key factors in the development of the arts and crafts industry. In addition to drawing, printmaking and sculpture, the production of crafts provides an income for Holman artists. Please see Art-Making for a more detailed discussion of the economic role of art in Holman.


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