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From the sky, Nunavut's 25 hamlets are but specks of contrast on a desolate canvas of ice, snow and Precambrian shield. On the ground, it is a place of custom and conflict, artistry and youth. (Editor's note: Shortly after this piece was published, The Globe and Mail learned that Leo Nangmalik, slides 38-40, had tragically taken his own life. He was 50.)

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The pristine beauty of Cape Dorset gives little hint of the troubles faced by a population struggling to cope with a dramatic transition between their traditional lifestyle of hunting and fishing and their new community based living with a modern economy.

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A single word "why" is scratched into a wooden cross that marks a shallow grave in the Anglican Cemetery in Cape Dorset, Nunavut. The rates of suicide and violence in Canada's newest territory are far beyond those experienced anywhere else in the country.

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A large ship remains at anchor in the harbour at Iqaluit, Nunavut, on Nov. 6, 2010. Winter came unusually late in 2010.

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A family takes an evening meal inside a restaurant in Iqaluit, Nunavut on Nov. 4, 2010.

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While doing his regular patrol community constable Markoosie Etidloi walks past the bones of a Bow Head whale in Cape Dorset , Nunavut on November 8, 2010.

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Community constable Markoosie Etidloi speaks by radio with an RCMP member in the station at Cape Dorset, Nunavut on November 8, 2010.

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Community constable Markoosie Etidloi takes his coffee break in the lone restaurant in Cape Dorset, Nunavut, on Nov. 8, 2010.

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Artist E.J. Etorolopiaq carves a drum dancer out of serpentine outside his in-laws's home in Apex, near Iqaluit in Nunavut on Nov. 6, 2010. Many men depend on the sales of their carvings for income, but some experts say that the demand for traditional art is declining as the market has become saturated.

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Inuit carver Johnny Papikatuk is covered with stone dust while carving outside of his home in Cape Dorset, Nunavut on Nov. 9, 2010. The majority of Inuit carvers now use electric power tools to speed up the process, and most, like this man, do not wear a mask, protective glasses or gloves.

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Carvings of faces on a boulder outside of the legislative assembly in Iqaluit, Nunavut on Nov. 4, 2010.

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Two children play with a soccer ball in the snow in Iqaluit, Nunavut on November 12, 2010.

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A bicycle is slowly disappearing into the early winter snows in Iqaluit, Nunavut on November 12, 2010.

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Roadways are covered with a crust of snow from the first of the seasonal storms in Iqaluit, Nunavut on November 6, 2010.

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Due to the permafrost in the arcitc, a network of pipes runs above the ground throughout Iqaluit ,Nunavut on November 6, 2010.

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Snowmobiles, like these outside of a home in Iqaluit, Nunavut on November 6, 2010 are a main mode of transportation for many during the winter months.

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Diapers hang in the cold air to dry in Iqaluit, Nunavut on November 6, 2010.

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Peter Ningeosiak, 73, and eleven of his family members reside in his small, three-bedroom house in Cape Dorset, Nunavut on November 10, 2010.

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A young girl peers out of the front window of her home in Cape Dorset, Nunavut on November 10, 2010.

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A lack of funding for housing and overcrowding in homes are two of the major issues that Nunavut's government is facing. At the small home of elder Peter Ningeosiak, 73, live eleven family members. Their lives differ dramatically from the lives depicted by media they receive from the south.

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Parnee Ningeosiak sits on the couch while her grandchild Sheila Ningeosiak(left) watches her cousin Leetia Ningeosiak do her math homework.

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Nineteen-month old Jonathon Sheutiapik Pugh in an amauti on the back of his father David Pugh, 31, in Iqaluit, Nunavut on November 12, 2010.

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Workers remove signage on the side of Peter Pitseolak school in Cape Dorset on November 11, 2010. The cost for the signage was about $250,000 originally, but because a "southern" artist made a Yukon version of a sled and dog team, they are currently paying $60,000 more to have the sled replaced with a Nunavut version of a komatek.

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Joe Ottokie, 52, who was born and raised here, operates the forklift used to remove the large sled from the school wall in Cape Dorset, Nunavut on November 11, 2010.

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A man who had just stepped off a flight from Iqaluit greets his family inside the small airport in Cape Dorset, Nunavut on November 11, 2010.

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A cross marks the high point of land in Repulse Bay, Nunavut on November 14, 2010. The Arctic Circle runs through this small northern hamlet.

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In keeping with tradition, most Inuit refuse to speak frankly about violent incidents in their communities, and refer to them only in broad terms as "the troubles." But with a renewed sense of urgency a men's group has evolved and is working within communities to hold healing services, like this one in Repulse Bay, Nunavut on November 13, 2010.

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Members of the community participate in a healing service inside the new community center in Repulse Bay, Nunavut on November 13, 2010.

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Men push a boat into the water in Cape Dorset, Nunavut on November 10, 2010. They were heading out to hunt seals.

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School children try to get close to hunters returning from a seal hunt to the small hamlet of Cape Dorset, Nunavut, Canada on November 10, 2010.

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The boys are happy to help carry the seals ashore after receiving instruction from an elder in Cape Dorset, Nunavut on November 10, 2010. Fifty per cent of Nunavut's children do not graduate from high school and with high unemployment many families still rely on the hunts for much of their food.

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Local men work to remove a young beluga whale from their net inside Tellik Inlet at Cape Dorset, Nunavut on November 10, 2010. A large portion of this harvest was shared among members of the community.

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Mayor John Hicks tends to one of his teams of sled dogs before running them for the first time this fall in Rankin Inlet, Nunavut on November 13, 2010.

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Mayor John Hickes runs a team of his dogs behind his snowmobile through Rankin Inlet, Nunavut on November 13, 2010.

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Two youth on a snowmobile pause to say hello in Cape Dorset, Nunavut on November 9, 2010.

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This small cabin, on a point of land outside of the hamlet Repulse Bay, was home to Kallu "Leo" Nangmalik, 50. He had been on a waiting list for a home for over two years, and lived here without electricity or running water. A gas stove and lantern are his only source of heat. Kallu "Leo" Nangmalik, 50, sits inside his small cabin on a point of land outside of Repulse Bay. A gas stove and lantern were his only source of heat. Mr. Nangmalik recently took his own life. He was 50.

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Mr. Nangmalik was abused as a child in a residential school and has had a long history of drug and alcohol abuse, crime, and jail time. He is trying to turn his life around he said, during an interview inside this cabin outside of Repulse Bay on November 14, 2010.

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While there is a shortage of housing, some houses still sit vacant and in need of repair. This house, in Cape Dorset, was the scene of a homicide on Sept. 20, 2010. The family refuses to live there again, and other families are resistant to moving in as well. Police evidence markings with the date are still visible on the floor at the entrance to the living room where the homicide occurred.

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An intoxicated woman is removed from a home after a disturbance on November 6, 2010, in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada. The RCMP detachment in Iqaluit is kept busy every night with domestic calls primarily caused by the abuse of drugs and alcohol.

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RCMP officers arrest a shoeless man in the snow in Iqaluit, Nunavut on Nov. 6, 2010 following a call about an intoxicated man with a knife.

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A man who was arrested by the RCMP following a domestic disturbance lies handcuffed in the back of a police cruiser in Iqaluit, Nunavut on November 6, 2010.

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The Baffin Correctional Centre in the territorial capital of Iqaluit is over crowded and in need of repair. Outside in the fenced courtyard men play dodgeball in the cold air on Nov. 6, 2010.

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An inmate walks past cots lining the walls of the gymnasium of the Baffin Correctional Centre in Iqaluit, Nunavut on November 6, 2010. The facility is over crowded and in need of repair.

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A cross hangs from a cot inside the Baffin Correctional Centre in Iqaluit, Nunavut on November 6, 2010.

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Two inmates play cards inside a cell at the Baffin Correctional Centre in Iqaluit, Nunavut on November 6, 2010.

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An inmates displays his calendar, showing his time spent inside the Baffin Correction centre in Iqaluit, Nunavut on November 6, 2010.

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This man has worked his way up through the system from the juvenile detention centre and now to an isolation cell in the Baffin Correctional Centre. His nickname, "Inuksta," tattooed across his back is his own Inuit play on the word "gangsta."

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