Intertwined, two creatures dig their heels into the ground, push their heads together and shove each other as hard as they can. As they challenge one another, threatening grunts and squeals escape them. Surprisingly, these are not two animals fighting to the death to defend their right to breed, but two educators at the Canadian Museum of Nature demonstrating a traditional Inuit children’s game called “Muskoxen fight.”
This game and a number of others are part of the many interactive events at the month long Extraordinary Arctic festival happening this April at the museum. The festival is in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Arctic Expedition of 1913.
Throughout the festival you can explore Arctic science, learn some of the Inuktitut language, take part in arts and crafts, experience genuine throat singing, see films from the National Film Board of Canada and even build an igloo.
Also during the festival, the museum is debuting a new exhibition, Flora of the Canadian Arctic. This is a collection of photography of plant specimens, half from the expedition 100 years ago and half from the museum’s scientists who are still exploring the Arctic today.
The festival gives everyone a chance to meet real Arctic explorers and learn from the people who live there.
“The Inuit performers are going to be the most exciting because there is going to be real throat singing, real drumming and real stories,” says Mara Bouse, one of the pretend muskoxen and a science interpreter at the museum.
The Muskoxen fight is over and Bouse is out of breath. She stands up and leans on a table covered in Inuit artifacts. Even with an exhausted expression she still beams with excitement when she talks about the upcoming events.
“It is going to be a lot of fun,” she says. “Every weekend there is going to be something you would never expect.”