Kugluk (Bloody Falls) Territorial Park
This lovely park is located 15 kilometres (9 miles) southwest of Kugluktuk. It features 25 acres of beautiful terrain near the scenic waterfalls of the Coppermine River where it narrows into a cascade of churning rapids and twisting eddies.
This special place has a shared history between Inuit and Dene First Nations people that has not always been friendly.
Ethnic feuds persisted for centuries. The waterfalls get their English name from a bloody incident witnessed by the British explorer Samuel Hearne in 1771 when a group of Inuit fishermen camped at the falls was ambushed and massacred by Dene warriors. It was designated a National Historic Site in 1978.
Inuit and Dene representatives participated in a sacred healing ceremony in 1996 to reconcile their ancient tribal grievances. The Inuinnaqtun name ‘Kugluk’ means ‘waterfall’ and the campsite area below the falls is called ‘Onoagahiovik’ which means ‘the place where you stay all night’ because the fishing is that good.
The Coppermine River was nominated as a Canadian Heritage River in 2002 for its outstanding heritage and recreational values. It is currently awaiting official designation by the Canadian Heritage Rivers System Board.
The Coppermine River played an important role in northern exploration and the fur trade. Copper deposits on its shores attracted native peoples to the river. Archaeological sites with ancient copper artifacts are scattered along the course of this waterway. It was because of stories told about copper found here that Samuel Hearne explored this river in 1771.
Other explorers soon followed and the Coppermine became an important northwestern Canadian trading route. The river valley has boreal spruce and birch trees living far north of the tree line. It is home to moose, caribou, muskoxen, falcons, hawks and eagles.