Staying with a hunter showed me Greenland beyond the tourist brochures

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In a new series about memorable encounters, the writer recalls the time she spent with a family whose way of life is threatened by the climate crisis

In mid-February, after months of darkness, the sun returns to the Upernavik archipelago in the far north-west of Greenland. After spending the long polar night working in the archives of Upernavik Museum, I’m eager to leave the islands and experience life elsewhere in the Arctic.

By March, I’m flying south in clear spring skies. As the propeller plane makes its descent to Ilulissat, I see snow-covered hills and the glistening tongue of the Icefjord, a Unesco world heritage site. In my phone is the number of a friend’s cousin, a hunter who needs help building a website for his fledgling tour company. In exchange, he’ll give me a place to stay.

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