In the early 1900s, the Canadian and U.S. governments made a deal to import a few thousand reindeer from Alaska to the Northwest Territories to provide food and fur for the Inuvialuit of the Mackenzie Delta after a caribou shortage. Now, the 3,000 reindeer—the only herd in Canada—are owned, herded and bred by Canadian Reindeer, a family business, headed by Lloyd Binder, a descendant of one of the men who originally helped bring the deer to the area.
Every spring, the reindeer are herded with snowmobiles between Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk to their summer breeding grounds. Things will be a little different this year, though. Instead of crossing the ice road, the reindeer will pass by the Inuvik Tuk Highway, a recently-opened all-season road that will connect the towns.
Members of both towns usually gather to watch the migration. Photographer Chris Miller took this photo in January of 2016. He was struck by the animals’ docility compared to their wild cousins, the caribou. That, and the landscape. “You look in one direction and it’s sunset — you look in another and it’s sunrise,” says Miller. “The light’s just amazing. It’s like having that golden hour for hours of the day.” (Words by Prajakta Dhopade; Photograph by Christopher Miller)