This paper presents the first detailed record of Paleoeskimo occupation history of Foxe Basin, Nunavut, Arctic Canada, the traditional Paleoeskimo “core area.” Rather than continuous, stable occupations from approximately 4000–1000 B.P. traditionally assumed for the core area, the region has undergone a series of demographic oscillations, including several instances of abandonment of key areas, most notably Igloolik. The Foxe Basin demographic trends are reminiscent of Paleoeskimo “boom and bust” cycles recognized elsewhere, but show no consistent chronological pattern either within Foxe Basin or inter-regionally. Equally important, our results bear on the critical question of the Pre-Dorset to Dorset transition. Rather than having been a gradual in situ process centered within the core area, the demographic patterns, including the abrupt and widespread appearance of semi-subterranean dwellings during earliest Dorset, are consistent with newly arrived populations from outside of Foxe Basin. While there is no obvious “parent” culture to Dorset within the Eastern Arctic, it is suggested that a Western Arctic origin, specifically Norton Culture, invoking to some extent Jorgen Meldgaard’s “smell of the forest”, may have played a significant role.