July 10, 2020
Inuit TV is on the air, beavers are worsening climate change, and barren-ground caribou finally have a rescue plan. Plus, where have all the old men been drinking coffee? Find out in this week’s Up Here newsletter.


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Jacob Boon 


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The renaming saga continues for Edmonton’s CFL team. The Canadian Press reports
pressure is mounting from corporate sponsors who say they’ll cut ties if the football operation doesn’t pick a replacement for its problematic current moniker. The team has said it will “ramp up” ongoing engagement with “Inuit people” after a previous outreach program (which was never publicly released) found “no consensus” among the “Inuit community.”

“One community? What program? Conducted by who with who exactly?”
tweets Nunavut MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq. “The fact that there was NO CONSENSUS means CHANGE THE NAME.”

Jordin Tootoo, the first Inuk player in the NHL,
also weighed in with a statement, saying while he personally doesn’t find the team’s name objectionable that doesn’t mean it should stay.

“Do me a favour and change the name,”
says Northern News Service Ltd. publisher Bruce Valpy: “Having a prominent and beloved national football team named something that is largely considered derogatory everywhere except on a football field, in particular among Inuit I know who aren’t football fans, is a pain.” (Various)

Happy belated Nunavut Day! The territory celebrated its 21st birthday earlier this week. Here’s our cover feature from last year about
Nunavut at 20 and what the future holds for the next generation of Nunavummiut. (NNSL)

Just in time for the now-stat holiday, the territory could be getting a new all-Inuktut TV channel. The Inuit TV Network has filed paperwork with the CRTC to launch later this year, providing a place where Inuit filmmakers can showcase their work, and where English-language programs can be translated into traditional dialects for all Inuit regions. “One of the biggest requests we got from elders is that they wanted to see David Suzuki's The Nature of Things in Inuktitut,” says filmmaker and Inuit TV’s new president, Alethea Arnaquq-Baril. (

A sigh of relief on Baffin Island this week as the presumed case of COVID-19 at Baffinland’s Mary River mine came back negative. Nunavut remains the only place in Canada that has yet to see a confirmed case of coronavirus. (

“I’m Inuk, but I’m Black: Comprehending my identity as an Inuk Jamaican woman.” (

Visiting the NWT and meeting with Dene individuals helped
decolonize a part of himself, says comic artist Joe Sacco, talking to CBC about his new graphic novel on Dene history. Sacco also says the only critics that matter in reviewing his new book are Indigenous Northerners: “How they feel about being portrayed matters more to me than most really good reviews.” The New Yorker has published some of the pages from the book if you'd like to give it a look. (Various)

An important local northern news story about a COVID-19 impact that’s applicable to all small towns across the country: “Where have old men been drinking coffee?” (
Beavers are hastening climate change? Dam. (Photo by Cheryl Reynolds)
Beavers could be contributing to the warming Arctic. A new study suggests an increase of beavers’ damscoupled with a rising average temperature created through the actions of humanity, let’s be clear—are creating new bodies of water that absorb more sunlight and quickens the thaw of permafrost underneath. Ingmar Nitze, a researcher from the Alfred Wegener Institute and author of the study, says, “We’re seeing exponential growth there. The number of these structures doubles roughly every four years.” (Inhabit)

Meanwhile, pelicans have been spotted in Nunavut. John McKinnon, an analyst with NWT’s Pelican Advisory Circle, can’t say for sure why the birds have made their way from their colony in Fort Smith, NWT to Kugluktuk, Nunavut (almost 900 kilometres north), but the jet stream might have something to do with it. “They get around, these birds.” (

Normally, scientists look at ice cores and tree rings to gain insight into ancient climate systems. Now, they’re also turning to an unlikely Arctic source: Narwhal DNA. (
Massive Science)

Oh, also, climate change is causing a “spider baby boom” in the North. Gross. (
Interesting Engineering)

Giant Mine’s first fire truck has had its rusty old door reattached, five years after it went missing from Yellowknife’s outdoor mining “museum.” The door was actually returned shortly after its theft, but has sat in storage until this week when it was finally welded back on. (
Cabin Radio)

Despite the pandemic, the Yukon’s campgrounds are having a busy summer—which has some campers concerned about a lack of physical distancing. (

Reader’s Digest has a list of 13 hidden gem golf courses from across the country. Making the list are Meadow Lakes in Whitehorse, the Yellowknife Golf Club, and Many Pebbles in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. All available to play for under $100. A few years ago we published a northern golf tour about these courses and others, which you can read
right here. (Reader’s Digest)

A regulatory plan to help dwindling barren-ground caribou herds in the NWT was finally released this week, a day before the two-year deadline when it had to be ready. The new plan will hopefully help colonies like the Bathurst herd, which has dwindled over the past 30 years from nearly half a million animals to just 8,200. Writer Rhiannon Russell will have a feature on this very subject in our next issue (out in a couple of weeks). (
Cabin Radio)
The Nornickel plant after this month's massive diesel fuel leak. (Photo by Anastasya Leonova, for SkyNews)


Have you been watching all the coverage of the massive oil spill in northern Russia and now you're curious about visiting? Welcome to beautiful Norilsk! “The city built by gulag prisoners where Russia guards its Arctic secrets.” (SkyNews)

All the wildfire smoke in Siberia has 
crossed over the Bering Strait to Alaska. Here’s a remarkable photo of an “eerie wildfire Phoenix” showing how much of western Siberia is on fire right now. (Various)

A Brazilian cowboy has finished his 3,400-kilometre horseback ride from Anchorage, Alaska to the Calgary Stampede grounds. It only took 13 months. (
Canadian Press)

I’d like to be, under the sea, in a soft coral garden, discovered off Greenland. (
SciTech Daily)
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