August 7, 2020
The last ice melts, and Hiroshima’s legacy casts a shadow over the Sahtu. Plus, sternwheeler graveyards, Yellowknife parrots, and uncannily round stones in Pond Inlet. All in this week’s Up Here newsletter.
Enjoying Twin Falls outside of Hay River. You can read our insider's guide to 48 hours in the "hub of the North" right here.


After a year of planning and months of building both code and anticipation, our new website is finally live! Go check it out and let me know what you think? One feature I'm particularly proud of is our northern community map. We've geo-tagged all the stories from our past issues to the communities they focus on. For anyone looking to find some quick info on the lives and stories of Inuvik or Kinngait or Dawson, it'll hopefully be a useful resource. We've also got several stories up right now from our latest issue, and more to come next week. Now let's get on to the news...

Thanks for reading,
Jacob Boon 


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Say adieu to Canada’s last fully intact Arctic ice shelf. The Milne Ice Shelf collapsed after losing more than 40 per cent of its area in just two days at the end of July. The shelf’s total area shrank by about 80 square kilometres (larger than the island of Manhattan). “This was the largest remaining intact ice shelf, and it’s disintegrated, basically.” The Milne was located in the government's recently protected marine area, Tuvaijuittuq, which fittingly translates to the last ice area. (Reuters)

In response, Librarian Shipwreck tweets: “This is really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really bad.”

Back in 2017, scientists predicted the last two Canadian ice caps would vanish within five years. It only took three. “I
t's no mystery where the caps, known as the St. Patrick Bay ice caps, went. Like many glacial features in the Arctic—which is warming at roughly
twice the rate of the rest of the world—the caps were killed by climate change.” (Live Science)

“Some thought they might be meteors descended from space or giant dinosaur eggs petrified over millennia. Some even saw the handiwork of an alien race. It’s not the first time people have thought these strange stones to be the work of aliens, gods, or giants.” But in fact, there is a natural explanation for the uncannily round stones found in Pond Inlet. (
Eye On The Arctic)

Last week we mentioned Peter Igupttaq Autut had won this year’s Sally Manning Award for Indigenous Creative Non-Fiction. Now you can read his award-winning story, Winter in Chesterfield Inlet, online at our new site. (Up Here)

An African grey parrot named Tesla is on the loose somewhere in Yellowknife. According to owner Patrick Clancy, Tesla can talk fluently in a human voice. He says phrases like, “Mommy, where’s Patrick?” and will call out for Clancy’s daughter, Brigid. (
Cabin Radio)

Elsewhere in escaped Yellowknife animals, a missing turtle was lost, then found, for the second time. Better than a lion being on the loose, I suppose, as has
happened in the past here in the NWT's capital. (Yellowknifer

Speaking of animals, here are five northern creatures with different habitats and different stories. Their common thread is their value to us—significant enough that society has gone to great lengths, and great costs, to ensure they stay alive on the northern landscape. Rhiannon Russell looks at northern species brought “Back From The Brink.” (
Up Here)

A popular unofficial attraction in West Dawson may soon become a little more formal. The sternwheeler graveyard, also known as the shipwrecks, may soon be decorated with walkway and signs to inform visitors of the history of the several Gold Rush-era steamboat skeletons on display. (Yukon News)

To make up for lost business due to COVID, Yellowknife’s Raven Tours is going to start offering virtual visits, where international travellers can enjoy live, interactive video sessions of what it's like under the aurora. (
Cabin Radio)

Turns out moose are a relatively new species to the Yukon, according to a new DNA study. The animals only crossed over to Alaska and the Yukon via the Bering land bridge about 15,000 years ago. Maybe they passed 
Arctic camels migrating in the other direction? (Yukon News)
“Everybody knows the beach option,” says wild wedding photographer Joe Connolly. “That’s kind of the low-hanging fruit in something different you can do.” But on top of a glacier? That photo’s worth braving the elements. (Up Here)
Kluane is wild, vast, and demands respect. It is not a place for egos. Parks Canada’s many warnings should not casually be ignored. Anna Tupakka learns what it’s like to be “Humbled By The Donjek.” (Up Here)

Seventy-five years after two nuclear bombs were dropped on Japan—killing hundreds of thousands of people in the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki—one small community in the Northwest Territories is still haunted by its connection to the blasts.” (

From London life to off-grid Yukon: How one couple took a chance and didn't look back” (CBC)

Yellowknife violinist Andrea Bettger is holding a pandemic-safe release party for her second album with a boat-only concert on the water. (Cabin Radio)

Stewart, British Columbia wants to house Canada’s first international travel bubble with its Alaskan neighbour, Hyder. The 400-person Canadian town is a service hub for the 80 people living in Hyder, which isn’t connected to the rest of Alaska by road. (Vice)

Get ready to pedal the Yukon’s lakes as water bikes have arrived in the North: “The distinct blue and yellow watercraft are a mix of pontoon boat and bicycle with a propeller in the back that allow riders to pedal their way around the water.” (Yukon News)

Chosen and Frozen: The Jews of Nunavut. (World Israel News)

A goose family at the Gahcho Kué Mine were safely escorted to a new home. Employees and the mine’s environment team spent the better part of an hour slowly ushering the geese to a nearby body of water. (
De Beers)

When the Canadian Premier League needed year-end trophies for its players, they looked north to the famous carvers of Kinngait. Adrian Assoufi writes about “Soccer and Soapstone.” (Up Here)

Nunavut’s health minister and chief public health officer don’t speak Inuktut. Since the government began holding regular news conferences to update its residents about COVID-19, translator Ooleepika Ikkidluak has stepped in as a lifeline for Nunavummiut. (CBC)

“It’s very important to them.” 20 years of documenting Dene voices on climate change. (APTN)

Bannock… on a stick? Bannock, on a stick. The great thing about bannock on a stick is you can put literally anything inside.” (CBC)

The Royal Canadian Mint has issued a collector coin in honour of the 150th anniversary of the creation of the Northwest Territories, with a design by Inuvialuk artist Myrna Pokiak: “The landscape illustrated on the coin features 11 ulu traditional knives, representing the Inuvialuit people as well as each of the Territories' official languages. It also displays a Dene tipi and Métis sash flowing like a river across the coin.” (Newswire)

Why 12 Dene adventurers paddled more than 500 kilometres in a handmade moose-skin boat. A new documentary, Nahanni: River of Forgiveness follows the Dene voyagers as they trace the path of their ancestors. (CBC)
Svalbard coal mine photo by Thomas Nilsen, via Barents Observer


Climate change has “hit back” in the Svalbard where Norway’s only operational coal mine has flooded with melting glacier water. (Barents Observer)

The skeleton of a “stunningly well-preserved” wooly mammoth has been found in a  shallow lake in northern Siberia. (

The infamous Into The Wild bus likely has a new home at Alaska's Museum of the North. (
MPR News)

With more algae blooms, bigger waves, and changing ecosystems, a new Arctic Ocean is emerging that’s closer in composition and behaviour to the Atlantic and Pacific. (
In Alaska, it’s not only food chains and Indigenous communities that are being deeply affected by climate change, but also Cold War-era military bases. Melting permafrost under one base’s missile repair bay has caused the floor to separate from the ground. The entire facility, “built on a sloping hillside and hidden in a patch of dense trees, started slowly sliding towards the base of 10,000 people working and living below.” (
Anchorage Daily News)
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