February 21, 2020

New Franklin treasures surface, a portrait of the always unpleasant wolverine, and a Tiny Desk Concert for Elisapie. Plus, the ongoing debate about Edmonton’s CFL team is far from over.

The winter sun shines over Fort Smith, NWT. (Via Matonabee Paulette Photography)


Well, sad news this week as our senior editor Jessica Davey-Quantick has announced she'll be leaving us for an exciting new opportunity. We're on the hunt now for an associate editor who will join us in our Yellowknife offices. If you think that could be you, more details on how to apply can be found right here.

Thanks for reading,
Jacob Boon 

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Alberta's Teck mine could be the Wet’suwet’en of the North. So says Dene National Chief Norman Yakeleya, who was speaking at a press conference this week in solidarity with the hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en Nation. The proposed oilsands project in northern Alberta has been the subject of harsh opposition from environmentalists and several First Nation communities (both in that province and across the invisible border in the NWT). Yakeleya drew a parallel between the project and the continuing efforts of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and supporters to halt the construction of a natural gas pipeline in northern British Columbia. Rail disruptions caused by those protests have brought the issue to the forefront of Canadian politics, while causing fears that a lengthy disruption of cargo could increase the costs of food and fuel throughout southern Canada. “Hey, welcome to our world,” said Yakeleya. (Cabin Radio)

They found some new Franklin stuff. “Parks Canada's Underwater Archaeology Team in collaboration with Inuit recovered over 350 artifacts from HMS Erebus, including epaulettes from a lieutenant's uniform and ceramic dishes.” They also recovered a hairbrush, mustard bottles and an accordion over the course of 93 dives last fall. (Parks Canada)

Stop what you’re doing and watch Elisapie’s Tiny Desk Concert. The Inuk singer/songwriter, born in Salluit, visits the office of All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen for an “extraordinary” performance “from an artist with something meaningful to say.” (NPR)

After working all day with 1,200-degree molten glass, who wouldn't want a cold beer? No wonder then that Whitehorse’s Lumel glass-blowing studio is opening a café and tap house this summer. “If you wanted to make your glass, and drink out of it, you could do that.” (Whitehorse Star)

How much do you know about thermosyphons(Twitter)

Congrats to Yukon’s Borealis Soul. The dance troupe is on the cover of the March/April edition of Dance Current. (Instagram)

A new exhibit by renowned Inuk artist Germaine Arnaktauyok that opened last week at Iqaluit’s Nunatta Sunakkutaangit Museum showcases tunniit—traditional Inuit tattoos. “There was a time it was only normal to see Inuit women with facial tattoo,” tweets Madeleine Allakariallak. The host of CBC’s Igalaaq recently got some chin tattoos of her own. “I’m a proud TV anchor in Canada. Now I’m a proud TV anchor with talluvunnat.”
Yellowknife pilot Maxie Plante seen here taking home gold at the Red Bull Ice Cross world championships in Japan last weekend. (Cabin Radio)

The small Cree community of Whapmagoostui shares the land along the Great Whale River with the Inuit community of Kuujjuaraapik. There are separate schools and municipal offices and both Cree and Kativik police forces, writes Elaine Anselmi. “Whapmagoostui has an arena, while Kuujjuaraapik has paved streets.” And Patricia George cooks for both towns. (Nunatsiaq)

The Yukon Quest is over, and notably this year one sled team arrived at the midway checkpoint without its musher. Richie Beatie ended up falling asleep mid-mush, having slept only eight hours in six days trying to win the race. The Two Rivers, Alaska resident fell off the sled, but his dogs continued on their own. Beatie hitchhiked a ride with another contestant. His dogs, meanwhile, arrived thanks to the help of a good samaritan who jumped on the sled and steered them into town. “Apparently he just, like… pulled in, jumped off the sled, and disappeared.” (CBC)

You’ve heard of community gardens, even community ovens. In Nain, Labrador they have a community freezer and it’s helping people feed their families in a region that struggles with access to affordable food. “It doesn’t matter if you’re working or not working… There’s no judgment put on anybody who wants meat from the freezer.” (CBC)

To no great surprise, Inuit knowledge is helping develop better Arctic shipping routes. A team of researchers in Ottawa has been working with 14 Inuit communities in the eastern Arctic to plot a new and improved network of shipping routes—steering clear of bird sanctuaries, corridors used for walrus migration, and avoiding breaking up the ice during seal pupping season. (The Hill)

In related news, Ottawa has officially signed off on support for the international ban on heavy fuel oil in the Arctic. The next step is figuring out financial aid to be offered to northern communities who will likely see increases in costs for transported supplies (up to $649 a year for the average family, quotes Transport Canada). (CBC)

Whitehorse is getting its first new hotel in nearly 50 years, and it’s arriving just in time for the Arctic Winter Games next month. (CBC

The largest private landlord in the Northwest Territories is being bought up by two other real estate giants in a deal worth $4.8 billion. Starlight and Kingsett Capital have put forward the massive bid for Northview REIT. The Calgary-based Northview owns 27,000 units across Canada, with 1,000 in Yellowknife alone across two-dozen locations. The company has had a prickly reputation among tenants, with the news recently coming to light that it was illegally collecting ongoing pet fees for years. (Cabin Radio)

Last week, Edmonton’s CFL team released its final report on whether it would change its name. The answer was no. This comes, says the football club, after a year of consultation with Inuit communities. The report isn’t being made public, but Edmonton does say there was “no clear consensus.” In any case, Nunavut cabinet minister Lorne Kusugak praised the decision in an official member’s statement at the Legislature, telling anyone concerned with the name to “settle down. Take a Valium. Don’t be so sensitive.”

“As a member’s statement, he couldn’t think of anything more vital or important than a stupid sports beef?” says
APTN’s Iqaluit reporter Kent Driscoll.

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami president Natan Obed called the name an insult to Inuit back in 2015, born from a time when Inuit and First Nations people were regarded as mascots. Jim Bell, over at Nunatsiaq
notes Obed was presented with an Edmonton Eskimos ball cap upon reelection in 2018, as an apparently “light-hearted gesture” aimed at resolving tension on the issue. 

Kusugak says there's never been any offence taken to the word “Eskimo” at any point over the past 50 years. But this isn’t true. While Kusugak may have never taken offence to the term, others, from Natan Obed to
Tanya Tagaq, have called the word a slur. Bell tweets that he’s been researching a long story on the people of the Labrador coast and learned that in that region “Eskimo” or “Skimo” was “experienced as a term of abuse.” (Various)
The golden eagle has a wingspan of two metres. (Photo by Tony Hisgett)


Golden eagles cost Finland 800,000 a year in reindeer damages. The protected birds usually hunt calves but have been observed hunting and killing adult reindeer that weigh as much as 60 kilograms. This, among other numbers, pulled from a 2018 Finnish report on compensation for damages by protected animals. Apparently, that’s not even the biggest hit. Barnacle geese caused over 1 million worth of damage. (RCI)

It’s not just sea ice that’s melting. Over the past 35 years, there’s been a steady decline in river ice globally, which will have big impacts on ecosystems, agriculture, and economies. (EOS)

Denmark took a mountain of trash and made a ski hill. How architect Bjarke Ingels crafted a synthetic slope over a waste-to-energy plant. (Outside Magazine)

The small, close-knit “basketball family” of Icelandic athletes who are chasing their dreams at US colleges. (NY Times)

How long does it take to become a ‘real’ Alaskan? Maybe we should ask the 229 Indigenous tribes who still aren’t recognized by the state. (Anchorage Daily News)

“No creature of the far North is less beloved than the wolverine. It has none of the polar bear’s soulfulness, or the snowy owl’s spooky majesty, or even the dewy white fairy-tale mischievousness of the Arctic fox. The wolverine is best known for unpleasantness.” (Smithsonian Magazine)

The Sami in Finland say that country's stereotypical and not-at-all accurate igloo and dog team marketing of their ancestral homelands needs to stop. (RCI)
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