August 28, 2020

Harrowing tales of survival alone in the wild. Plus, new northern Indigenous movies, music, and podcasts to check out. All that and some Gold Rush-era comedy in this week’s Up Here newsletter.

There's no Great Northern Arts Festival in Inuvik this summer, but that doesn't mean there isn't plenty of exciting art happening in the North. Read on... (Courtesy GNAF)


The September/October issue is out the door, and the latest issue of Up Here Business should be in mailboxes soon. So we're keeping busy. We're also adding a 2021 northern calendar to our November/December issue and we need to fill it with amazing photos for each month.

If you’re a northern photographer—professional or amateur—we’ll pay you $250 per photo selected. Send any pic or questions to before October 2.

Thanks for reading,
Jacob Boon 


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Robert Joamie was out hunting caribou near Pangnirtung when he got turned around in the fog. All he had with him were his gun, some bullets, a knife, and a Pepsi. Surrounded by hungry polar bears and harsh terrain, the artist and actor barely survived four days on the land but thankfully made it home safely. (CBC)

In a different sort of survival story, Alaska’s Roland Welker has won the History Channel’s latest season of Alone, which stranded him for 100 days in a remote area north of Great Slave Lake. Welker, who's a hunting and trapping guide, takes home $1 million in prize money. (
Gant Daily)

Is it tougher to survive the wilds of the North or the NWT's legislature? Because the territory's
consensus government is at each others' throats. After stripping former ITI Minister Katrina Nokleby of her portfolios last week, MLAs voted in an emergency session this week to boot the former minister from cabinet. Nokleby has claimed she’s the victim of backroom dealings and a “toxic culture of secrecy.” Premier Caroline Cochrane and other MLAs say the former minister yelled at staff, used foul language, and threw “tantrums” in meetings. “Days of fighting, and yelling, and who’s got the most obnoxious voice out there,” Cochrane told Cabin Radio, admitting there’s “something wrong with how we’re working.” No doubt. (Various)

More people than ever in Whitehorse are using e-bikes, says Icycle Sports. Local businesses, such as Bullet Hole Bagels, are also relying on the powered bikes as a cheap and easy delivery method now that in-person purchases are increasingly a relic of the before times. (

The Gwich’in Steering Committee has joined 12 other conservation groups in a lawsuit against the Trump administration and its plans to open up Alaskan refuge lands for oil and gas drilling. (

Aside from Trump, the most hated man in the Arctic this week was probably Peter Smith, an avid sailor from New Zealand who decided to ignore Canadian law and captain his yacht through the Northwest Passage during a global pandemic. Smith says the area is international waters and won’t turn back. “They would need a SWAT team to make me do that.” (

“What Gold Rush-era comedy can tell us about national identity.” A University of Toronto professor’s research into Klondike humour from the Gold Rush found japes, practical jokes, and bawdy skits that created community—and also reinforced cultural stereotypes against Indigenous peoples. (

Inuk musician Beatrice Deer is on the latest episode of Basic Folk, from the American Songwriter podcast network, discussing how she helped create the “Inuindie” genre. (American Songwriter)

K’i Tah Amongst the Birch, a documentary made by Dene artist Melaw Nakehk’o about her family’s experience social distancing on the land earlier this spring, will kick off a series of pandemic-themed films being presented by the National Film Board of Canada. (

In other documentary news, filmmaker Andrew Gregg is on the search for a famously lost C-54 Skymaster that went missing in 1950 over the Yukon. The US military plane was carrying 44 people when it crashed, never to be heard from again. The plane’s disappearance prompted what was, at the time, the largest search and rescue effort in American history, which itself ended with four plane crashes. (

In even more arts news, Iqaluit’s Terry Uyarak has released the first single and video from his new album. Hear the track, “Inuit Nunangat,” at the link. (
Nunavut News)

There’s a new podcast bringing together Indigenous perspectives on climate change and decolonization. Story-telling/Story-listening: Decolonizing Research is the brainchild of Jessica Hum, who used to work for the Tłı̨chǫ Government. All four episodes can be found
here. (CBC)

A public mural project in pairing youth and professional artists to paint the walls of Yellowknife, Ndilǫ, and Dettah, reports Alice Twa. “Project founder Mahalia Yakeleya-Newmark and her sister Kalina Newmark say the idea came from wanting to honour the lives of their great-aunt and cousin, along with other Indigenous women who were murdered.” (
Cabin Radio)
“Do not think, it’s not me that I’m flying to my mother, and I wasn’t even afraid that for a second I lost sight of her, no—I heard my mother chewing something.” Google Translate may not have gotten this caption exactly right, but the sentiment comes through. (via Instagram)


Stranded in Kamchatka during a global lockdown, one Maldovan photographer and her canine companion make the most of isolation. (Calvert Journal)

“To stop coronavirus, Arctic communities took matters into their own hands. Can it last?” (

Iceland was one of the early apparent success stories for reopening to tourists as COVID-19 surged elsewhere. But over the last few weeks, even as visitors were met with mandatory test-on-arrival procedures, cases have begun to rise and now the country has reinstated quarantine requirements. (

Earth has lost a “staggering” 28 trillion tonnes of ice over the past 23 years. (
Science Alert)
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