June 19, 2020
The Into The Wild bus gets airlifted out of the wild. Plus, Arctic skies are crowded with electric planes, nanosatellites, and “forever chemicals.” We're celebrating the North's summer holidays in this week's Up Here newsletter.
Canoe "dawg" Mango is ready for the long weekend. (submitted by the NWTRPA)


Happy National Indigenous Peoples Day, Summer Solstice, Father's Day, and Juneteenth. It's finally warm and sunny here in Yellowknife and we've got a three-day weekend ahead. Time to go jump in a lake, I'd say. Let's get to the news...

Thanks for reading,
Jacob Boon 


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Christine Genier, host of CBC’s Yukon Morning, resigned last week after a heartfelt on-air plea about the public broadcaster’s reticence to support Black and Indigenous employees. “We get told that it takes time to move a ship,” said Genier, “but it is costing us bodies and it’s costing us lives.” Genier’s comments were
echoed by many current and former CBC employees and were even brought up during Question Period by Jody Wilson-Raybould. (CBC)

We are not exempt from racism in the North, says Ambe Chenemu, one of the main speakers at last week’s Black Lives Matter demonstration in Yellowknife. “If you are a white Northerner and this is coming as a shock to you, then we've got work to do.” (

Leela Gilday will take part in a national Canada Day broadcast to be live-streamed by Heritage Canada and CBC. A music video of Gilday and her band performing a new song was shot for the broadcast earlier this month on top of Yellowknife’s Pilots’ Monument. (Cabin Radio)

Elsewhere in summer celebrations, July 9—AKA Nunavut Day—is now an official stat holiday in the territory. The holiday, which commemorates Parliament passing the Nunavut Land Claims Act, previously only applied to government workers. (

June is also Indigenous History Month, and to mark the occasion Twitter Canada has created a custom-made emoji of an Inuk wearing snow goggles that automatically gets attached to the hashtag #IndigenousHistoryMonth. The emoji was designed by Inuk multimedia artist Aija Komangapik. (

How to train a canoe dog: Avid canoeist Rachel Cluderay shares some tips and tricks for making a pup feel comfortable while paddling (with photos of her own training of Mango, “the goodest canoe dawg”). (
NWT Recs & Parks Association)

Remember What Humphries
discarded hospital mural? Meaghan Brackenbury uncovers some more of the NWT’s lost and forgotten public art, including several large, commissioned murals that remain locked up in some warehouse. (Cabin Radio)
An aerial view of the Diavik Diamond Mine. (VIA DOMINION DIAMONDS)
Dominion Diamond Mines is suing its Diavik partner, DDMI, over breach of contract. Dominion, which filed for creditor protection earlier this year, says Rio Tinto subsidiary DDMI operated its NWT mine with “willful misconduct and gross negligence.” (Cabin Radio)

In other legal news, Ski-Doo maker Bombardier just won $2.8 million in damages after suing Arctic Cat over patent infringement. That’s $135 for each of the nearly 21,000 Arctic Cat snow machines sold in Canada that infringed on Ski-Doo’s “pyramidal frame.” (

With no medication, no social assistance (thanks to a bank error), and no way into town, a Yukon woman with a severely compromised immune system has been forced to live in her car. “All this is literally over $700.” (
Whitehorse Star)

Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. has filed a formal complaint with the United Nations’ Human Rights Commissioner, saying Canada “has failed and continues to fail to provide essential services to the Inuit” in Inuktut. CBC’s Nick Murray has the full statement at the link. (

Coastal erosion on Yukon’s only Arctic island is exposing a looming climate threat
. (The Narwhal)

Elon Musk might bring high-speed internet to rural Canada. Reliable and affordable high-speed internet is a human right and something the North sorely needs. But let's be honest here, Elon Musk
ain’t gonna be the one to bring it to us. (CBC)

When a Nunavik woman died of COVID-19 back in April, her family had to wait a month to bury her. Mina Echalook Idlout, originally from Inukjuak, died on April 28 at the age of 51 in a Montreal long-term care home. But her family only learned of her death several days later. Sarah Rogers has the story of “Bringing Mina Home.” (

In 1979, Joanne and John Moore packed a year’s worth of food and equipment and set out for Northwest Territories. Here's how these newlyweds survived 341 days of isolation in the remote northern wilderness. (
Globe and Mail)

The Yukon Quest has split into two races—one in Alaska the other in the Yukon. Organizers blamed the impact of COVID-19 on the logistics of a cross-border sled-dog race. (
Ooh, baby, baby, it's a wild busI'll always remember you like a child, bus. (VIA DNR)


The Into The Wild bus has been taken out of the wild. The abandoned Alaskan bus where Christopher McCandless lived and died was suddenly and without notice hauled out of the backcountry this week by a DNR Chinook helicopter and brought to an unknown location. McCandless’ death—made famous by an Outside Magazine story and later a book and movie—has long attracted hikers and fans who routinely end up in need of rescue in the backcountry. Eva Holland, who's been writing about this damn bus for years, says goodbye at the link. (Outside Magazine)

Mining firm Nornickel is blaming thawing permafrost for the massive Siberian oil spill that’s leaked 20,000 tons of diesel fuel in Russia’s Arctic. But watchdogs say the company is using climate change as a scapegoat to avoid talking about its aging infrastructure and potential negligence. (
The Guardian)

Norway wants to flood the Arctic’s skies with “nanosatellites” to ease military communication. Between this and Elon Musk's space plans, one worries about the
Kessler syndrome. (High North News)

Closer to the ground, northern Scandinavia is pioneering commercial flights using electric planes. (
The Barents Observer)

"Forever chemicals" have been building up in the Arctic since the 1990s—which means they’ve probably been increasing everywhere else in the world as well. (Scientific American)
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