March 27, 2020

First and foremost how are you doing?

A nice fire, tasty caribou meat, a couple of dogs for company, and lots of social distance. “To be on the land is where it's at!” says @uza_tin. (via Instagram)


We hope you're safe. We hope your family is safe and healthy. We hope you have shelter and food and loved ones you can talk to even if you can't see them in person right now.

stage of grief are you in during lockdown? I'm hovering near acceptance, myself, though that's brought on its own anxieties about accepting this new version of our world. There’s an increased fear in the North (if that was possible) as the first few confirmed COVID-19 cases have arrived in Yellowknife and the Yukon. There's still a lot of denial, anger and bargaining happening as we continue down this road with no end date for isolation.

You may have seen a note earlier this week from Up Here that our next issue will be delayed due to this pandemic. As it stands right now, we're hoping to get a smaller version of the May/June issue out the door this week, so we can take some time and plan for what comes next. I'll keep you posted. 

Until then, be well and stay safe.

Thanks for reading,
Jacob Boon 

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Plenty of small businesses are shutting down during this pandemic, but some are adapting—creating new methods of delivering their goods and services to a self-isolated society. Over on Instagram, Entreprenorth has been highlighting some of these adaptations, including Moon Sprout Wellness' shift to online virtual doula consults. (Instagram)

Local news outlets are also no exception to the economic uncertainty of the time. Northern News Services Limited has
moved all of its papers online. Nunatsiaq News will likewise suspend its print edition until further notice. The Yukon News and Whitehorse Star say they'll continue printing. Meanwhile, Cabin Radio, which has been having nightly COVID-19 webcasts from publisher Ollie Williams, is seeing record traffic. (Various)

Williams also investigated how the global coronavirus pandemic is, oddly enough, causing problems for Yellowknife's dog poop cleanup. (
Cabin Radio)

On the subject, one side benefit of self-isolation society is that an influx of people are fostering animals from the NWT SPCA. “I think dogs and foster animals are a great distraction… it gives you a sense of normalcy.” (

Remember our feature on
parkas in a wind tunnel? Well now you can read about the thermal imaging of caribou-skin clothing. (Journal of the Arctic Institute of North America)

“Every bite of tender caribou meat you’ve ever eaten owes the majority of its composition to the grey, finger-like fronds of this oft-overlooked boreal superstar.” Lori Fox on lichen, the magical unicorn of northern ecosystems. (
Up Here)

Here’s Lori Fox again, on the freeze-and-thaw cycle of the Yukon’s wood frogs, who hibernate in a frozen solid state during the bitter northern winter. (
Yukon News)

“I wanted to start my child's life with the connection to his culture I didn't have.” Artist Lianne Marie Leda Charlie shares her personal story of a traditional Northern Tutchone afterbirth ceremony. (
Up Here)

Back in what feels like years ago now but was actually just January, I attended the Arctic Frontiers conference in Tromsø and had a testy exchange with America's top diplomat in Norway. So I wrote about it. (Up Here)

How the Yukon was spared the influenza pandemic of 1918. (
Yukon News)

Why does lighting rarely strike in the Arctic? (
Smithsonian Magazine)


They solved the mystery of what narwhal tusks are for. Apparently that was a mystery? “The tusk is used to tell the opponent that ‘I am bigger than you.’” So, there you go. (High North News)

“Lights out for squirrel that caused power outage in Alaska.” (
Associated Press)

Although the past year has seen several banks announce they would no longer back Arctic oil and gas projects, a new report shows the world’s largest investment firms have put more than $3.7 trillion into fossil fuels since the Paris climate agreement. (
The Guardian)

The Spanish flu arrived in the tiny village of Brevig Mission (just north of Nome, Alaska) in November, 1918. Within five days, 75 out of 80 residents were dead. Gold miners from Nome were brought up to dig a mass grave with heavy machinery, two metres below the permafrost. Eighty years later, one of those bodies became the key to sequencing the virus’ genes for the first time. (
Arctic Today)
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