November 29, 2019

Jagmeet goes to Iqaluit, Frozen 2 gets Sámi culture right, and the dogs that helped Inuit conquer the Arctic. Plus, listening to a slow walk across Greenland.

Clint MacNichol sent in this photo from Hall Beach, Nunavut, where he's made some friends out of a local group of sled dogs. (@fotosbyclint)


Our December year-end issue has arrived, cold off the press. There's tons of great stuff in this magazine that you'll be seeing online (and hopefully in your mailbox) over the next couple of weeks but you really should make some time for Eva Holland's cover story profiling our Northerner of the Year, Vuntut Gwitchin chief Dana Tizya-Tramm. It's powerful, inspiring stuff about the young Indigenous leader's hardships and triumphs. Check it out online this Monday.

As always, thanks for reading,
Jacob Boon 

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Nunavut’s star MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq has been named to the NDP’s shadow cabinet. The 25-year-old will act as the Party’s critic for Northern Affairs. The news comes just in time for NDP leader
Jagmeet Singh’s visit to Iqaluit this weekend. (NNSL)

There’s probably no market in the North for Tesla’s ridiculous Cybertruck, argues Cabin Radio. I mean, there are only 16 electric vehicles in the entire Yukon. The territorial government is hoping to increase that number to 6,000 by 2030. It’s not so far-fetched, writes Keith Halliday. (Various)

Praise for Frozen 2, the rare Hollywood film that gets Indigenous consultation right. A team of Sámi experts collaborated with the Disney filmmakers on their depiction of the fictional Northuldra tribe. (CBC)

Inuk singer-songwriter Kelly Fraser, featured in this past month’s cover story, has launched a Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund her third album. Decolonize is set to mix traditional throat singing with “rock, hip hop, and electro-pop.” (Nunatsiaq)

Speaking of Inuit musical acts, throat-singing duo Piqsiq has a new Christmas album out. But this isn't your typical holiday cash grab of regurgitated Xmas classics. Christmas and throat-singing come with a complicated history. “Like many other Indigenous cultural practices, throat-singing was misunderstood, dismissed and banned by Christian settlers and missionaries,” writes CBC. “At the same time, (Piqsiq) say some of their most cherished childhood memories include Christmas in the North, with the joy and hilarity associated with feasting, games, and dancing.” (On The Coast)

“Regulating the booming Arctic cruise industry is proving frustratingly difficult,” writes Natasha Frost. “Ships can slip from one international territory to the next, each with its own set of regulatory systems to govern everything from safety practices to preventing pollution.” (Quartz)

Unearthed on Devon Island, Nunavut, the First Face is from a time when wooly mammoths weren’t yet extinct and the city of Babylon was brand new. It’s the oldest known depiction of a human face in Canada. But northern art is far older. Read on to find out more. (Up Here)

Trans North Helicopters in the Yukon will cease operations next spring, after 52 years flying over the North. It seems the company felt it couldn’t go on after the death this past summer of co-founder and president Gordon Davis. Some great stories from old pilots in the comments, including a hair-raising recipe for “moose milk.” (Whitehorse Star)

For anyone who’s ever wanted to ‘hear’ the aurora, take a listen to this: the sound of Earth’s magnetic field being pummelled by a solar storm. (Technology Review)

Moose FM, the local Yellowknife English-language radio station, published a bizarre story this week about a husky who sleeps outside. Reporter Arthur Green quotes multiple unnamed sources who suggest the dog’s owner (originally identified in the piece by her home address) is in need of some “social shaming.” The piece was met with condemnation online, prompting Cabin Radio to look into the matter and declare that Suukka the husky was just a stubborn pup that loves the outdoors and refuses to come inside. (Various)

How far would you travel for caribou? Whitehorse resident Brett Boughen (technically he lives off-grid in the mountains, 50 kilometres outside of town) drove 1,000 kilometres on the Dempster Highway in a blizzard, all to bag himself some country food. (CBC)

Yellowknife’s Bristol Pit has the attention of The Snowboarder’s Journal. The American magazine profiled the Ragged Riders snowsports club in its latest issue. “A Hole in the Ground: Building Snowboard Culture in the Northwest Territories” isn’t online but Cabin Radio has a description of the writeup. (Various)

New research says migrating Inuit conquered the North American Arctic by bringing their dogs with them from Siberia. Not only did the sled dogs, already highly adapted for cold weather, help with hunting on sea ice, they probably also allowed their Inuit owners to travel across the Bering land bridge faster, “facilitating the migration across the region within a generation or two.” Good dogs! (Newsweek)


“Eaten by wolves, found dead on a trail, run over by a truck: these are the ways porcupines gift me their quills.” (Juneau Empire)

Don’t call it a ghost town. Adak, a small community in the Aleutian Islands, was built up significantly during World War II as a staging ground for the Americans. During the Cold War, the island hosted a naval base, air station, and 6,000 armed forces personnel. Only 120 residents remain. But renewed Arctic interest is bringing a lot of military attention to the tiny town. (KPBS)

The attacker on London Bridge, who killed two people and injured three others with a knife on Friday, was himself subdued in part by a bystander wielding a narwhal tusk. The good samaritan grabbed the tusk off the wall of a nearby fishmonger. He was one of several bystanders who disarmed and subdued the attacker before the assailant was shot dead by police. (NY Post)

Two men trying to cross the frozen Arctic Ocean on skis are having some trouble: nature is pushing them in the wrong direction. Climate change has caused thinner ice, which is more prone to drift. As a result, the winds are “pushing the ice toward Greenland and they have gone backward three to five kilometres per day.” (Gulf Times)

This Christmas, BBC Radio 3 will broadcast Greenland: An Arctic Sound Walk. Over three hours, listeners will get to hear the slow, quiet journey of a man walking from along the Arctic Circle Trail in Sisimiut. (Daily Mail)

Scientists on the MOSAiC Arctic Expedition have determined who was sabotaging their equipment. They even caught the perpetrators in the act. See below. (AGU)
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