September 18, 2020

Nunavut may get its first pot shop soon, beavers take up residence in the North and Indigenous fashion designers are reaching for the stars. All in this week’s Up Here newsletter.

Iqaluit artist completes out-of-this-world project. Photo courtesy of Jessica Kotierk


Up Here welcomed one of its new employees into the office this week (hi, it’s me). I’m Dana, the new associate editor, and I’ll be taking turns with editor Jacob Boon and editorial intern Kahlan Miron in writing this weekly newsletter. Kahlan is nearly out of the isolation period, so she’ll be joining us in the office Monday. 
It’s been an exciting first week and a great return to the North, after a few years away.
Now, onto the news…

Thanks for reading,
Dana Bowen

Associate Editor

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NWT author Richard Van Camp is joining his readers on Facebook, this Saturday, for a virtual Q&A. The event is celebrating the 20th anniversary of Van Camp's first short story collection, Angel Wing Splash Pattern. Van Camp is releasing the anniversary edition of this collection, which acts as a love letter to several communities across the territory. (via press release)

Western Arctic Moving Pictures held its 10th annual 48-hour filmmaking festival over the weekend, where musicians and filmmakers had two days to create a music video. Korry Garvey came out on top for his music video of "Mary's Motel," by Brian WeadickThe winners were announced Monday evening through a live virtual event. (NNSL Media)
Unfortunately, the Northwest Territories’ other beloved filmmaking festival, Dead North, is taking a hiatus. After eight years, organizers of the horror film festival say they have decided to give the event, “a rest for the foreseeable future." (CBC North)
Iqaluit may soon be home to Nunavut’s first retail pot shop, as city council gave it the green light earlier this week. Councillors voted to recommend opening a cannabis store near downtown, after a public consultation for a cannabis shop ended August 20th. The Yukon and NWT currently have five retail shops that sell cannabis. (
Grow Opportunity)

Nunavut is seeing a new addition to its wildlife species, as there was a beaver sighting near Kugluktuk earlier this summer. “Beavers are great colonizers,” Glynnis Hood, a beaver expert and environmental science professor at the University of Alberta, said in an interview with reporter Jane George. According to Hood, it's likely the beavers will build a dam, a pond system, reproduce and then their young will disperse. (
Nunatsiaq News)

Beavers aren’t the only newcomers to northern Canada. Wildlife officials are reporting the emergence of pink salmon near Salluit, Quebec. Officials reported that two pink salmon were netted in Nunavik last summer, near Ungava Bay. Meanwhile, two were caught this year. These are the first official records of this species in Quebec. (Nunatsiaq News)

Twelve Indigenous fashion designers across the territories were recently chosen to partake in a nine-month program through EntrepreNorth. Here, the designers will work with mentors and learn how to build their businesses. The winning designers include: Iqaluit's Nicole Camphaug, who makes custom sealskin footwear, Ross River's Robyn McLeod who makes runway designs from traditional materials, and Norman Wells' Dorathy Wright, who makes one-of-a-kind quilts. (EntrepreNorth)

You may remember reading about Iqaluit artist Jess Tungilik, from our newsletter last year, when he started work on a full-body sealskin spacesuit. The artist began the project as part of a future-themed artist residency at Montreal's Concordia University two years ago. The suit is now complete and is made out of seal skin, from head-to-toe, with an acrylic helmet and two beadwork patches. (Up Here)
When the pandemic first struck, many businesses–including galleries, art auctions, and studio spaces–had to close their doors for the foreseeable future. But while many artists suffered because of it, others found a way to thrive. Kaila Jeffers-Moore looks at northern art after the apocalypse in our latest issue. (Up Here
Artwork on display at Inuvik's Great Northern Arts Festival. Photo courtesy of GNAF


A chunk of Greenland’s ice cap, spanning about 110 square-kilometres, has broken off in the far north. The news is part of a report in the journal, Nature Climate Change, where scientists say it is evidence of rapid climate change. (CBC)

Elsewhere, a study by National Center for Atmospheric Research confirmed a new Arctic is emerging, due to climate change. The study points out that the Arctic has warmed significantly in recent years–more than it has with past fluctuations. According to the study, sea ice has shrunk by 31 per cent since 1979 and if things continue as they are, temperatures and precipitation patterns could be extremely different that what we consider "normal" now. (Scientific American)

After the Trump administration announced it will allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, 15 states are joining Gwich’in tribes in suing for violation of environmental laws. The lawsuit states that the consequences of drilling will affect wildlife and the Alaskan environment. It is calling for an overturn of the decision. (CNN)
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