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Monday, September 1, 2014
Leaders discuss caribou decline

Environment and Natural Resources Minister Michael Miltenberger convened with wildlife management authorities and leaders from aboriginal governments in Yellowknife last week to discuss the continued and "alarming decline" of the Bluenose-East and Bathurst barren ground caribou herds.

"The trends from these surveys suggest that both herds are declining at an alarming rate," stated Miltenberger, who called the meeting.

This year's survey of the Bathurst calving grounds suggest that the herd has started to decline again after stabilizing at about 35,000 between 2009 and 2012. The Bluenose-East herd declined by about 30 per cent since the 2013 population survey indicated that there were about 68,000 of the herd remaining.

- Cody Punter

Premier mum on deputy minister's firing

Despite requests from several MLAs, Premier Bob McLeod is steadfastly refusing to discuss the firing of Sheila Bassi-Kellett as deputy minister of human resources.

The long-serving bureaucrat was dismissed Aug 1.

When asked Friday by News/North if he felt the public was owed an explanation as to why Bassi-Kellett was fired, McLeod kept his comments very short.

"It's a personnel issue," he said.

- John McFadden

Women go on the land in Wekweeti

The community of Wekweeti is scheduled to hold a three day on-the-land program exclusively for women beginning on Sept. 2.

"It's just to rejuvenate ourselves, to be out on the land and refresh our minds," said Kimberly Football, one of the trip's organizers.

A group of about a dozen women will be departing by boat from Wekweeti and heading to a campsite at Winter Lake where elders will be teaching younger women about storytelling, dry fish making, bannock making, and how to make dry meat.

- Cody Punter

Deline builds hunting cabins

Community members in Deline are pitching in to build two cabins at a popular hunting site outside of town.

Paulina Roche, Deline First Nation mangers said last week 10 boats left for Deer Pass Bay, three hours outside of Deline to start work on the cabins.

The cabins will be available to be used by band members through the year when they are finished.

"This will be a big asset the to community," said Roche.

- Cody Punter

NACC tickets go on sale

Thebacha/Fort Smith

Tickets for the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre's 2014/2015 program went on sale last Friday. Fort Smith's season will kick off with the return of the ever-popular lute festival on Sept. 25. This year's performance will be headlined by Benjamin Narvey, who will be showcasing some of the most cherished pieces from the French Baroque period. On January 12, the community will get the chance to watch transgender performance artist Sunny Drake perform his one-man show. Drake's performance combines stop motion animation with a live performance, which takes the audience on a whimsical and honest look at addiction, with an LGBTQ slant.

Then, on March 24, Canadian theatre legend Rebecca Caine will be joined by Robert Kortgaard as they play out scenes featuring some of the most famous female roles in musical theatre history.

Both seasons passes and tickets for individual events are available on NACC's website.

- Cody Punter

Enterprise holds community barbecue

Enterprise

The hamlet of Enterprise held a barbecue to mark the end of summer last weekend.

The barbecue was scheduled to take place at the Enterprise Community Centre on Aug. 30.

The recreation committee provided food for the barbecue and there were games for people of all ages.

- Cody Punter

Rhoni Beaulieu laid to rest

Deninu Ku'e/Fort Resolution

The wake for the late Rhoni Beaulieau, the 16-year-old girl who died in a tragic house fire in Fort Resolution on Aug. 15, was held on Sunday afternoon at the Antoine Beaulieu Memorial Hall in Fort Resolution.

The funeral service was scheduled to take place on Monday at Fort Resolution Catholic Church at 2 p.m.

The community came together to help raise money for Beaulieu's family who lost their home and all their possessions in the wake of the tragedy.

As of last Thursday almost $13,000 had been raised.

- Cody Punter

New teachers getting acclimatized

Aklavik

Staff at Moose Kerr School are busy getting ready for the students' return on Sept. 2.

The first day back for teachers was Wednesday, Aug. 27. This year, four new teachers are joining the school, said administrative assistant Bobbie Greenland-Morgan.

On Friday, Aug. 29, all teachers participated in the district education authority's annual culture day in preparation for the new school year.

"The objective is to give (teachers) an introduction into the culture of their community," said Greenland-Morgan.

"We're excited for a new year and excited for our students who are already making accomplishments."

- Laura Busch

Drop-in recreation programs underway

Ulukhaktok/Holman

After-school recreation programs are now underway in Ulukhaktok.

Gym and youth centre programs began Aug. 18 and are scheduled to run through the school year.

The gym program will run Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 6:30 to 11 p.m. in the Helen Kalvak Elihakvik School gym, according to recreation co-ordinator Joanne Ogina.

The after-school Youth Centre program is scheduled to run from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Friday, while the evening youth program runs Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 7 to 11 p.m.

- Laura Busch

Safety in the streets

Paulatuk

Paulatuk RCMP, the hamlet, the community corporation and the Department of Economic Development are partnering up to provide a helmet program for people driving four-wheelers.

"What we're trying to do is promote a little bit of safety," said hamlet supervisor Greg Morash, adding the program came about as a result of an ATV accident earlier this summer.

"Unfortunately, some people can't afford helmets and don't really want to buy them, so we're going to force the issue."

So far, 54 helmets have been purchased by the hamlet and community corporation, and the plan is to have RCMP give a workshop on safe four-wheeling practices.

Also, Nunakput MLA Jackie Jacobson will be visiting the hamlet along with Health Minister Glen Abernethy on Aug. 28, when they will likely discuss the proposed health board amalgamation.

- Laura Busch

Aklavik celebrates Dizzy Daze

Aklavik

The hamlet's recreation department organized one last summer hurrah for Aklavik residents this past weekend.

Dizzy Daze events was held at the Sittichinli Recreation Complex Aug. 29 through Aug. 31, according to posters circulating about the event. Kiddie carnival games are scheduled to be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday evening, from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday and from 4 to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Casino events are scheduled from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday night, from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturday and from 6 p.m. to 12 a.m. Sunday. Casino participants must be 19 years of age or older.

- Laura Busch

Paving the way to employment

Paulatuk

A joint effort from Paulatuk's community corporation, the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, the hamlet and the GNWT is being made to train residents to be heavy equipment operators in advance of a road construction project to improve the hamlet's roads. Greg Morash, hamlet supervisor, hopes to have six to eight residents enrolled in a certified training program within the next three months, with a plan to offer more training programs in the future. Engineering work is currently being done for the road-improvement program. If all goes well, work should begin hauling gravel over the winter and the construction could last two or three years.

"That will keep some of our guys employed," said Morash, adding residents who get certified as heavy equipment operators in Paulatuk could take jobs on the Inuvik-to-Tuktoyaktuk highway.

- Laura Busch

Gwich'in finances good

Inuvik

The Gwich'in Tribal Council has received an clean bill of health following an audit of its 2013 finances. The tribal council generated approximately $10 million in revenue last year against slightly more than $13 million in expenses. The council uses cash from accumulated interest on its settlement fund.

Peregrine Diamonds announces terms rights offering

NWT

Peregrine Diamonds Ltd. (TSX:PGD) announced that it has filed and received regulatory approval for a final prospectus for an offering of rights to holders of common shares of the company to raise approximately $15.1 million in gross proceeds. Although the company intends to use the net proceeds of the offering to advance its Baffin Island Chidliak program, the company also holds diamond interests in the NWT.

At its 8,493 hectare Lac de Gras project in the Northwest Territories, located approximately 23 kilometres from the Diavik diamond mine, the nine hectare 72.1 per cent-owned DO-27 kimberlite hosts a NI 43-101 compliant indicated mineral resource of 18.2 million carats of diamonds in 19.5 million tonnes of kimberlite at a grade of 0.94 carats per tonne, open at depth. A key Peregrine asset is a proprietary database acquired from BHP Billiton that contains data from approximately 38,000 kimberlite indicator mineral samples covering approximately three million square kilometres of Canada. A final payment of $2.5 million will be payed to BHP Billiton upon the successful completion of the offering. The offer will be listed and posted for trading on the TSE on Sept. 5.

Opposition leader to visit Iqaluit

Iqaluit

Federal Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair is scheduled to visit Iqaluit Sept. 2 along with Abitibi-Baie-James-Nunavik-Eeyou MP Romeo Saganash. The two will host a community discussion at the Francophone Centre starting at 6 p.m.

The visit comes days after Prime Minister Stephen Harper's annual Northern tour ended.

"Stephen Harper comes rolling through town once a year, and the rest of the year, Northerners are left out of the conversation," Northwest Territories NDP MP Dennis Bevington stated in a release.

Mulcair and Saganash are expected to talk about the cost of living and access to housing, as well as the effects of climate change on Northerners.

- Casey Lessard

Statistics paint dismal picture

Nunavut

Four in ten Inuit aged 15 and older, or 41 per cent of the population, lived in households during 2012 that experienced food insecurity, compared with eight per cent of the total population of Canada, according to selected findings from the 2012 Aboriginal Peoples Survey released by Statistics Canada on Aug. 27.

Furthermore, 22 per cent of Inuit reported that in the previous 12 months they had personally experienced hunger because they could not afford to buy enough food.

The highlights from the survey also state that in 2011, 25 per cent of Inuit lived in households with more than one person per room, and 29 per cent were in dwellings that needed major repairs. The corresponding figures for Canada overall were three per cent and seven per cent respectively.

In respect to alcohol consumption, StatsCan states the survey results show that while 33 per cent of Inuit reported that they had not consumed alcohol in the past 12 months, 26 per cent reported heavy drinking, that is, five or more drinks on a single occasion at least once a month.

The smoking rate is also high. More than half, 52 per cent, of Inuit aged 15 and older reported that they smoked cigarettes daily, compared with 16 per cent of Canadians overall.

- NNSL staff

Another beluga harvested

Qamanittuaq/Baker Lake

A second beluga whale has been caught in Baker Lake.

The community was buzzing with excitement after learning Paul Niego and his boatmates, Moses Niuqtuq and Mark Kingilik, had landed the beluga at the mouth of the Thelon River late last month.

Peter Owingayak landed the first beluga whale anyone can remember being caught in the lake on Aug. 7.

- Darrell Greer

Sealskin course started

Ausuittuq/Grise Fiord

Nunavut Arctic College's Grise Fiord campus is gearing up for a new sealskin course for women to be held during the fall session.

"It's totally new for us as a class," said Jimmy Qaapik. The students will learn "how to handle a skin when it's brought in, flesh out the fat, and drying and stretching. They will also make patterns and sew sealskin into garments."

Interested students should contact Nunavut Arctic College for more information.

- Casey Lessard

Remembering Terence

Kangiqliniq/Rankin Inlet

Residents of Rankin Inlet were to take part in the second annual Suicide Prevention Walk in memory of Terence George Ukkumaluk Tootoo on Aug. 28.

Participants were invited to join the Tootoo family in celebrating Terence's life by walking from their family home to the Rankin Inlet Healing Facility and back.

Twelve balloons were to be released into the sky to mark the 12 years since Terence's passing, as well as a 13th balloon to honour his grandmother, Anne Doyley, who also passed away on Aug. 28 in 1996.

- Darrell Greer

Day camp wraps

Kimmirut/Lake Harbour

A day camp in Kimmirut wrapped up this week as students there return to school.

The two-week camp welcomed children aged five to 12 years old.

"They were either outside or in the gym playing sports or different activities," said economic development officer Peety Pitsiulak.

A male and a female instructor were hired to run the camp during the last few weeks of the summer break, Pitsiulak said.

- Casey Lessard

Community cleanup attracts large crowd

Naujaat/Repulse Bay

Mayor Solomon Malliki used a little help to launch a successful community cleanup in Repulse Bay during July.

The mayor's cleanup attracted a huge turnout after it was announced a number of prizes would be up for grabs among the participants.

The prizes included a barrel of gas, any size new bicycle and a Coop grocery voucher.

Senior administrative officer Kowesa Etitiq said the community benefitted big time from the cleanup effort, and everyone enjoyed having the chance to win a nice prize.

He called the cleanup a "win-win situation" for everyone.

- Darrell Greer

Canteen prepares to open

Kimmirut/Lake Harbour

A canteen at Kimmirut's Akavak Centre is almost ready to open. Funded by a grant from the Department of Economic Development and Transportation, the store will open for eight weeks, from 6 to 10 p.m. Monday to Saturday.

"We have most of the orders in, cash register is in, so I'll be training the people who will be working there, possibly this weekend," said economic development officer Peety Pitsiulak.

Two youth will work the canteen. The store will have snacks and food for sale, with funds raised used to buy more product and gym equipment.

- Casey Lessard

Hail the bucket

Rankin Inlet

It was only a matter of time before the ice bucket challenge, which has gone viral during the past month, made it to the Kivalliq.

It arrived in Rankin Inlet with a boom late last week, with a number of residents taking the challenge and then inviting others to do the same.

The challenge was launched as an Internet fundraiser for ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) Canada.

The Rankin Inlet Fitness Society was among the most recent to take the challenge and raise money for the cause.

- Darrell Greer

Left in the dark

Qamanittuaq/Baker Lake

A portion of Baker Lake was without power Aug. 23 for about two hours last month.

The Qulliq Energy Corp. cut the electricity to two rows of the community from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m., as line crews performed upgrades to the local distribution system in those areas.

- Darrell Greer

Hip-a-hoppin'

Repulse Bay

Plans are in the works that would see the Hamlet of Repulse Bay sponsor a hip hop dance workshop for youth in the community this month. The Repulse workshop would be funded through the Brighter Futures fund.

- Darrell Greer

Kivalliq trade show approaches

Kangiqliniq/Rankin Inlet

Registration is now open for the Kivalliq Trade Show happening Sept. 29 through Oct. 1 in Rankin Inlet.

This will be the fifth anniversary of the annual trade show. Join and meet with representatives from Inuit organizations, education and training institutions, exploration and mining industry, government, and many Kivalliq region entrepreneurs. Participants will also learn about programs key to improving regional and territorial social and economic development.

Peregrine Diamonds announces rights offering terms

Baffin Island

Peregrine Diamonds Ltd. (TSX:PGD) announced it has filed and received regulatory approval for a final prospectus for an offering of rights to holders of common shares of the company to raise approximately $15.1 million in gross proceeds. The company intends to use the net proceeds of the offering for the remainder of its 2014 Chidliak program and to advance the 2015 Chidliak bulk sample program, as well as to make the final payment of $2.5 million owed to BHP Billiton.

The offer will be listed and posted for trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange with trading expected to begin on or around Sept. 5.

Peregrine's 100 per cent-owned Chidliak project, located 120 kilometres from Iqaluit, contains an Inferred Mineral Resource of 7.47 million carats in 2.89 million tonnes of kimberlite at a grade of 2.58 carats per tonne at the CH-6 kimberlite. In April 2013, Peregrine collected a bulk sample weighing 404.2 dry tonnes from CH-6, returning a sample grading 2.58 carats per tonne for diamonds larger than the 1.18 mm sieve size. An independent diamond valuation of the resulting 1,013 carat parcel of diamonds returned an average market price of US$213 per carat and modelled prices that ranged from a minimum of US$162 per carat to a high of US$236 per carat with a base model price of US$188 per carat.

Scholarship funds

Nunavut

The Ukkusiksalik National Parks Scholarship Trust fund, established under the terms and conditions of the Inuit Impact Benefits Agreement, is taking applications for scholarships under a wide variety of studies including, but not limited to, business management, business administration, financial management, accounting, bookkeeping and human resource management.

The deadline for application is today.

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