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Monday, December 5, 2016
Man facing multiple weapons charges

Radilih Koe'/Fort Good Hope

A Fort Good Hope man is facing a number of weapons charges after an incident in the community on Nov. 25, a news release said.

Tony Kakfwi, 49, was charged with discharging a firearm with intent, carrying a weapon while attending a public meeting, careless use of a firearm, possessing a weapon for dangerous purposes, using a firearm in the commission of an offence and uttering threats.

RCMP were called after receiving calls that an individual was firing a weapon in the community. The man locked himself in a residence for two and a half hours before surrendering to police.

Kakfwi is being kept in custody in Yellowknife and appeared in court on Nov. 30. His next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 6 at 1:30 p.m.

- Kassina Ryder

Village lawsuit delayed

Liidlii Kue/Fort Simpson

A lawsuit by businessman Reg Bellefontaine alleging interference by the Village of Fort Simpson on a recycling depot contract has been adjourned for six weeks.

Bellefontaine is seeking the removal of Coun. Michael Rowe from his position, among other matters. The case was back in court Nov. 25. The next hearing is slated for Jan. 13.

According to lawyers for the village and the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs, the adjournment is due to problems with Bellefontaine's court paperwork.

- April Hudson

Michael St. John appeal dismissed

Somba K'e/Yellowknife

The NWT Court of Appeal upheld Michael St. John's conviction on a charge of sexual assault against a girl under 16 in a ruling issued Tuesday.

St. John had appealed the conviction, arguing the trial judge had erred on several points, including during the jury trial in Hay River held in June 2015. The panel of three judges dismissed those arguments.

St. John had been sentenced to three years in prison after the trial.

- Shane Magee

Deadline today for Drop the Pop funding


Schools, early childhood centres and recreation departments across the territory are encouraged to submit funding applications for the 2016-17 Drop the Pop campaign, information from the Government of the Northwest Territories.

The goal is to have a campaign running in each region of the territory. Funding of up to $1,800 is available. The application deadline is Dec. 5. Forms can be found on the GNWT website.

- Kassina Ryder

Furanyl fentanyl charges laid

Somba K/e/Yellowknife

Furanyl fentanyl charges have been laid against a Yellowknife man after a warning the illegal drug could be in other NWT communites.

RCMP executed a search warrant Nov. 28 at 166 Borden Dr. where they discovered a powdery crystallized substance later identified as furanyl fentanyl.

This after a hectic couple of days that culminated with heavy police and emergency response activity outside the home and a warning from health officials after eight people reportedly overdosed on fentanyl within 48 hours late last month.

On Nov. 25, the office of the chief public health officer issued a public advisory warning NWT residents of the dangers of opioids after last week's overdoses.

Darcy Oake, 22, was charged Nov. 30 with unlawfully importing and trafficking furanyl fentanyl into Yellowknife, possession of furanyl fentanyl for the purpose of trafficking, criminal negligence causing bodily harm by providing a person with furanyl fentanyl, and failing to comply with a court order from Oct. 27, 2015 not to purchase, possess or consume a controlled substance.

- Kirsten Fenn

Ambulance service on life support

Hay River

The Town of Hay River says it will reluctantly withdraw rescue services from highways outside of its boundaries if a funding arrangement for operation and maintenance of the service can't be reached with the territorial government.

Town council called a public meeting Nov. 22 to advise residents of what might be a controversial and emotional showdown with the government.

It offers rescue services to about 800 kilometres of highway outside town limits - south to the NWT/Alberta border, all the way to Fort Resolution, halfway to Fort Smith and halfway to Fort Simpson, said Fire Chief Ross Potter.

- Paul Bickford

Mangilaluk students turn page at assembly


Two Mangilaluk School students travelled from Tuktoyaktuk to Yellowknife in early November to work as pages in the legislative assembly.

Carmen Kuptana and Shane Wolki both spent a week doing everything from delivering messages to ensuring members had enough drinking water.

Kuptana, Grade 9, said she enjoyed listening to the issues being discussed during sessions.

"They put a lot of work into stuff," she said.

The pair was chosen after each writing a letter about why they would be ideal candidates for the program, said principal Krista Cudmore.

Getting paid while learning first-hand about how government decisions are made was a big motivator for Kuptana.

"You get to go to Yellowknife and get paid," she said. "And you get to meet the MLA."

Herbert Nakimayak is currently the MLA for the Nunakput constituency.

"I think it gives them a sense of what our MLA does, to actually see it in action," Cudmore said.

The opportunity is especially important for students from the territory's most remote communities, she added.

Kuptana agreed. In addition to her days at the legislative assembly, she was also able to enjoy being in the city. She said her favourite part of the trip was getting to travel to Yellowknife.

"I got to go to the movies and go shopping," she said.

- Kassina Ryder

Christmas celebrations planned in Inuvik


The Christmas Parade will be taking place Sunday, Dec. 11. It will start at 1 p.m. from Ingamo Hall and make its way to the Midnight Sun Complex, where prizes for commercial and non-commercial categories will be awarded.

Following the parade will be a Children's Christmas Party at the Midnight Sun Complex, with all children 12 and under invited. Each will receive a small gift from Santa.

Later that night, at 7 p.m., the igloo church will host the annual Christmas concert and singalong.

Also that day, the annual Christmas light and decorating contest has begun, and judging will take place on Dec. 11.

Only exterior Christmas lighting and decorating displays and exhibits are eligible.

Cash prizes will be given for the top three winners.

- Stewart Burnett

Tsiigehtchic celebrates 12 Days of Christmas

Tsiigehtchic/Arctic Red River

Tsiigehtchic's annual 12 Days of Christmas activities are scheduled to kick off with a snow globe and decoration making event on Dec. 7.

All events are expected to take place at the Chief Paul Niditchie School (CPNS) gym at about 6 p.m., said Ben Contenti, recreation co-ordinator.

Other activities include sliding with Santa on Dec. 8, popcorn string making and a movie night on Dec. 9 and Christmas games on Dec. 12.

Christmas craft and ornament making is scheduled to take place on Dec. 13, followed by Christmas baking and cake decorating on Dec. 14.

Dec. 15 will feature a Christmas concert at CPNS and Dec. 16 will include gingerbread house making and a movie.

The gingerbread houses will be judged after a scavenger hunt on Dec. 17 and there will be a Chinese gift exchange on Dec. 19. Dec. 20 will include a ham and turkey bingo game, a mega merchandise bingo is expected to take place on Dec. 21 and on Dec. 22 prizes will be presented for the best house and window decorations in town, which can include snow sculptures and Christmas displays.

A cake walk is expected to cap off the celebrations on Dec. 23.

"Everyone in the community is welcome," Contenti said. "They are all free events."

- Kassina Ryder

Aurora College now a top research college

Thebacha/Fort Smith

Aurora College is on this year's list of Canada's Top 50 Research Colleges.

"Aurora College's standing on Canada's Top Colleges for Research list is due in a large part to the recent focus that the College and its research division, Aurora Research Institute, have put on updating and introducing policies which have elevated the institution's approach to research ethics and procedures," a news release from the college stated.

"Topics such as academic freedom and ethical conduct when dealing with animal and human subjects are now addressed."

The changes allow the college to apply for funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, which are considered two of the most important research funding organizations in Canada.

"This 'institutional eligibility' allows faculty and staff to access research funds and increases the ability of Aurora College to retain northern-based research capacity," the release said. "It also represents a significant recognition of the developing research capacity within Aurora College and the NWT."

- Kassina Ryder

Metis council sets annual assembly

Thebacha/Fort Smith

The Fort Smith Metis Council will be holding its annual general assembly on Jan. 14, beginning at 10 a.m. at Roaring Rapids Hall. The members-only gathering will include elections to the board of directors

- Paul Bickford

First Nation plans Christmas party

Thebacha/Fort Smith

Smith's Landing First Nation was scheduled to hold its Christmas party on Dec. 3 at Roaring Rapids Hall in Fort Smith.

The party - which will begin at 3 p.m. and run to 7 p.m. - will feature games for adults and children, an appearance by Santa Claus and a dinner.

Smith's Landing First Nation has its reserve land in northern Alberta, with members in Fort Smith, Fort Fitzgerald, Alberta, and some living near Fort Smith, just south of the NWT/Alberta border.

- Paul Bickford

100 People Inuvik makes first donation


100 People Who Care Inuvik met for its first meeting and donation on Nov. 28.

The group began this fall and aims to gather 100 or more people to make $100 donations quartely to charitable causes.

Each meeting, three charitable organizations will have the opportunity to pitch the members on why they should receive the donation. The members then vote and the winner gets the total donation.

Arctic Paws, the Inuvik Youth Centre and the Inuvik Food Bank presented to the group, which had 46 members present but 71 members registered in total.

The Inuvik Food Bank won out, and as of press time was due to receive $7,000 from the group.

- Stewart Burnett

Darkness for Inuvik looms


The sun's last setting for Inuvik was scheduled to be 2:08 p.m. on Dec. 4.

That same day, the sun was scheduled to rise just 45 minutes earlier.

From Dec. 5, 2016, through Jan. 5, 2017, the sun will not rise, according to

It is scheduled to reappear for just over 42 minutes at 1:40 p.m. on Jan. 6.

- Stewart Burnett

Sewing with sealskin in Tuk


A ladies' sewing group is scheduled to run throughout December in Tuktoyaktuk.

The first class is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on Dec. 1 at Kitti Hall, said Caroline Loreen, recreation co-ordinator.

Twenty-two women signed up for the classes, which will include instructions on how to make sealskin mitts and muskrat fur hats.

The classes and materials are being supplied free of charge.

"Everything is provided," Loreen said.

- Kassina Ryder

Aklavik to hold Community Corporation election


Five Aklavik residents are vying for three directors' seats with the Aklavik Community Corporation.

Dennis Arey, Deon Arey, Faith Gordon, Brandon McLeod and Richard Storr were all nominated for the positions, information from the ACC said.

Once chosen, the three new directors will serve a two-year term.

The election is scheduled to take place from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. at the David "Buck" Storr building in Aklavik on Dec. 12.

Proxy voting forms are available at the ACC office for residents who will be unable to vote in Aklavik on election day.

- Kassina Ryder

Fort McPherson names hamlet council nominees

Tetlit'zheh/Fort McPherson

Eleven Fort McPherson residents are in the running to form the next hamlet council.

Nominees are Shaylene Allen, James Andre, Leslie P. Blake, Norma Blake, Rhonda Francis, John W. Itsi, William R. Koe, Dwayne Noseworthy, Jeanetta Prodromidis, Stanley Snowshoe and Dennis Wright.

The election is scheduled to take place on Dec. 12 and was originally going to include the election for the District Education Authority, but all five members were acclaimed, information from the hamlet office said.

The DEA members are Rebecca Blake, Denise Firth, Rhonda Francis, Norma Snowshoe and Martina Tetlichi.

The three nominees for mayor are William R. Koe, David Krutko and Elizabeth Vittrekwa.

- Kassina Ryder

Shooting for the stars

Liidlii Kue/Fort Simpson

Hay River photographer Adam Hill is expected to make his way to Fort Simpson to teach a two-day nature and night sky photography workshop on Dec. 2 and 3. The workshop, hosted by the Open Sky Creative Society, aims to get photographers-in-training outside for two nights.

- April Hudson

Band office hosts holiday party

Tthek'ehdeli/Jean Marie River

Jean Marie River First Nation will be holding a Christmas open house from 1 to 3 p.m. on Dec. 13. The open house will take place at the band office complex and will include refreshments.

Beginning Dec. 16, the band office will be closed for the holiday season, with an anticipated re-opening date of Jan. 3.

- April Hudson

Award for NFTI president

Hay River

The founder and president of the Northern Farm Training Institute will receive a prestigious award from the Governor General of Canada.

"I'm crying tears of joy," stated Jackie Milne in a NFTI news release. "To be recognized for this work is a huge boost for the Northern Farm Training Institute, and for all of us."

On Nov. 25, the institute announced Milne will receive the Meritorious Service Award, one of the highest distinctions an individual can receive in Canada.

It recognizes those who have performed an exceptional deed or activity over a limited period of time, and recognizes them for bringing honour to their community or to Canada.

This activity or deed is often innovative, sets an example or model for others to follow, or improves the quality of life in a community.

- Paul Bickford

Honour for conservationist

Liidlii Kue/Fort Simpson

Jonas Antoine was honoured by Dehcho First Nations and Parks Canada during a Nov. 29 community gathering in Fort Simpson. The gathering included a dinner and a drum dance to honour the leadership and community.

During the evening, Antoine was recognized for his contributions to conservation in the Deh Cho.

- April Hudson

Fort Smith talks tourism

Thebacha/Fort Smith

Fort Smith and Hay River residents are encouraged to participate in the second phase of Let's Talk Tourism meetings, information from the Town of Fort Smith said.

Maggie Davison, vice-president of Edmonton Tourism and James Jackson, Edmonton Tourism's Event Development Manager will be providing information on how Fort Smith can attract visitors, as well as ways the town can market its attractions.

The meeting is scheduled to take place on Dec. 5 at the Northern Life Museum and Cultural Centre from 7 to 9 p.m.

The first portion of the meeting took place on Nov. 17.

- Kassina Ryder

Advance polls opening for two elections


Advance polls to vote for president of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI) open today, Dec. 5.

Four candidates are vying for the role: incumbent Cathy Towtongie, Levinia Brown, Aluki Kotierk and Joe Adla Kunuk.

Voters in all Qikiqtani communities can also vote in advance for Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA) positions, including vice president and secretary-treasurer, as well as various community director positions.

Any eligible voter who is not on the voters list can vote by signing a declaration of eligibility at the polling station, QIA chief returning officer Adamee Itorcheak stated in a news release.

NTI chief returning officer Mary Wilman stated in a release that advance polls open at 10 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. local time. Polls are set up at various community halls or hamlet chambers check the QIA and NTI websites. Election day is Dec. 12.

Voter must be 16 years of age or older as of Dec. 12 to vote, Canadian citizens, and enrolled or eligible to enroll under the Nunavut Agreement, Wilman stated.

There are five ways to vote: at advance polls, in person on election day, by mobile poll between Dec. 6 and Dec. 11, by proxy vote at advance polls or on election day, and by mail-in ballot delivered on or before Dec. 12.

Polling stations will be set up in all Nunavut communities, as well as four other locations, including Yellowknife, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Ottawa.

Michele LeTourneau

Hear the music


Talented songwriters from across the territory were recognized by the GN's Department of Culture and Heritage last week, when it announced the winners Qilaut 2016.

The department ran a contest for original Inuit-language children's songs, which were evaluated on their originality, creativity, melody and lyrics, stated the department.

The winning songs, from 15 submissions, are:

  1. 786 - Becky Han and Tracy May
  2. Qaariaq - Becky Han and Tracy May
  3. Paurit Qajaqturit - Looee Arreak
  4. Uumajuit Uqausingit - Looee Arreak
  5. Uvangaugiaq Quviakkama - Looee Arreak
  6. Quviasuliqpunga Ilingniarniarama - Joan Friesen and Pallulaaq Friesen
  7. Upin nga'haaq - Gordon Kaniak and Ben Timmins
  8. Silamut Anigama - the Early Childhood Education Program students in Iqaluit
  9. Inuktitut Uqausira - Looee Arreak
  10. Surusikuluulluni Niviaqsiakuluulluni - Daniel Taukie

The first place spot came with $5,000, second with $2,500 and the third with $1,500. Each of the seven other winners receive $500 each.

The 10 songs will be professionally recorded, and the CD will be released in February during the 2017 Uqausirmut Quviasuutiqarniq, Nunavut's annual celebration of Inuktut, according to the release.

- Michele LeTourneau

Language learning on TV


Channel 51 is up and running in Kugluktuk, offering 24/7 Inuit language TV programming to the community.

"You can watch content that is already made or you can make new content," said KIA programs coordinator Julia Ogina. "We have been training people to maintain and update and create new content."

The language channel started as a pilot project in Cambridge Bay and Taloyoak, and is now being set up in the other three Kitikmeot communities.

Ogina said people in the region have been looking forward to getting the channel and anxiously asking when they would have access to the service.

"Language is important to them and they want to have their own language exposure through TV in their own homes," she said.

One favourite kind of content for viewers has been community footage from the 1970s that was digitized by the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation. The channel works in partnership with Isuma TV and Arctic Co-operatives Limited.

- Beth Brown

Qaggiavuut launches new project


Qaggiavuut Society launched a new project called Inuit World Stage last week.

The initiative is to provide advanced marketing, promotion and support to a group of 20 established Inuit performers who demonstrate dedication to their art and an interest in advancing their careers.

"As a musician myself, I understand what other artists are going through," stated Looee Arreak, one of the organizers of Inuit World Stage. "It's not in our culture as Inuit to boast but if you want to sell your CDs or get a role in a film you have to market yourself - that's where this project can help."

The Inuit World Stage project is a direct response to consultations with Inuit performing artists who say their biggest challenge is marketing themselves and finding paid work, according to the Qaggiavuut news release.

For the hard-working 20, tools provide will include professional photographs and videos to connections to agents and mentorships.

"Based on the results of the first year, Qaggiavuut hopes to add more artists to the program," stated executive director Ellen Hamilton.

Inuit artists including musicians, actors and cultural performers.

- Michele LeTourneau

Christmas in the capital


For those finding themselves in the territorial capital in December, there are plenty of Christmas activities.

Iqaluit school children have decked the halls of the Legislative Assembly, where trees are loaded with hand-made decorations. Meanwhile, on Dec. 1, the assembly participated in the 2016 Christmas Lights Across Canada, when legislatures across the country are lit up.

The Unikkaarvik Visitor's Centre will screen animated Christmas classics Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas on Dec. 8.

On Dec. 10, the Iqaluit Santa Claus Parade begins at the Nakasuk school parking lot at noon and ends at the Arctic Winter Games complex, where Santa will be available at the adjoining youth centre for pictures and hot chocolate.

Visitors looking for Christmas gifts can drop by the visitor's centre Saturday, Dec. 10 from 1 to 3 p.m. when local artisans will to sell their arts and crafts.

To end the year, the Iqaluit Action Lab is organizing a family-friendly New Year's Eve celebration in Iqaluit Dec. 31, with activities at Inuksuk High School from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Alianait will present a diverse showcase of local musicians and performers in the Tisi.

The day will culminate in fireworks launched from the sea ice at 8:17 p.m. This New Year's Eve activity is part of the national launch of Canada 150 activities across the country.

- Michele LeTourneau

School in session

Uqsuqtuuq/Gjoa Haven

Minister of Education Paul Quassa attended Qiqirtaq Ilihakvik's grand opening on Nov. 18.

The plaque presentation and ribbon-cutting ceremony included a qulliq lighting by Mary Aqilriaq, and was followed by a community feast.

Gjoa Haven students have been attending classes in the building since last fall.

"It's a very big upgrade from our old school that was built in the 70s," said vice-principal Travis Klak.

"We had increased attendance this year and we have had a lot of students excited about having a gym and a brand new shop where we can offer welding and machine repair. There's a lot more opportunity for programming."

- Beth Brown

Egg-cited for science

Taloyoak/Spence Bay

Students at Netsilik School were egging each other on during the annual region-wide Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics challenge (STEM) in Taloyoak on Nov. 25.

This year participants took a crack at developing their design and engineering skills to build systems for rolling or dropping a chicken egg without breaking the shell.

"There was egg roll for the primary, drop in the bucket for juniors, paper and plastic for the junior high, and bungee for the senior high," stated school principal Gina Pizzo. "Teams at every grade level competed against each other."

- Beth Brown

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