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Forging a new energy identity for Inuvik's premier showcase

Inuvik Drum Editor Stewart Burnett

INUVIK DRUM EDITOR - It was surprising to hear that finding interest for the Arctic Energy and Emerging Technologies conference and tradeshow has not been too much of a challenge for Vicky Gregoire-Tremblay, the town’s economic and tourism manager.

In fact, people were coming to her before she could reach out to them, eager to be part of the show and get involved in the region’s energy future.

There’s no current booming alternative energy industry in Inuvik in the same way the old Inuvik Petroleum Show, the former name and theme for this conference, centred around.

Money isn’t already flowing in the area in renewable technologies, at least compared to the oil and gas boom.

But what it does highlight is the power of shifting public opinion.

The Arctic has emerged as something of a mascot and recurring personality in the shift from oil and gas to new technologies.

In a similar way to the Arctic being used as an example of the ills of changing climate, many people look longingly to it as a possible banner bearer in new ways going forward.

Though anyone declaring the death of oil is speaking far too prematurely, the wave of public support and investment money opening up for new energy sources is equally undeniable.

People want to make it work, and humans have an ability of willing their demands into existence.

Of course, the main challenge of the Arctic isn’t going away: the lack of infrastructure and harsh environment, combined with low population, make many large-scale projects untenable.

With hope, Inuvik can reimagine itself and become and economic hub again.


Subhead: The south can keep the north’s traditions alive

The idea of hunting whales by qayaq is one of childhood dreams.

It’s hard to imagine a more intimate and wild experience than taking down a sea monster with nothing but a qayaq and sharp sticks. Guns help in the modern age, but the idea is the same.

Kevin Floyd and the Inuvik Qayaq Club are trying to keep that tradition alive, or at least continue the interest and skills involved, if not the actual beluga hunting.

Floyd and Jennifer Lam will be down south this weekend at the Pacific Paddling Symposium, teaching some Inuvialuit qayaqing skills.

Perhaps one of the best ways to keep Northern traditions alive is through southerners, many of whom value and respect these ways of life highly and wish to find a connection with them.

Aboriginal tourism is a growing industry, and there are a lot of different ways to capitalize on that demand, including passing on traditional skills directly to non-indigenous people.

Cultural appropriation is the controversial buzzword of the day in the national media industry, having just led to the reassignment of high-ranking CBC editor Steve Ladurantaye, but spreading these traditions is cultural celebration more than anything, and Canadians have a high appetite for those experiences.