Loving the land through a lens

November 21, 2017 - Yellowknife

Proud proclamations of Northerner’s affinity for the Northwest Territories aren’t hard to find.

The word “spectacular” sprawls across the territory’s signature licence plate; the City dubs Yellowknife the “capital of cool;”and brave pun-purveyors occasionally don a “It comes with the Territory,” shirt. But what is it that makes NWT “spectacular”? What makes it “cool”? And why have so many visitors-turned residents fallen in love with the territory?

With Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society-NWT’s release of its annual Love the Land photo calendar, the non-profit organization asks just that.

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MLAs hear from Yellowknife school boards

Yellowknife MLAs have met with the city's three school boards ahead of a legislative session set to start next week. The second assembly session this year will convene May 25. Up for discussion is Bill 16 which, if passed, will change the kindergarten age from five to four years, bring in junior kindergarten for all schools in the NWT, and reduce the minimum instructional hours for Grades 1 through 12 to 945 hours. Ahead of the session, city MLAs met with the Yellowknife Education District No. 1, Yellowknife Catholic Schools and Commission scolaire francophone des Territoires du Nord-Ouest over the past two weeks. Both Yellowknife Education District No. 1 (Yk1) and Yellowknife Catholic Schools will implement junior kindergarten in the fall and the French school board will continue its junior kindergarten class which started last year. Leadership at all three boards indicated funding for inclusive schooling and aboriginal programming is still an issue. Yk1 superintendent Metro Huculak said his district has a good working relationship with the Department of Education, Culture and Employment and he is confident the department, together with the health department, will be able to find a solution to the inclusive schooling funding. Catholic Schools board chair Miles Welsh said while junior kindergarten is being portrayed by the government as fully funded, it is still missing important funding for inclusive schooling and aboriginal language and culture programming. This is a concern shared by Yvonnne Careen, superintendent of the french school board, noting the cost of care is higher for younger students. On inclusive schooling, both Kam Lake MLA Kieron Testart and Yellowknife North MLA Cory Vanthuyne said they would push for full funding for inclusive schooling in junior kindergarten. “It's important to me to make sure that the inclusive schooling aspect of junior kindergarten is fully funded,” Vanthuyne said. “Because I'm also an individual who grew up with a learning disorder and needed particular attention, special education requirements, myself when I was going through the education system.” Testart also noted the importance of funding aboriginal programming for junior kindergarten. Schools will also be adjusting to reductions in instructional hours if Bill 16 is passed. Vanthuyne and Testart are in favour of this portion of the bill, yet as it is a pilot project Vanthuyne stressed the importance of including means of monitoring and measuring its success. Whether funding for buses for junior kindergarten students will be provided by the GNWT still remains to be determined. School boards are surveying parents registering their children for junior kindergarten on whether they require bus services. So far, 15 junior kindergarten students will require the service at Yk1, Huculak said, adding he doesn't expect more than 25 will need it. The french school board has 12 registered students for junior kindergarten so far, but does not yet have the numbers of students who require bus service. The Catholic schools have 15 students who will require the service so far. All three districts indicated some sort of solution is needed, regardless of what is decided in the legislature. “If the bussing isn’t provided we have to make some decisions on that as well, because not everybody can get their kid to school at the drop of a hat,” Welsh said. For Testart, bus service is less of a priority than inclusive schooling. He said the pricetag given by the bus company is very high and he estimates the junior kindergarten students using the service in Yellowknife won't be more than 60. “If the act says schools need to do this, we need to provide the bussing service, then that changes completely,” he said. “Then we have to find the money right because it’s a legal requirement to do so, but at this point if there’s no legal requirement to do so then I don’t think that’s a top priority to do so.” Frame Lake MLA Kevin O’Reilly declined to comment for this story and told Yellowknifer he will share his position on education issues in next week’s session of the legislature. Yellowknife Centre MLA Julie Green also declined to comment.
May 17, 2017

Mackenzie River breakup predicted for May 24

May 17, 2017
Dustin Whalen, a physical scientist with Natural Resources Canada, is predicting breakup in Inuvik to occur around May 24-28. He says this year looks to buck the recent trend of earlier breakups. Last year’s breakup began May 16. photo courtesy of Dustin Whalen
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Union hopes for speedy fire department changes in Yellowknife

May 17, 2017
John Fredericks, the city’s fire chief, speaks to councillors about a plan that would make changes to the fire department over the coming years. Ten members of the firefighters union decked out in red shirts also attended the meeting. Shane Magee/NNSL photo
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Finally, some entertainment at Inuvik town council – Inuvik Drum editor Stewart Burnett

May 17, 2017

Stanton suspends lobby policy for homeless

May 17, 2017
Florence Wedzin hugs her friend Anthony Paul Blackduck while they warm up in Stanton Territorial Hospital’s lobby on Dec. 13, 2016. Both of them said at the time that they took advantage of a new policy at the facility where homeless people were allowed to stay overnight in the lobby as long as they follow the rules. NNSL file photo

 

Homeless individuals will no longer be able to seek shelter in the lobby of Stanton Territorial Hospital starting May 21, although health officials say they are working on “next steps” for supporting those people.

In anticipation of warmer weather, Stanton Territorial Hospital is planning for the closure of the pilot warming initiative,” stated David Maguire, spokesperson for the NWT Health and Social Services Authority, in an email to Yellowknifer.

Maguire said the decision was made by Stanton’s chief operating officer – currently Les Harrison – and added the program was always intended as a pilot initiative during the winter months.

It is our hope that the establishment of a safe ride and sobering centre program in the near future will help to ease the pressure created when clients who are intoxicated or seeking shelter from the cold weather present at the emergency department,” stated Maguire.

But the GNWT still has yet to establish a sobering centre.

Health and Social Services Minister Glen Abernethy said in March his department was having trouble finding a suitable location downtown for the facility.

It is still unclear how close the GNWT is to securing a space.

In March, the city also announced it was putting the brakes on a safe-ride program until it has access to a van and the sobering centre was up and running.

Stanton hospital began allowing homeless individuals to seek shelter in its registration area last November after Colin Goodfellow, the hospital’s chief operating officer at the time, sent an e-mail to staff about the idea.

He said the hospital would provide food and water to people who are not in need of medical care, but who have nowhere to go after homeless shelters have closed or are full for the night.

Homeless individuals were allowed to stay in the registration area as long as there was no fighting, no bothering of patients and no begging.

Intoxication would not be tolerated either, the e-mail stated.

Goodfellow is no longer the chief operating officer at the hospital as of April, although the reasons for his departure are unclear.

The lobby policy caused frustration among some people represented by the Union of Northern Workers (UNW).

In January, UNW second vice-president Marie Buchanan expressed concern about staff and patient security.

Frank Walsh, UNW Local 11 president representing more than 500 union members at Stanton, said some staff brought concerns forward about the lobby policy over the winter, but the employer, union and labour relations dealt with them.

We talked through the problems that were brought forward in a meaningful fashion and everyone seemed to agree … this is a good thing for the homeless in Yellowknife,” Walsh said. “But I can’t emphasize enough that it probably could have been rolled out a little better.”

He said there could have been more involvement from the union and employees before the policy was implemented.

But I think overall, if we’re reaching out, we’re helping people – particularly people in our own community – I don’t think it could be deemed a failure by any means,” he said, adding hospitals are in the business of helping people. “Nobody froze to death.”

Walsh said the policy served its purpose over the cold winter months, but understands the policy could be revisited in the future.

It’ll be on our agenda certainly to discuss for the future,” he said.

 

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Liquor bylaw passes; support for detox centre grows

May 17, 2017

An obligation to look out for each other

Natasha Kulikowski, left, and Michelle Lennie host an information booth about work safety at the Inuvik Regional Hospital Friday, May 12. The event was part of North American Occupational Safety and Health Week. Stewart Burnett/NNSL photo
May 17, 2017
Natasha Kulikowski, left, and Michelle Lennie host an information booth about work safety at the Inuvik Regional Hospital Friday, May 12. The event was part of North American Occupational Safety and Health Week. Stewart Burnett/NNSL photo
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Floating an idea of a floating capital

May 17, 2017
Columnist Walt Humphries has an idea to drive tourism to the North – a floating capital city. Instead of the capital headquartered in Yellowknife, the legislative assembly could be hoisted onto a barge and could float from community to community every year. Read on to find out why Humphries believes this is a win-win-win situation.
NNSL file photo
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Cabinet peppered with questions from community level politicians around NWT

May 17, 2017
Twin Lakes MLA Robert McLeod, right, sits on a panel of cabinet ministers during the final session of the Northwest Territories Association of Communities conference in Inuvik last weekend. 1805meeB1.jpg<br /> Stewart Burnett/NNSL photo<br />
Twin Lakes MLA Robert McLeod, right, sits on a panel of cabinet ministers during the final session of the Northwest Territories Association of Communities conference in Inuvik last weekend. Stewart Burnett/NNSL photo

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Ulukhaktok youth wins outstanding volunteer award

May 17, 2017
Stewart Burnett/NNSL photo
Nigel Koplomik, from Ulukhaktok, stands with Caroline Cochrane, Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs, with his outstanding volunteer award in the youth category.
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Annual Sachs Harbour jamboree a hit

May 17, 2017
photo courtesy of Doreen Carpenter
Community members frolic during the annual jamboree in Sachs Harbour. From front to back in front, Chelsey Elanik, Dustyn Gully, Adella Carpenter and Doreen Carpenter compete in a test of team balance and coordination
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East Three students prepare for track and field championships

May 17, 2017
East Three Secondary School teacher Colin Pybus demonstrates how students should position themselves when throwing the shotput. Stewart Burnett/NNSL photo
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Sheila O’Kane receives outstanding volunteer award

May 17, 2017
Stewart Burnett/NNSL photo
Sheila O’Kane, middle, stands with Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs Caroline Cochrane and Premier Bob McLeod. O’Kane received an outstanding volunteer award.
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‘Performance is my life’, says Rankin Inlet’s Kuuri Panika

Kuuri Panika of Rankin Inlet performs on the APTN television Inuit-language current-events talk show Qanuq Isumavit earlier this year. photo courtesy Kuuri Panika
May 16, 2017
Kuuri Panika of Rankin Inlet performs at the Puvirnituq Snow Festival in March.<br /> photo courtesy Kuuri Panika
Kuuri Panika of Rankin Inlet performs at the Puvirnituq Snow Festival in March.
photo courtesy Kuuri Panika
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Layoffs follow visitors centre closure

May 16, 2017
Kyle Thomas, president of the Northern Frontier Visitors Association, says he’s at the end of his rope dealing with relocation of the visitors centre.
Shane Magee/NNSL photo
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Catholic school district worries over extra JK costs

May 16, 2017

Millions of dollars of water, sewer and paving projects set to start in Yellowknife

May 16, 2017
A teen skateboards along Franklin Avenue past a stack of pipes that will be installed as part of water and sewer construction work on the street this summer.
Shane Magee/NNSL photo
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RCMP: use the media to warn, gather information from the reading public, please

May 16, 2017
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Youth run the territory for a day

Emma Willoughby, left, representing Great Slave, Aidan Allan representing Yellowknife South, Myha Martin representing Inuvik Twin Lakes and Lisa Boutilier representing Hay River South stand during a vote for a motion to train teachers across the territory on youth mental health on Thursday, May 11 at the Government of the Northwest Territories legislative assembly. Emelie Peacock/NNSL Photo
May 16, 2017

by Emelie Peacock

Northern News Services

Young, passionate and well-spoken, students from across the territory took their seats at the legislative assembly on Thursday, May 11 for a Youth Parliament session.

Thursday was the culmination of a week of drafting and discussing motions, meeting with MLAs and getting a firsthand look at the democratic process. Nineteen youth in grades nine and 10, each representing one region of the territory, took part in the 15th annual Youth Parliament.

For many of them, the issues they advocated for hit close to home. Angus James Capot-Blanc from Fort Liard, representing Nahendeh, gave an impassioned speech on the mental health crisis in his community.

“It is spreading fast and it’s affecting mainly the youth in the communities, which is pretty sad because that’s our next generation,” he said during a break in Thursday’s session.

Myha Martin, a resident of Inuvik representing Inuvik Twin Lakes, described how elders are suffering from cultural loss and addictions, something she wants to solve by creating more work and travel opportunities throughout the region.

The effects of travel costs for remote communities was a huge concern for many of the youth, including Kyran Alikamik from Ulukhaktok. “I just think it’s very unreasonable,” he said of the $4,000 cost of airfare from his community to the territory’s capital. Another danger Alikamik warned about is drug trafficking and consumption, in particular substances laced with fentanyl .

For Alikmak, the experience of territorial politics weighed heavily on him. “I’m experiencing it right now and I’m sitting on the chairs and I feel like there’s a lot of pressure. I can make a decision but that can also influence others decisions, right?” he said. “Me making decisions for a quite large population is too much pressure for me, a little too much.”

While Alikmak said Youth Parliament has made him realize politics is not for him, others plan to continue after this experience. Capot-Blanc said politics is one of his passions, along with playing music, singing and repairing things.

A list of the students who took part in Youth Parliament from May 8 to 12. Photo courtesy of Government of Northwest Territories.
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Yellowknife students debate issues at the legislative assembly

Speaker for the Youth Parliament Rianna Camsell keeps her 17 MLAs on task and following protocol, during the 15th Youth Parliament on Thursday, May 11 at the legislative assembly. Emelie Peacock/NNSL Photo
May 16, 2017

Creative business types wanted

May 16, 2017

The city should get full marks for its innovative approach to sparking business growth downtown.

A contest is being held awarding one year of free downtown commercial space to the first place winner.

The city has witnessed a business flight from the downtown core in recent years as retailers struggled with high rents, competition from online sales, and social problems related to loitering and public intoxication.

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Prisoners in court still shoeless

May 16, 2017

Why keeping it in the public service matters

The Northern Frontier Visitors Centre has served as a tourism hub for the city but structural issues have led to broken windows, cracked walls and sections of the building closing. Now the association that owns it. Shane Magee/NNSL photo
May 16, 2017

Charges dismissed over stolen laptops

Judge Bernadette Schmaltz dismissed charges against Lloyd Thrasher Monday, who was charged with possession of stolen property in relation to a theft at the Tree of Peace Friendship Centre last year. NNSL file photo
May 16, 2017

Man earns jail time for Days Inn drug bust

May 16, 2017

New songs from Kugluktuk to Iqaluit

May 16, 2017
Emerging artists from Kugluktuk to Iqaluit joined up with Twin Flames musical duo to create six new works in March. From left, Lazarus Qattalik, Kenny Taptuna, Gordon Kaniak, Tooma Laisa, Twin Flames’ Chelsey June, Mary Itorcheak, Twin Flames’ Jaaji, Leanna Wilson and Corey Panika.
photo courtesy Qaggiavuut
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New travel reporting website six months overdue

NNSL file photo Minister Louis Sebert said last November in the legislative assembly that a new website on ministerial travel expenses and meetings would be up and running within the next month, but it is still in the works. NNSL file photo
May 15, 2017

Fort Liard votes for chief and council Monday amid much controversy

May 15, 2017

“She pulled the ace!”: Winner from Inuvik nets $319,296

May 15, 2017

Beware the unnamed source in news stories, warns Yellowknifer editor Randi Beers

May 15, 2017

 

1705medD
photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
In this week’s Media Moments, Yellowknifer editor Randi Beers discusses unnamed sources. Sometimes, a publication will choose to protect the identity of a person in a story but must do so responsibly. Three years ago, Rolling Stone Magazine protected the identity of a woman who claimed she was violently sexually assaulted at the University of Virginia, above. The story has since been retracted and the magazine settled a libel lawsuit after it was revealed the woman was not honest.
May 2017
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Luxury aurora lodge breaks ground on Dettah Road

May 15, 2017
photo courtesy of Coromandel Aurora Lodge Ltd.
Skywatch Lodge and Spa will span 41,000 square feet on the Dettah road.
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Tyhee gold exploration site may be scooped up another gold mining junior

May 12, 2017
NNSL file photo
The decline entrance at the Yellowknife Gold Project shown in 2005 when it was owned by Tyhee Gold Corp. This week GoldMining Inc. announced it had entered a purchase agreement for the project.
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Northern photography goes national with ‘Reconcilation’ photo

May 12, 2017

National air show coming to most NWT communities this summer

May 12, 2017

 

The Royal Canadian Air Force unveiled the new colours of its CF-18 demonstration jet on April 4. The new colours celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation. The unveiling ceremony took place at 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A celebration of Northern aviation is bringing pilots and performers from across the country to tour 97 communities this summer.

The Canadian Arctic Aviation Tour spans all three territories as well as a few communities in Manitoba, Quebec and Newfoundland.

Thirty-one communities in the Northwest Territories are scheduled to have shows over their communities, with 11 receiving a “wheels-down” event where the airplanes will land and community members can meet the performers.

The show kicks off in Fort Liard on June 2 with a wheels-down stop. Fort Liard Mayor Steven Steeves said the hamlet already has plans to give performers a true Northern welcome.

“We’ve got our kids putting up legends and stories … We’re giving them a big drum dance and everything, too,” Steeves said. “We want to show Canada, the world, what we’re all about.”

Hamlet recreation co-ordinator Sophie Kirby said community members are excited about the event.

The hamlet will be putting on a feast before the drum dance, both of which will take place June 1 the evening before the airshow is scheduled to start.

Kirby said the plan is for the show to be done over the Liard River, adding the hamlet plans to have lifeguards on hand as well.
“Hopefully the entire community will be there for the event,” she stated in an e-mail.
Some members of the show’s crew are already in the community for the tour’s education component. Nancy McClure, executive director for the Canadian Arctic Aviation Tour, said that segment is geared toward encouraging young people to pursue dreams of a career in aviation.
“The education piece is all literacy-based. A lot of it will be conversations our pilots have on the ground with kids as they talk about the possible career choices they might be looking at,” she said.
She and her team sees aviation as a career that could bring Northern youth back to their home communities to work and live.
“We’re really focusing on the fact that if you look at Northern people (in) these careers, they’re going to come back home hopefully,” she said.Some of the challenges the team has faced include how to bring in proper aviation gas to some of the smaller communities, securing accommodations and finding sponsors to help cover the cost of the tour.
Most of the project has been driven by volunteers.
McClure said the team is still fundraising, and is also crowdfunding with an initiative that allows people to purchase their own personal kilometre of the tour for $25.
The airshow itself is free of charge, unlike many of its southern counterparts. McClure said when she signed on as executive director, she decided the show needed to something everyone could come to see – despite any financial implications of running a free show.
“We did not compromise on our original vision. That was what was really important to me, because the point of the project was that we would bring this to everyone,” she said.
“We could have solved some of our problems by making this a paid airshow … but we didn’t want people to be excluded because they couldn’t pay.”
The tour will also be carbon-neutral, McClure said. The team partnered with Carbonzero, a Canadian carbon offset firm, by purchasing “carbon credits” to be re-invested elsewhere in the country.
“We made it a priority,” McClure said.
“We’re not only carbon-sensitive, we’re actually net zero on this project.

“The show was developed partly as a way to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, but also as a way to celebrate the tradition of aviation in the North.
“We really wanted this to have more of a legacy approach,” McClure said.
“The North-south corridor was built with airplanes, not trains, and that continues to be the case. So how would we bring an event to many of these locations? We’d have to fly an event in. The airshow grew from that.”
Communities will have up to nine aerobatic performances. The team’s Yellowknife stop will include a demonstration jet as well.
Among the performers are Anna Serbinenko, who McClure said is the only performing female airshow pilot in Canada, as well as Bud and Ross Granley.
“In airshow circles in North America, (Bud) is kind of the grandpa of air show performers. He is a legacy,” McClure said.

 

Fact File
NWT tour dates
June 2 – Fort Liard
June 7 – Fort McPherson, Tsiigehtchic
June 8 – Inuvik
June 9 – Sachs Harbour, Ulukhaktok, Paulatuk
June 10 – Aklavik
June 11 – Tuktoyaktuk
June 12 – Fort Good Hope, Colville Lake
June 13 – Norman Wells, Deline, Tulita
June 14 – Fort Simpson, Jean Marie River, Wrigley, Nahanni Butte, Sambaa K’e, Fort Providence
June 17 – Fort Smith
June 18 – Kakisa, Enterprise, Fort Resolution, Lutsel K’e, Wekweeti, Behchoko, Whati, Gameti
June 19 – Ulukhaktok
July 8 – Hay River
July 9 – Yellowknife

 

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Cece McCauley- Elders talk residential schools and why does government meet without the people?

May 11, 2017

Fishing rules contradict Kam Lake arsenic advisory

View of Kam Lake in Yellowknife.
May 11, 2017

Halfway to hearing the words ‘Doctor Mountain’ – NWT News/North columnist Antoine Mountain

May 11, 2017

Tulita’s community organizations compete in spring clean-up

May 11, 2017

GNWT boosts small business funding limit to $75,000

May 11, 2017

A special Mothers’ Day in Fort Good Hope

May 11, 2017

Healthy walking in Norman Wells sponsored by Norman Wells Land Corporation

May 11, 2017

Five Tlicho students from communities to compete at territorial Heritage Fair

May 11, 2017

Consensus government in the NWT has run its course

May 11, 2017
The issue: Consensus government
We say: Doesn’t work
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Hockey fans raise cancer funds in Fort Good Hope

Northwest Territories residents have been uploading their best hockey fan photos to raise money for the Fort Good Hope Cancer fund. From left, Damien Haogak, Tori Haogak, Melinda Laboucan, Cheyenne Haogak and Andy Carpenter. photo courtesy of Melinda Laboucan.
May 11, 2017
Northwest Territories residents have been uploading their best hockey fan photos to raise money for the Fort Good Hope Cancer fund.
From left, Damien Haogak, Tori Haogak, Melinda Laboucan, Cheyenne Haogak and Andy Carpenter. photo courtesy of Melinda Laboucan.
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This too shall pass, says NWT News/North Editor James OConnor

On the left, a wedding party in Las Vegas. On the right, it doesn't take long for the bride to lose her cool with her maid of honour. Columnist James O'Connor opines that having a stranger's nuptials thrust into his face isn't his idea of fun in Sin City. James O'Connor/NNSL photo
May 11, 2017