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Nunavut (Canada AM)

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This title expires June 30th, 2021

Subject(s): Canadian Social Studies, First Nations Studies, Geography, Social Studies
Grade Level: 6 - 8, 9 - 12

To celebrate Nunavut Day, Canada AM visited Canada's huge northeastern territory.  Symbols and Government of Nunavut shows how Inuit cultural history is reflected in consensus style government (no political parties), in the dome-shaped legislative building with circular seating, and in the mace designed by regional artists.   Art, Culture & Traditions depicts ancient and evolving traditions of artists, carvers, and throat singers.  Sled dogs pull the qamutik, an Inuit dogsled.  The people cope with change as they move off the land into urban areas.   The Arctic Winter Games feature traditional activities that develop well-being and strength.  Geology shows the high tides in Frobisher Bay, the importance of mining exploration for Nunavut’s economy, and Auyittuq National Park, a remote treasure.  Food and Supplies explains why necessities are so high-priced in the north.  Commercial fishing is becoming an important part of the economy.  Housing and Education portrays the severe home shortage with several families often sharing a house (hidden homelessness).  Incorporating Inuit culture and language into education is a strategy designed to lead to lower drop-out rates.  Learn from the people of Nunavut, one of Canada’s most beautiful spots. 

Running Time: 62
Country of Origin: Canada
Captions: CC
Producer: CTV
Copyright Date: 2012
Language: English


  • And good morning. Welcome to a special broadcast of Canada AM. It is Tuesday, July 10, and this is our second day broadcasting from Iqaluit, Nunavut Ahead on the show, we're going to go to the Arctic Circle-- well, Jeff's going to take us to the Arctic Circle. It's a very cool trip.
  • We're also going to take a look at some of the issues and challenges for people living in remote communities such as this. Not the least of which is the high school dropout rate. 75% of people who attend high school-- students who attend high school here-- will not graduate. We're going to take a look at that.
  • We're also going to take a look at the issue of housing. Overcrowding is a big problem. There's simply not enough homes here. And then there's the price of food, which is one of the first things that I notice when you walk into a grocery store and you're looking at the cost of groceries-- when they can be double, maybe even triple at times, what we might pay at home.
  • We're going to talk to the former national leader of Iqaluit about these kinds of problems, and some of the solutions that are on deck to fix it.
  • And of course we're in front of the inukshuk here, in front of the legislature. Now it was April of 1999 when Nunavut came into being. Of course, prior to that, this whole area was the Northwest territories. And this was the license plate that the Northwest territories had. And for the first 11 years of Nunavut, this is the license plate they had-- a pretty spectacular polar bear.
  • But they decided they would have a competition. 120 artists entered. And they have now developed and designed this, the first Nunavut license plate. It went on sale to the public on July 1, with the inukshuk, the polar bear, the northern light bands here. This was designed by Ron Froese, a local artist. So you'll start seeing this, instead of this, here in Nunavut. Alright. That's a look at that this morning. Now let's go to your news headlines. Here's Marci.
  • Here we are with actually a very special occasion because--
  • Unbelievably special.
  • It doesn't come out very often. it's called the mace.
  • Yes. Yes. And this is what of course, every time they open parliament, this Sergeant at Arms walks in with the mace. So it's here. It's only been to four communities outside of Iqaluit. So it's very rare that it's even out. So we're so privileged to have it.
  • It's rare and crafted by two of the artists-- well, three of them that are here joining us. This is Nuk Charlie, Matthew, and Paul-- who are behind the design of this. And you must be extraordinarily proud of this, Nuk?
  • Yes, it is indeed. It's great to work on such monumental piece, especially for our own government.
  • So tell me a little bit about-- I guess there's some rare jewels, and Jeff is standing--
  • Right here, Jeff.
  • Before 1990, we went on the radio to ask the hunters or anybody that has stones, and they sent us gemstones from all across Nunavut. And then also the entire world. The stones came from all the communities, and we wanted to represent all the communities in there.
  • Tell me what this is, this part of it, portion of it.
  • That portion is Narwhal tusk.
  • And Narwhals, just for people who don't know, are the whales with the long ivory tusks that stick out. You see them very rarely. And you of course have made this out of that.
  • And Bev, I just want to say too, of course the mace is something that's carried in at the start of every session. It opens each session, carried in by the Sergeant at Arms. And then it's placed in a-- you have a statute there with a man's arm and a woman's arm, and the mace is placed in that to show the equality of the two. And then when they start the session.
  • But it goes back to about the 1200s or 1300s. When it was used as protection for Parliament.
  • It was a weapon. For French and English kings. And then this was crafted especially for this. And it's actually so rare for it to be out, that we had to get special permission. When was the last time you actually touched it?
  • A few minutes ago.
  • Because we have to have these gloves on.
  • I was, I think it was summer of '99 when we first had our first Nunavut Granite Symposium. We took a photo session. We had to get permission for it to come out. So it's rare that it will come out of the cage for any other occasion than the regular meetings.
  • And for Canada AM.
  • Yeah.
  • I know six artists were involved in this. So how did we decide who was going to do what? We've only got a little short period of time here, but how did we decide who did what?
  • We decided that we were going to-- Nunavuk is made up of three regions-- and we decided that we were going to pick two from each region.
  • And that's how you--
  • So the selection came to who is good at what. Some of them are good at silversmith, goldsmith, others with a different type of stone, and some of us with gemstone. So that's how the whole selection process came about.
  • And it's kept in a case when it's not-- I mean it's in the legislative assembly when it's going on-- when it's not, it's in a beautiful case just inside and behind us at the legislative assembly.
  • Now we're down on the breakwater just below [INAUDIBLE] school. And what I'm standing on is a qamutik. And what this is-- this is what they used to facilitate dog sledding in the winter. It's a sled. It's traditional in this part of the country. And we're also going to introduce you to one of the dogs who pulls this sled. And because these dogs can be a little energetic, I want to show you a piece of tape of how this one dog arrived here just moments ago, in order that this dog wouldn't have a lot of energy for being on camera and doing this, it pulled an ATV through town and up the breakwater road in order to work out some of its energy. So that's truly a piece of video I have never seen before. Something the likes I"ve never seen before.
  • But Louis-Philip Pothier is here, and he's going to explain the qamutik and the dog sledding, and how big a role it plays here in the winter. By the way, in the summer there are the odd mosquitoes you may see flying by. But it's OK, we're all sprayed up and we're ready to go.
  • Look what I found. Isn't this the cutest thing ever? There you go. Louis-Philip Pothier has Inupak Outfitting here. And this is-- well, who is this, Louis-Philip?
  • That's Siku. It's a little four-months-old male. Almost four months old.
  • OK now. And over here, who do we have? Well I know we have Mark.
  • The hairy one, that's Yetsi. That's a almost five-year-old big, big male. So it's one of our biggest male.
  • What kind of dogs are these?
  • They're pure Canadian Inuit dogs, or pure Canadian Eskimo dogs.
  • OK so, this up, here when we do dog sledding, this is a qamutik, which is sled. So tell me a little bit about this sled.
  • Well the first thing when we design sled, it's that you have to notice that there's no screw, no nails holding all of the pieces together. It's a whole system of little ropes.
  • Right.
  • So that makes the sled being a little flexible. So going over a rough patch of ice, or bumps and stuff like that, you need that little flexibility. The other big thing about not having any screws or nails or anything like that, make it possible to fix it everywhere. Pocket knife, a piece of rope, and you can just fix it.
  • Come on out here, because what I wanted to ask you, when people have seen dog sledding in places other than Nunavut here, on Baffin Island, normally we'll see dogs, like one dog, one dog, one dog. Now here, if I move back here, this is kind of, they call it a fan hitch I think. correct?
  • That's the fan hitch system. Yeah.
  • So this would be 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 dogs. What's the advantage of doing it this way versus the two by two?
  • Well one of the main reason why we're using that system instead of the two by two is that we're not traveling into tight trails and stuff like that. So not having three, not having stuff around, then you can have the dogs being a little wider.
  • Right.
  • The other major effect of that if that on long, long days, dogs will be able to pull out on the side, slow down a little bit, and just pick up some rest.
  • OK how many people can go on a qamutik at once.
  • On good snow condition, with 10, 12 dogs at the time, we can take myself plus three adults, three or four adults.
  • And where do you take people?
  • Well normally what we do, we start season start on the land. So there is snow on the land even before we got sea ice.
  • But you can come out here on Frobisher Bay, and away you go, right?
  • And then later on the season, we mainly use the ice.
  • Terrific. Alright, well listen. Louis Philip, nice to meet you. Nice to meet you too. Big feet. This is going to be a big guy, isn't he? Look that the size of those paws. Martin, thanks for coming down on the ATV and bringing the dog through town. That was a truly unique experience here on Baffin Island.
  • Please welcome here Carly Neriak. Nice to see you. She's a cultural specialist, owns a store in town called Malikat. And your mother's a premier.
  • Yeah.
  • So, earlier you gave me this sign. Now you've given me this chart. So this is written in Inuktitut, correct?
  • Yes.
  • OK.
  • What we have here is the Inuktitut syllabics, we also have the Roman orthography. But I wrote something here, and I wanted you to try and figure out what it means. What did you think it means?
  • Well I had no idea. And in fact, I went on the chart, and I looked at the chart, and I can tell you the result of the chart is, I had no idea. But now I think I know. This is my name, correct?
  • Yes. So I'll give you a hint here. Jeff Hutcheson.
  • Right.
  • We don't have in Inuktitut syllabics any F's.
  • OK No F's.
  • No F's.
  • OK.
  • So this here is Jevv.
  • Jevv. Jevv.
  • OK.
  • Hut see son. That's right there. Jevv Hot see son.
  • Hot see son. Jevv Hot see son.
  • Yeah. We don't have ch either.
  • No ch.
  • No ch. So bear with me here.
  • OK. Hot see son.
  • Hot see son.
  • Yes. That's your last name.
  • Yes.
  • And this part here, is--
  • Iqaluit.
  • Yes.
  • Iqaluit.
  • But in Inuktitut, what we do is add more syllabics to make one word. Which when you translate it in English ends up being a long sentence. So this means, [SPEAKING INUKTITUT]
  • Yep. Jeff Hutcheson [SPEAKING INUKTITUT]. Jeff Hutcheson was in Iqaluit.
  • Oh. Wow. That's terrific. So Jeff Hutcheson was in Iqaluit.
  • Yes.
  • Now, you've also done Beverly.
  • Beverly.
  • Now that's unique too. Bev, come here. OK. So OK, so, explain the Bev hers.
  • Yes, so we don't use a lot of B either. So we use P Pu and Pa. So Pa vo ly.
  • Pavoly.
  • Pavoly. And so with the R, we don't really use that either, in this case anyway, so we have Pavoly. I have a gift for you here, as well. This is a traditional Inuit knife.
  • Ulu.
  • Yes. Called an ulu.
  • That's fantastic.
  • And it has Pa vo ly.
  • That is lovely. Thank you so much.
  • And yours has a little bit of seal skin on it as well. Which we would use this to clean seal skin. Because seal skins are very important to Inuit.
  • Absolutely. That's, yes.
  • So we got a little bit.
  • Carly, thank you very much. So Jeff Hutcheson was in Iqaluit.
  • Yes.
  • Alright. Absolutely. Nice. That's not an earring, by the way, Bev. Just so you know. Just so you know.
  • But you better treat me nice.
  • Yeah, OK.
  • What better way to see the sights and sounds of Iqaluit than when I just literally got off the plane, and got a chance to meet up with the Premier, who took me on a tour of some of the sites that she loves best.
  • So this in here, we're in the chamber, legislative chamber. This is almost like your home away from home. Spend a lot of time in here. But this is quite beautiful.
  • It is very symbolic of who we are and where we come from. As you can see, this is in a dome shape, like that of an igloo. Where we used to live.
  • Tell me a little bit about what we're seeing right in the center of the circle. This is-- the sled is qamutik. And that's the only way we used to travel. And this is the long knife for a man. And it's in the style that so that it's easy to make small blocks to make igloo.
  • Right. The backs of all of the chairs are seal skin.
  • Seal is very important to us, as food, as clothing, as such things as these beautiful seats. And the inner part of the seating is reserved for elders.
  • That's wonderful. Thank you for showing me the legislative assembly.
  • Yes. Thank you.
  • Here we are at the rock garden in town. And this is the elder center and their day center behind us.
  • A lot of people will come out here and just sit at lunchtime and eat their lunch. And sometimes there will be special occasions happening here. In a way, the artistic talent has been transformed into more of a modern talent.
  • I love this. This is great.
  • So here we are at the museum which has quite a story to it.
  • Certainly. This building-- the older section-- used to be the Hudson's Bay Company warehouse.
  • OK.
  • In a satellite community here.
  • So this was not here.
  • This was not here. In 1984 I believe, it was dragged from Apex community all the way to here.
  • Dragged here literally.
  • Dragged here literally. It has been in business and in constant use. I just hosted Northern Premier's reception here just a week ago.
  • Right. OK. Fantastic. That's great. Thank you.
  • And joining us now is the Premier Eve Aariak, and also the President of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., Kathy Towtongie. Thank you both for joining us. And thank you for the tour, by the way.
  • Oh thank you. It was a pleasure.
  • So tell me, because you're the Premier and there's 19 elected members that elected you as Premier. And then you also-- explain the government, how this works. Cause you're the president.
  • I'm elected territorially. And Nunavut is due process, the Nunavut government, and the Inuit land deal.
  • A lot of people, Premier, would be a little surprised when I said a little while ago that this is not a political party-based situation. It's more of a consensus government. Tell me about that.
  • Yes. We have a consensus style government. Meaning that we don't have political parties. I know this must be very surprising and unbelievable I guess, for the rest of Canada. But that's how we are. And this a way very much connected to how we, as Inuit, operate in terms of discussions and coming to collective decisions. So I think it really works for Nunavut.
  • Considering the size, this is the biggest-- I guess, parliamentary situation in the world, in terms of area. And the challenge to try to connect with the people that are here, tell me about that.
  • The Inuit own land the size of Germany. And the Nunavut government, including Nunavut, is the child of the Inuit land claim, which took 20 years to negotiate. And Inuit, we do pay taxes like the rest of Canada.
  • Tell me something that you would like people to know about Iqaluit, about Nunavut, that maybe if they haven't had a chance to visit, what strikes you, what you love most.
  • Well as Cathy just mentioned, it's 20% of land mass of Canada. It's huge. We have 25 communities. And we have of course, a functioning government. And we also have a representative for our Inuit population within Nunavut.
  • And Nunavut has so much potential. Young population.
  • Very young.
  • Yes. Eager to learn new skills, to which will transform Nunavut into an economic powerhouse in the future. And rich in culture and language. And very much in tune with what's going on around the world, at the same time, entrenched in our cultural world here.
  • We have such potential in terms of natural resources and mineral resources. There is a high activity in mineral exploration right now. Just a few years ago, we just saw our first gold bar poured in Nunavut. So it's very exciting. And as a young territory-- as you know, we're only 12 years old-- there is so much potential and so much will happened within the next little while.
  • And over the course of the show, we're going to be talking a little bit more about the rich cultural history, the kinds of things are going on. Not even to mention the arts. And we haven't even got to that yet, but we will. Cause it's unbelievable. The tapestries, the carvings. We're going to get to all of that in just a little while. Thank you both for joining me.
  • Thank you. Thank you for coming to Nunavut.
  • Happy Nunavut Day.
  • And Happy Nunavut Day.
  • And good morning. Welcome to Iqaluit. A special edition of Canada AM. It's about 11 degrees here. A little cooler than the average for July, which would be about 15. Which is a lot warmer than the minus 30 that they would hit in January. So we are so pleased to be broadcasting from here today.
  • And we are joined by a special guest, the federal health minister, Leona Aglukkaq, who represents this area. Thank you for being here. Happy Nunavut Day.
  • Happy Nunavut Day. [INAUDIBLE] Thank you for being here.
  • And thank you very much. So tell me about Nunavut Day, because it's relatively young in terms of the annual celebration, because of Nunavut becoming a territory.
  • Well in 1993, Prime Minister Mulroney, along with Northern leaders, signed the historic land claims agreement, that Inuit worked so hard to achieve. And that paved the way to create a new territory of Nunavut. And that was created in 1999.
  • Today is a time to reflect and think back of our accomplishments. And in short 13 years, we've been able to deal with a lot of issues, and develop a new territory, establish a public government. But we are proud Canadians. We are proud of our culture. The Inuit here are proud Canadians, and contribute to Canada, and want to showcase our rich history, our rich culture. Today is a time to reflect back on our accomplishments and remember those people that have made this possible.
  • The rich history, the tradition, the culture. Really the ancient traditions, and yet here we are sitting right outside the legislative assembly. Really modern. And the way government works is very modern in terms of this expanse of territory.
  • The government here, I mean, we have a consensus government. As a member of Parliament, I have a riding, the only riding in Canada that covers three time zones. It's massive.
  • How do you do it?
  • It's a challenge. But I mean, it's very rewarding. There's 30,000 people in Nunavut. 80% percent of the people, of 30,000 people, are Inuit. So we are part of any other regions that is contributing to Canada. We're proud of our culture and our heritage. And we'll continue to practice our way of life. Our hunting is very important to us. And educating Canadians on the importance of the wildlife here for our daily living. Seal, or the polar bear. That's part of what we want to share with Canadians. And today is also an opportunity to do that.
  • For us, one of the reasons we wanted to do the broadcast here is to kind of shine the light on a place that a lot of people haven't been. What would you like to tell people that are sitting at home, watching this broadcast, learning a little bit about Nunavut and Iqaluit. What would you like to tell them that they may not know about this area.
  • I would say come and visit firsthand and see the beautiful part of Canada's North. We are a rich culture, we are a thriving region, and we are proud to be part of Canada and contribute to Canada. See firsthand, and don't just read about us. Come and see firsthand what we are able to accomplish and what we're dealing with. We have the challenges, but we also offer a huge opportunity for many Northerners, as well as Canada.
  • I also noticed we're wearing similar earrings. These are the ulus. Which are the--
  • This is the ulu. And that's the bow head. I"m wearing the bow head baleen there.
  • And the ulu is the woman's knife.
  • Yes it is. It's been used for many, many years. At the same time, we continue to use that today and promote that. And I encourage you to buy one. I think every woman should have a ulu. And it's very handy. It's great for cutting pizza.
  • Thank you so much.
  • Thank you for having us. And welcome to Nunavut.
  • Thank you so much.
  • I want to introduce you to Looty Pijamini. He is a cover from Grise Fiord, here in Nunavut. Boy, I tell you what. You have a lot of fans out here. Don't you? Like at-- holy cow. They love the work. Absolutely. And your wife is out there. Absolutely fantastic. So you do some carving.
  • And you're working now on a huge project for the government here, right? What is that project?
  • It's for 50th Anniversary for NTI Nunavut. Tunngavik. And they're going to have [INAUDIBLE].
  • And you're carving a huge rock.
  • Yeah.
  • Yeah. How long is that gonna take you?
  • Well we got three months this year, and three months next year.
  • Six months.
  • Yes.
  • Total.
  • Yes.
  • OK so these are some of the things you carved. Let's start with this. Can I lift this?
  • Yeah.
  • OK. So what's this made of? What is it? And what's it made of?
  • It's limestone from Grise Fiord, where I live. Just around the area.
  • OK, and how long would it take you to carve something like that?
  • That take me one day, half a day.
  • Half a day!
  • Yeah.
  • Wow. OK. We'll take that then. No. So, these are some of the things you carve. So this is what?
  • This is walrus ivory.
  • Walrus ivory. So it's a walrus tusk.
  • Yeah. Yeah.
  • And what would you carve out of this?
  • I can make lots of little pieces out of it. Lots of little jewelry. Or I could make some bigger pieces. Whatever I want to do.
  • Whatever you want to do.
  • Yeah.
  • Now these are very interesting here. I'm pretty sure a lot of people haven't seen these. That is a polar bear claw, correct?
  • Yes. Polar bear claw.
  • What would you make out of that?
  • I would cut the top part, and then clean it up. Then I would put a cap on it, like ivory. Either a polar bear head, or eagle head. All different kinds.
  • OK. And what is this? This is one other thing.
  • This is musk ox horn.
  • Musk ox horn.
  • Right. Musk ox horn.
  • Right. And that's the same thing.
  • That's the same type of thing. And here's some of the intricate tools you have, and absolutely fantastic.
  • Well listen, Looty, I want to thank you for coming and telling us about this this morning. We'll be keeping our eye on the carving you're doing. And Looty Pijamini, from Grise Fiord. Lot of fans here. Lot of eyes on you this morning. That's fantastic. Nice to see you, my friend.
  • In one of the most remote places in the world, the Canadian Arctic, the Inuit people have survived for thousands of years. Their traditions are ancient. Those traditions, some in transition, are still practiced today.
  • We are joined by [? Nataluk ?] [? Arnakuk ?], who is the Deputy Minister of Culture and Heritage, and thank you so much for joining us. So tell me a little bit about-- when we talk about tradition and transition, what defines the Inuit people?
  • I think what defines us is we're still a hunting culture. Mind you, a lot of people my generation are weekend hunters now. As my father became. He became a weekend hunter. Before he started work for [INAUDIBLE] up north, he hunted for a living. And that's how it was.
  • So you've seen the change in your lifetime. When you think to your grandparents, or even your great grandparents, and how they lived on the land, and the hunting and fishing and their tradition. Tell me about that.
  • When I think of the stories that my parents told me, it was a really different way of life, because that's not what I grew up with. Although I did get a sense of that when we went camping in the summers with my family. And of course, my father went hunting every weekend, and so he would bring food back onto the table, or onto the floor, so to speak.
  • So some of the traditions did carry on, and we did learn some of those customs. Because it wasn't like when my parents and their generation moved off the land into the communities, that there was an instant wall. There wasn't. Of course, there was a gradual change for some things. But some things changed overnight.
  • Tell me about the transition, and the modernization, and the change that has happened, most particularly in Nunavut, well, Iqaluit, over the past 10 years. Things have changed rapidly.
  • I think the last 10 years for Iqaluit and Nunavut is that there's so much more travel and mobility for people. People are moving to other communities in far greater numbers because of jobs and training and education. I don't think there's been a huge, big change than when my parents moved off the land. I think that was far more-- it was bigger then.
  • For us, I think that we've had a hand in control and choice in what we want to do today, like in the last 10 years. For our parents, it really was not the same.
  • One of the things that is just so striking for people who visit here, is how creative the Inuit people are, and the kinds of things that are done in tapestry, in carving. I mean, even what you're wearing. It's done with such incredible detail. The arts have survived.
  • I think there's a new art, and new crafts that have emerged. What I'm wearing is semi-traditional in that when the whalers came up north, they brought different kinds of goods, and they brought beads. And my mother instructed my aunt to make the beaded part before she died. And my aunt made that.
  • But my mother made that, the whole amouti. If you look at these, these were from my great, great grandparents. My mother inherited them from her mother, who inherited from her mother. And these are pennies from when the whalers first came up north. So new traditions emerged when the [? haninuk ?] came up.
  • And the language that you would have spoken in your home would have been--
  • Inuktitut. My first language and the only language in our home.
  • So, but the people here have different dialects as well.
  • Yes. People have different dialects. As I said just a few minutes ago, that there's a lot more travel, and people traveling. So, and because of radio, people are much more aware of other dialects, and learning to understand them, and even picking them up and speaking them.
  • That is just stunning. Thank you so much for sharing that with us. And telling us about your story and your family. Thank you so much.
  • It's my pleasure to introduce to you a couple of Arctic Winter Games athletes, and both recipients of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Award as well. Johnny Issaluk, nice to see you. Thomas Johnston, nice to see you. Johnny, how are you? Good, this morning. So tell us-- oh by the way, I have to say, Iqaluit is now trending on Twitter because of the show, which is great. And apparently the number one question is, what are these bugs? FYI-- they're mosquitoes. So there you go.
  • So tell us about the Arctic Winter Games and what Thomas is going to show us now.
  • The Arctic Games are traditional games that were played hundreds of years ago for mental health and physical strength.
  • Right. OK. For well-being. Yeah, absolutely. So, Thomas, what's this game called here? The one that was down here, you've raised it apparently.
  • Yeah, one foot high kick. He's going to jump off with two feet, kick the target with one foot and land on the same foot he kicked the target with.
  • And how high do we think that is?
  • Seven, two.
  • Seven feet, two inches.
  • Alright fellows.
  • That's the highest this stand can go.
  • That's the highest.
  • Yeah.
  • Wow! Oh my gosh, that's fantastic! Wow! No kidding. Alright. So that was seven feet, two inches. Alright, what's the next one?
  • The one I reach where I'm going to balance on one hand, and tough the target with my free hand, and put my hand down before anything else touches.
  • OK, let's see that one. Alright. He's going to balance on one hand. Alright.
  • Oh my gosh! That's fantastic. Do a high five. There you go. Alright. OK. I was just doing that this morning in my hotel room, too. And the last one is what? The head pull?
  • Yeah.
  • What is that?
  • It's a strength games to strengthen my shoulders and my neck because we had carry our animals long distances, so we need this.
  • So you need the man to do that. OK. So this is Thomas and Johnny. So how this is working out here is, Johnny Issaluk in the seal skin pants, Thomas Johnstone in the regular black pants. And away we go. Alright I'm not 100% sure who won there.
  • I might have won.
  • You won because you kept the band around your head.
  • Yeah. Either I take the strap, or I make him pass a certain line.
  • Oh. OK.
  • But he fought to the bitter end.
  • Nice work. Thomas, thank you. And Johnny, thank you very much. That was absolutely terrific.
  • OK. I'm just protecting our next guest from the flying saucer attack here. There we go. Listen, I want you to say hello to Andrew Kavik. He's an Inuit artist from Pangnirtung. And this is Toonoo Sharky, and he is a sculptor. And he is from Cape Dorset. And boy, we've got some of your works here.
  • So Andrew, I'm going to hold one up for example. This right here. So when you do a work like this, does this just come from your imagination? Do you just draw it as you go?
  • I try to make something that would be what we like to do. We like to go fishing. Fishing poles. So wintertime or spring. So I tried something that having a little bit of traditional picture.
  • So you do this one in color. And this is another one you've done, of course, with polar bears. And this is in black and white. What did would use to draw this?
  • This is done as an etching. Etched with nitric acid.
  • Oh really? OK.
  • Yeah. So it has to go through a press in order to make that one.
  • Here's another spectacular one. How long would it take you to complete something like this, this polar bear one?
  • If I'm really anxious to finish it, I'll do it in one day.
  • One day?
  • Yeah.
  • Wow. These are absolutely terrific. Thanks for sharing those with us. They are absolutely spectacular.
  • Now that's the artist part, the drawing part, cause you're an artist as well, Toonu, but you do some carving. And you're from Cape Dorset.
  • Yes.
  • So tell me about this carving. This is a beauty.
  • It's called [SPEAKING INUKTITUT] but I really cannot pronounce it in English.
  • But that's OK. That's the Inuktitut way. So what's this carved out of, first of all? What stone is this?
  • It's called serpentine.
  • Serpentine.
  • Most call it like, soapstone.
  • Soapstone. Right.
  • Yeah. I'm going to ask you the same question I asked Andrew. How long to carve something like this?
  • About one week and a half.
  • A week and a half to carve this.
  • Yes. Yes.
  • And so this is-- what is this?
  • It's a face. Human face with big feet.
  • Are these his hands?
  • Yes, they're sort of like hands.
  • As you flip it around. OK. I'll help you. Oh just a minute. We'll get Tina in here. Tina , can you help flip it around?
  • No, that's OK.
  • You're good? OK.
  • On the back is like a sea mammal.
  • A sea mammal, yes.
  • That's sort of have like, seal arms.
  • Right. Wow.
  • It has--
  • OK. And these other ones over here now, what kind of stone are they carved out of?
  • They're same stone, just a different color.
  • A different color.
  • Yes.
  • Alright. And so if this takes you about a week and a half, this big one here, what would this bird take you to do?
  • About two days.
  • Two days to do that.
  • Yes.
  • Wow. That is absolutely terrific. And some other ones over here as well.
  • Yes.
  • And you know what? These things, I mean-- can you produce enough for the demand? I mean, people want to buy these. So you have to be busy carving.
  • Yes. I mostly sell them locally. Back home. Yes.
  • I know you're doing a great job. Toonu and Andrew, thank you very much for bringing your stuff here this morning. That's terrific. I know you're really holding onto this. We're all afraid this is going to tip over. But I think we're good now. OK.
  • Is throat singing. So we brought in Karen Flaherty and Kiah Hachey to perform.
  • This is the mosquito. [SPEAKING INUKTITUT]
  • That was fantastic. Tell me how long have you've been doing this for?
  • I've been throat singing for about five years now.
  • And you've both been doing this together for how long?
  • About four years.
  • Tell me a little bit about the history of it. I notice you're holding each other quite close, and you're working with each other. Tell me about the Inuit tradition of throat singing.
  • Well, throat singing was traditionally done between two women. It's a form of music using a combination of sounds from your throat, voice, and breathing. And it's a friendly competition, which is why you work with a partner to make the song flow the way it does.
  • And how, when you're working with each other-- because you're learning from each other at the same time, as you perform-- so how important it is that you get the time to practice with each other, as opposed to just throat singing with any other partner?
  • Well, if you know the same songs, then you can pretty much throat sing with anybody, as long as you have the same rhythm and know the same sounds as the other one, I guess.
  • If you can understand the way throat singing works, then you can pretty much do it with anyone. Especially depending on how much you do practice, because it takes a lot of practice.
  • I imagine it does.
  • Kaia and Karen, thank you so much for that performance. We'll be right back.
  • So I'm on a breakwater, which is in Iqaluit, sinking into Frobisher Bay. In 1576, British Explorer Martin Frobisher sailed into Frobisher Bay, thinking, mistakenly, he'd found the route to China. The Bay is 240 kilometers long. It is 40 kilometers wide at the mouth. And this bay has some of the highest tides in the world, almost rivaling the Bay of Fundy. Tides here can get up to 33 meters.
  • So, how deep is that? Well first of all, you can see this particular-- well and you can see the boats of course, that's classic for tide that goes up and down-- but you can see these vehicles here. And when the tide is high, the water line comes just below me, so these vehicles would be under water. So that's the tide, to give you a perspective.
  • Now, we have some video of what it looks like at high tide. And I can tell you that at this time right now, it literally is the lowest the tide will be. So this is what it looks like at high tide. And of course, depending on time and the gravitational pull, these tides can get up to 35 feet at the end of the bay because of the way it's shaped.
  • So you've got this beautiful look when the water is high, as you can see, it's absolutely spectacular looking. And I think no matter where you are tide-wise, it always looks a little better at high tide than low tide, because you don't have the mud. But the thing about it is too, when you're at low tide here, you're literally looking at the ocean floor. And that's what we have here.
  • So this is of course the point, that the break water where I am, where the fisherman from Iqaluit would get their boats and go out and seal and fish. And boy, they were out in earnest last night, come in, they all parked their boats there, so that they can easily access them.
  • So very interesting about these tides, and surprising to learn how high they actually are here in Frobisher Bay, and of course, the city of Iqaluit behind me.
  • Growing mining operations are one of the main employers for the Iqaluit area. For every mine that is built, almost 600 jobs are created. And with nearly 100 exploration projects in the works, it is clear the future of Nunavut could well be under the ground, so to speak.
  • So we brought in Eric Cross, he's the director of Minerals and Petroleum Resources for the government of Nunavut. Thank you for coming in.
  • It's a pleasure.
  • So tell me what kinds of things we're talking about when we say mining is a big industry? So we're talking gold as well?
  • Well, gold is certainly hot on the exploration side. More than half of the projects currently going on are looking for gold. On the development side, it runs the gamut. Certainly gold, base metals like zinc, and copper. Diamonds as well.
  • If we were mining for mosquitoes we'd be all wealthy. But this is one of things-- sorry. Just a few of them around. So go on.
  • And iron ore actually, is really prospective right now. There's a big development project up island that could be starting next year.
  • That's just massive. For every mine, 600 jobs.
  • Potentially within this decade, we could be looking in the range of about 5,000, if everything comes off.
  • So tell me about the samples and the specimens that you brought in to talk about this morning.
  • Well, I think we've kind of tried to run out the range. This one here is actually historic, that we see on the left. That comes from the Polaris mine, which was a lead zinc operation, mostly zinc. This is really rich in zinc. It runs about 14% zinc.
  • Polaris ran from about '83 to 2002. And it was at it's time the most northerly mine in the world. And that was near Resolute, way up in the high Arctic islands. So it was quite a pathfinder for Arctic operations.
  • And this one here?
  • This one here has a more local flavor. It's actually, you would find this one here maybe about 200 kilometers in that direction. This is a kimberlite from the Chidliak Project that's run by Peregrine Diamonds out of Vancouver. And these are diamond-bearing rocks.
  • Oh wow. That's lovely. Can't see them in there, though. And this.
  • These are smaller. These are a couple of gold samples. This is from the current operating mine north of Baker Lake. And this is from Meadow Bank, so that's a gold mine. And this is from another nearby gold project run by the same operator, Agnico-Eagle Mines.
  • That's quartz rich. There's a little teeny-- it will not show up on camera-- but there's a little teeny tiny speck of visible gold in here.
  • Oh really.
  • Yeah.
  • That's fantas-- oh yeah. OK. That's great. OK. So then the big one over there.
  • The big one is the big one. This is Mary River. This is iron ore. And it's iron ore that is essentially shovel ready. Just break it up, put it on a ship, and take it straight to the steel manufactures. Just like that. So that's what makes it an exceptional. There's no treatment involved apart from just physically knocking it up into sort of golf ball-like chunks.
  • I'd challenge you a little bit to maybe see if you want to pick that one up.
  • Cause it's so dense.
  • It's so dense. It's essentially as high an iron content as you can get in nature.
  • There we go.
  • That piece is about 40 pounds.
  • It's deceiving because it is that dense. Wow. OK.
  • Another little trick here is a simple magnet, so you can test it. There's two common minerals that make up iron ore, either hematite or magnetite. This one contains a fair amount of magnetite. So you can see it's quite magnetic.
  • So when we talk about these exploration projects, there's a number of them not yet open, but potential.
  • Yeah.
  • So whereabouts are they? Are they scattered around?
  • Well we have a graphic.
  • OK. Yes, the potential mine openings.
  • They're across the territory. So if we go from west to east, these [? Isak ?] Lake and Hackett River are mostly base metals, mostly zinc.
  • Right.
  • Back River is gold. Kiggavik then, is uranium, up near Baker Lake. The two gold projects I showed you. One mine and one developing mine. [? Metabak ?] and Meliadine. Then Mary River, the big piece. Another smaller iron ore project south of that. And then Chidliak, the diamond project. It's really on an interesting trajectory right now. Barry Prosh, thank you for coming in bringing the samples and talking about this. Appreciate it.
  • It was great. Thanks.
  • OK. So I understand there's a sign in the park, right at the Arctic Circle that says, you're at the Arctic Circle. And that's the sign we're looking for. We've got tundra and rock and that's it. Tundra, rock, and ice. And you wouldn't believe how magnificent this looks.
  • Well when I first heard I was coming to the Arctic Circle, I envisioned many things. And I can guarantee you that this was not in anything I thought. I mean, this is absolutely spectacular. Where are we now, exactly, Monty?
  • Well, we're in the Arctic Circle, in Baffin Island. In Nunavut. Auyuittuq National Park.
  • And if we had taken the boat, how long would it have taken us to get to this point once the boat dropped us off?
  • Would've taken a full day's hike to get here.
  • One day. OK. How many people a year come into this park?
  • We typically get between 300 and 500 visitors a year. But we've had as high as 1,000 people come to this park.
  • So the truth of the matter is, that this spectacular area has not been seen by that many people in the world.
  • True. Not that many people come here. It takes a great amount of planning.
  • I want to ask you what the best thing about this park is.
  • Wow. The best thing about this park is the mountains, and just the ability to hike through this pass.
  • I think the best thing about this park is being able to see this sign.
  • Frobisher Bay is 240 kilometers from where we stand to the mouth of the bay. And somewhere between me and the head of the bay, there's an ice jam which is preventing right now, two ships of the sea lift from getting in. And what's on these ships are supplies for people to last them a whole year. And you have to buy all this a year in advance.
  • Now Sherry Kemplong is here. She's lived here 28 years. What do you have to buy for the sea lift every year?
  • Well we buy food that's going to last us a year. We buy lots of toilet paper. We buy diapers for little kids paper towels, goods that are gonna last. So flour, sugar, if we're going to bake stuff. Canned goods, laundry detergent, soap, dishwasher detergent, flooring Swiffer cloths, all that stuff.
  • And I do know you're waiting for flooring, because you had some construction done on your house. And your kitchen floor is out there. Is that correct?
  • Actually, it's my whole living room and half my kitchen, is on that boat.
  • It's out there somewhere.
  • On that boat.
  • OK. So you buy for four or five households in your family. So you do something unique. What do you do?
  • Well it's not unique. A lot of us do this.
  • OK.
  • We fly to Ottawa on a sea lift run. So we go down and we go into the stores with great crates, great baskets, or flats, and we go all over the store. And we pick up the pieces that we need.
  • Right.
  • So if you want 15 cases-- which we just did-- of toilet paper, you pile them on the crate. And you drive around to the store. You leave them at the cash register. You buy $3,000 or $4,000 worth of food and supplies. And you leave them there and walk away.
  • OK. What happens then?
  • It's very disturbing.
  • Yeah. What happens then?
  • Then you call a company, which you've also already prearranged, to come and pack it up for you. So they come and get it. They crate it in crates that are plastic coated and wood coated, and then they drive them to Montreal, to the port, and put them on the ship. And then we wait.
  • As you're waiting for your kitchen and living floors,
  • Exactly, as we are.
  • Which is out there somewhere.
  • Right. The sooner it arrives, the better.
  • Well Sherry, thank you very much for your story. It's terrific. Nice to see you. I should tell you too, that they bring in-- cars come in here as well-- it costs about $2,500 to get a car up here, depending on how big it is. But when the barge brings it in, and the barge will bring it in, and set your car, and when it becomes low tide, that's where you get it. I mean, they set it during low tide. And if you don't get it in the 12 hours of low tide, your car could--
  • It could. Yeah. It could be under water.
  • It could. Bye-bye.
  • Bye-bye, yeah.
  • Hey, hey!
  • Ho, Ho!
  • High prices
  • Gotta go!
  • Protests in Nunavut are drawing attention to the issue of high food prices in the North. while the cost of buying groceries is expensive, there are some cost effective alternatives, but you have to order in large quantities.
  • You can have non-perishable foods, household goods, and even vehicles shipped from the South. But that means paying up front for a year's worth of supplies. That's why when you return from a trip south, you never arrive empty handed.
  • So here we are, I'm once again joined by the former national leader of Inuit, Mary Simon, to talk a little bit more. So what we've done is, we did shopping. You helped us out with this. To compare the prices of certain items. So we've got the Iqaluit price, and we've got the price from, say Ontario, for example.
  • So this is orange juice, and certainly by weight. But this, $3.99 in the south, Ontario. $19.29 for that, to buy that here. Stunning.
  • It's stunning. But It's the way it is in the North. It's the way it is in the Arctic. And the smaller the community, the higher the cost, a lot of time. So we are in Iqaluit today. And, you know, planes come in every day. Whereas in the smaller communities, you have less transportation, more costs, higher costs.
  • So this would be even higher in other places.
  • Yeah, it would be. So I would say this would be considered a nutritious food in southern Canada. But if it's $19.29 up here, and families don't have--
  • It's out of reach for most people.
  • Yeah, it's out of reach for most people. Because high income is not a typical family setting. People don't normally have high incomes in the north, jobs are pretty scarce.
  • I just want to take a look at some of the other things that we've got. So $5.19 if you wanted to buy that in the South, but up here, $8.19. Cauliflower, similar. $3.00.
  • But those are probably subsidized by the Nutrition North, which is a new program that Canada has put into place. And that's being reorganized.
  • But not all items are on that subsidy list.
  • No, it's based on what is considered nutritious. Whereas in the Inuit community, what might be considered an essential, may not be considered an essential in southern Canada.
  • So speaking of something that's not considered essential. Diapers. So maybe you get this for $13.97 at home, is what we priced. $24.99 for 12 diapers.
  • Yes, well, it is an essential. Because nobody uses cloth diapers anymore. I did when I was younger.
  • But it's not considered essential.
  • It's not considered essential at the moment, but it should be an essential element of everyday life in the North.
  • Milk.
  • Look at milk. I mean, all our children drink milk. And adults drink milk. And this is out of reach for a lot of people that don't have the kind of income. And people say that people should be more aware about nutritious foods. And there is an educational aspect to it. But if you don't have the income to buy the food, and you go to the store, and you end up buying something that's cheaper, it may not be nutritious, but you need to feed your family.
  • Therefore, there is a lot of food insecurity in the North. Whether you're in Iqaluit or Nunavut, or all across the Arctic, there is food insecurity. Because we don't live the way we did years ago when I was growing up. We depended on all the basics like making banic with flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Those were the basics, and then we hunted for the rest or our food. A lot of families can't do that anymore up here.
  • One of the things that we were speaking about, as you heard one of the students mentioning, mental illness, addiction is also a big thing in this community, and also a big concern of yours.
  • It certainly is. I was going to talk about it when I was talking about education, because it ties in together very much with the education. If your physical body is well, you need to have a mental healthy mind as well. And unless you have both, it's very difficult to function on a day to day basis, whether you're an adult or child.
  • So we need to address those issues. And we don't have the services. And that's why we keep saying, as taxpayers, we deserve to have the services for our people up North.
  • OK. Mary Simon, thank you for coming and talking about this.
  • You're welcome.
  • Back in February, fire tore through some townhouses in Iqaluit, leaving dozens of people homeless, making an already difficult housing situation even worse. Housing is scarce in most northern communities, this far north anyway. And that's one of the issues, just one of the challenges that the community faces.
  • Joining us to talk a little bit more that is former Inuit leader, Mary Simon. The fire was awful. Most particularly because every single house was not only taken, but in many cases, overcrowded. Tell me about the housing as an issue, and what's being done. What can be done.
  • Good morning, Beverly.
  • I'm just welcoming you in my language.
  • I appreciate this. Lovely.
  • Because we speak our language, and we are very proud of it, so we like to welcome people in Inuktitut, which is the language of our people.
  • Housing is a very serious issue. Probably when you walk around town, you don't see any homeless people out on the street, so we call it a hidden homelessness, because our people bring into their home to live with them. So what you can end up with is two or three families living in one house.
  • Right.
  • Which means that there's a lot of overcrowding taking place. And the shortage of housing is not just contained in Nunavut, but it's also across the other Inuit regions, in Nunavik, which is northern Quebec, Nunaat, which is in northern Labrador, and the Inuvialuit region in the Western Arctic. And we have such a shortage of housing, that it's very difficult to at least bring it up to par where individual families can have homes.
  • And we've been negotiating with governments for years about this, but there's no end to it. It affects the lives of our people on a day to day basis. The conditions in the home are not always conducive a healthy environment. Poor ventilation or even mold in the house. Respiratory issues in children is an issue with families. So you know, this issue is a really critical issue in the North, and it needs to be addressed.
  • One of the other areas that you have made certainly a priority as well, is education. We talked a little bit about the dropout rate, which is significant. But we were just talking before we came up on camera, and you were saying, even for those who do graduate, it's tough.
  • Education is one of the key issues that are facing us today. Because when we talk about all the economic development that's going on in the region, in Nunavut, in other parts of the Arctic, you're looking at big business. Mining, oil and gas, and we do have companies that are going to be benefiting from all of this development activity. But what I always worry about is that we're going to leave our families and our communities behind, because our children are not getting through the education system.
  • I know people are trying very hard, the educators are trying hard, the jurisdictions are working together with us, as the national organization to develop a new strategy-- well we've developed a new strategy that will help ground our people in their language and their culture, and get through school grounded in our identity.
  • But if you can't get the children through school, after grade then high school, and then go on to post secondary, they're not going to take on the job that are available to them up here. So they won't become the job force. So that's what we're trying to avoid. And we're working really hard to try and make sure that that gap doesn't keep getting bigger, that it actually keeps getting smaller.
  • And interesting to know about the strategy that is in place to try to tackle that as well. May Simon, thank you so much for your time.
  • You're welcome.
  • Nunavut is well-known for its fishing, it's crystal clear waters teaming with magnificent Arctic char. But not only is it a sport fisherman's dream, the commercial fishery is also big business. Here to talk more about that is Wade Lynch, he the director of fishing and sealing in the Nunavut Department of the Environment. Thank you for joining us.
  • We mentioned Arctic char, which is a big part of it. But the commercial fishing industry here is considered still fairly young, right?
  • Yes.
  • So tell me about how fast it's growing.
  • Well over the last 10 years, the offshore fishery is gone from 1,500 metric tons of turbot to 10,000 metric tons of turbot, based on sound science, of course, the catch per unit effort of the fisheries,
  • So it's grown exponentially. It's gone from several million landed value to over $80 million landed value today.
  • One of the things that you have to look at in terms of a commercial fishery, and one that's growing as fast as this is, is sustainability. Tell me about the research going into that.
  • Yes, that's a very important element of it. And we've taken a very cautious approach in fisheries development in Nunavut, with our partners of course. And we take a much lower percentage of our quotas than in other regions. And we also have invested heavily in science and research, ourselves. And our partners here, which is [? Intia ?] NWNB , DFO, and our Department of Environment, have invested in our own research here.
  • And also have our own research vessel that's doing research in the inshore. That's all tied towards sustainability.
  • And what kind of research on the inshore is it doing? What's it looking at?
  • Well last year was our first year for our research vessel. And it looks at everything from reducing bycatch of Greenland shark for [INAUDIBLE] fishery. Also looks at the locations of turbot and the movement of fish, as well as what types of fish we have in certain areas, and overall assessment of the environment in that area that the vessel's in.
  • It has a number of capabilities. It can do anything from bottom mapping, to hook a line, sampling equipment, it's a very sophisticated piece of equipment. So it's all in place to do and help identify and understand the resource better.
  • So you mentioned turbot, and so, turbot and shrimp, Arctic char, sealing of course. What's the biggest portion of the fisheries industry here?
  • The most important culturally is char, of course. Because every community has a char source. It's a food source, as well as a commercial element to it. But the big value fishery is the offshore turbot and shrimp. Like I said, it's a landed value between $75 and $85 million value. It's growing. There's four major Nunavut companies who own vessels in Nunavut, and they're landing fish as we speak now. So it's a growing industry.
  • All right. And thank you so much for joining us. Wayne Lynch.

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