Across the High Arctic: Looking Into the Future and Honouring the Past
Catalogue Number: CTV732
Subject: Canadian History, Canadian Social Studies, Canadian World Studies, Environmental Studies, First Nations Studies, Geography, History, Indigenous Issues, Indigenous Peoples, Science, Social Sciences, Social Studies
Grade Level: 9 - 12, Post Secondary
Country Of Origin: Canada
Copyright Year: 2017
Running Time: 44:00
Closed Captions: Yes
Broadcast on CTV’s W5 as North by Northwest
W5 chronicles a spectacular, one-of-a-kind journey through the fabled Northwest Passage to the front line of climate change and to the northern settlement of Resolute Bay, a painful place in Canada’s dark Arctic past.
350 Canadians joined this leg of the Canada C3 voyage travelling through the storied waterway – a coveted trade shortcut explorers had long attempted to discover, but died trying. Sir John Franklin and his 128 men perished in these waters after departing England in 1845 aboard two ships. Today, there are fears for the future. Once a sea of frozen ice, today sailboats can make there way through the passage - a sign that the ice here is melting, threatening food sources Inuit have long relied upon. And tourism is on the rise as a result of more open waterways. There are more cruise ships passing through -- sometimes with more people on board than the populations of the towns they're traveling to. Claimet change is just one of the issues concerning the passengers.
A major part of the C3 voyage is also to shed light on Canada's dark past: forced relocation, residential school abuses, and the overall colonial legacy, which continues to impact Northern communities. Many of these conversations happened inside the Canada C3 Legacy room, built in consultation with the Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund -- a powerful way to keep both of their memories alive: the late Canadian singer whose evocative music and iconic lyrics resonated across the globe, and the 12-year-old boy who died of hunger and exposure trying to find his way home after running away from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School in Kenora, Ontario.
The point Inuit participants wanted to make is that even though the journey was about celebrating Canada's 150th, it was also about honouring the past, and that communities existed here long before July 1, 1867. The vessel served as a powerful symbol of a remarkable voyage: not only of discovery, but also about a journey to come to terms with Canada's historical scars.
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