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Suicide Prevention Day: Social inequality and budget cuts are a matter of life and death

"Sadly, every person you ask from the Northern Inuit regions knows someone who has killed themselves. I personally have four cousins who have committed suicide. People you know your whole life. You grow and laugh with them and then they are not there anymore because they decide to take their own lives. The numbers are an epidemic, if these numbers existed in southern Canada, it would be a national emergency and there would be measures to address it."  

Sobering comments from Terry Audla, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), the National Inuit Organization in Canada. Audla is the referring to the alarmingly high rates of suicide among Canada's Inuit population, which are 11 times higher than the national average.  

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On World Suicide Prevention Day Inuit representatives gather to talk about suicide's impact

Mary Simon, the president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami. Photo: Melissa Irwin.
With Inuit suicide rates 11 times higher than the rest of Canada, leaders and activists gathered in Ottawa to discuss the tragedy.

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Live from the NWT: Celebrating northern women

From the Northwest Territories: a cultural event for International Women's Day.

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Columnists

'Okpik's Dream' examines Inuit man's life through dog sledding

Harry Okpik with director Laura Rietveld. Photo: Alex Margineanu

A conversation on the frozen sea of Canada's North is so seared into the memory of filmmaker Laura Rietveld that five years later, she still gets entranced and chilled recalling what she heard.

The Montreal director was in the middle of a dog-sledding trip with musher Harry Okpik. They had paused to have tea and lunch -- in fact Laura's aunt, who was teaching in the Ungava Bay community of Quaqtaq, had fallen off her sled. It was time for a break.

"Harry spoke about dog sledding and his desire to share that passion," recounted Rietveld. "I remember two things from that afternoon: his desire for a meaningful life wrapped up in dog sledding and the dog slaughter --  that was the first time I'd ever heard about it."

What we're (not) talking about when we talk about the Franklin expeditions

"The Arctic Council planning a search for Sir John Franklin," by Stephen Pearce

It was beginning to seem like it would never happen. For a sixth year, the Harper government was sending a team into the Arctic to search for the lost Franklin ships. The expeditions were starting to seem as doomed as Franklin's own: the British explorer famously got stuck in Arctic ice during his 1845 expedition to navigate the Northwest Passage. He never made it. Franklin and all 128 men from his two British navy ships -- HMS Erebus and HMS Terror -- escaped to land, where one by one they died from a somewhat predictable inability to survive in the Arctic environment, resorting to a bit of cannibalism along the way.

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Davy Jones Locker
| September 11, 2014

Harper's Franklin 'discovery': not really discovered.

Dead colonial explorers attempting to discover land already discovered by the Inuit are "discovered" by present-day explorers using methods already discovered by the Inuit.

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