Mother dies of Covid after giving birth
A Sanikiluaq mother died of Covid-19 on Jan. 2, shortly after giving birth to her newborn daughter in a Winnipeg hospital.
“After surgery – they had removed the baby through surgery – she was tested for Covid,” said Johnnie Cookie, Silatik Qavvik’s father and mayor of Sanikiluaq on Jan. 3. “Her results were positive.”
The subsequent coronavirus symptoms and hospitalization lasted over a month. While Qavvik, a mother to five children, persevered through Covid-19, parts of her body suffered serious damage, leading to complications and her death.
“We were told by the doctor that she was Covid-free because Covid had disappeared from her,” said Cookie. “But because the Covid was a very serious illness, she had to be on a ventilator all this time and she passed away.”
The newborn girl’s health was fine, according to Cookie.
Covid-19 vaccinations begin
Roll out of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine began in Iqaluit on Jan. 6.
Elders Centre resident Josephee Adams, 70, was injected with the first of 6,000 doses that arrived in the territory, half in the capital and half in Rankin Inlet. At the time, two doses are required per person for maximum protection. Health officials are now recommending a third booster shot.
The objective was to have 75 per cent of Nunavummiut vaccinated by the end of March.
“I ask for your patience as we work towards vaccinating as many people as possible,” said Premier Joe Savikataaq, citing the difficulty of logistics involved in vaccine distribution.
Fibre-optic project pegged at $107M
CanArctic Inuit Networks revealed details of its plan to run a 2,104 km, sub-sea fibre optic cable from Clarenville, Nfld. to Iqaluit by late 2022.
The capital cost of the backbone between Clarenville and Iqaluit was estimated at $107 million, according to the company.
There would be no requirement for the Government of Nunavut to provide capital investment in this project, a company news release stated.
Future phases of the initiative could extend the network – to be known as SednaLink – to other parts of the Qikiqtani, Kivalliq, Hudson Strait and Nunavik.
The “theoretical capacity” of the CanArctic fibre will be 48 terabits, whereas a satellite spot beam covering Nunavut has a capacity of approximately 10 gigabits, according to CanArctic Inuit Networks.
“This challenging and highly specialized sub-sea fibre deployment is backed by a proven team of sub-sea professionals with proper design, engineering and routing who will ensure project completion on time and on budget ensuring cheaper and more reliable connectivity for Nunavut and Nunatsiavut,” CanArctic Inuit Networks, an Inuit-led entity, stated in a news release.
Manslaughter nets 2.5 years incarceration
A woman from Resolute Bay was sentenced on Jan. 7 to two-and-a-half years behind bars for repeatedly stabbing and killing a Pond Inlet man in 2018.
However, due to credit for time served in jail while awaiting the completion of her court case, Alicia Manik was no longer incarcerated for manslaughter and had begun her three years of probation, which entailed a lengthy list of conditions.
Manik, a 25-year-old mother of two children, resorted to violence after Stephan Enoogoo punched her repeatedly in the head after a night of drinking. The multiple stab wounds proved fatal.
Justice Bonnie Tulloch took into consideration that Manik immediately pleaded guilty to the killing, she had no previous criminal record, she expressed remorse and she was being prevented from leaving the house by a man who was assaulting her.
“She has proven that she cannot beat her addictions on her own,” Tulloch said of Manik while imposing counselling. “You now are the one that must work hard to make sure you deal with those unresolved issues that have played a part in bringing you to court. It is you that must address your substance abuse problem … You can never make up for what happened to Stephan at your hand, but you can keep his memory alive to act as a very strong incentive to change. It will not be easy but if you work hard, anything is possible.”
Aariak named Nunavut’s commissioner
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Jan. 12 that former premier Eva Aariak will serve as Nunavut’s new commissioner.
“With her long record of service to Nunavummiut and tireless efforts to promote and preserve their culture and languages, I am confident that Ms. Aariak will excel in her new role as commissioner of Nunavut and continue to inspire others to serve their communities,” Trudeau stated.
Aariak has been “a lifelong champion for Nunavut and Inuit languages and culture,” according to a Government of Canada news release.
“Throughout her career as an educator, journalist, entrepreneur, public servant and elected official, she promoted the use and understanding of Inuktut. As the first languages commissioner of Nunavut, Ms. Aariak also helped make this a working language within the territorial government, and recommended to the Nunavut Legislative Assembly the groundbreaking Inuit Language Protection Act, which was subsequently passed into law,” the news release states.
Aariak, who succeeded Nellie Taptaqut Kusugak as commissioner, was the territory’s first female premier, with a term stretching from 2008 to 2013.
Fire destroys Iglulik Co-op
A fire raging overnight between Jan. 19-20 destroyed the Iglulik Co-op.
Calls for emergency personnel went out around 3:45 a.m. The hamlet consequently declared a state of emergency.
Iqaluit sent a fire crew to assist with extinguishing the blaze.
The retail outlet employed 36 people — 23 part-time. The Co-op later expanded its convenience store into a mini grocery store.
The Northern store, the community’s other location to purchase groceries, arranged to bring in extra supplies.
The RCMP initially stated that the fire was not suspicious in nature, but arrested and charged two youths in August in relation to the incident.
Uvagut TV debuts
Canada’s first all-Inuktut television channel, Uvagut TV (“Our” TV), launched by Nunavut Independent Television (NITV) and IsumaTV, made its debut on Jan. 18.
“For me Uvagut TV is a dream come true – to see Inuit culture and to hear our language full time on TV,” said Lucy Tulugarjuk, NITV chair and executive director as well as the director of the Inuit-language children’s film,
Tia and Piujuq. “As our Elders pass away, we are fighting against time to keep Inuit culture and language alive for our children and grandchildren. TV in Inuktut all day every day is a powerful way to keep a living language for future generations.”
Manitok Thompson, CEO of IBC, added, “I believe that Inuit deserve to see these programs. They have a right to hear Inuktitut in their homes and learn more about their ancestors. Television is a tool parents and caregivers can use to help pass on the legacy their relatives left to them. Seeing their grandparents and great grandparents on television will help our young people connect to their culture and language.”
RCMP take another run at recruitment
The second intake of a four-month recruitment program aimed at increasing the number of Inuit officers within the ranks of the Nunavut RCMP was held in Rankin Inlet, starting in late January.
There hasn’t been an Inuk RCMP officer go through the force’s Depot training program in Regina since 2003, and the number of Inuit officers currently on the Nunavut force has dwindled to just a few.
Const. David Aglukark said the Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. initiative with the Makigiaqta Inuit Training Corp. was to enhance the preparedness of Inuit for employment.
Aglukark said the new program would see the applicants receive literacy and numeracy training, exposure to various police skills, and workshops on mental wellness and coping skills.