Time is Money

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After we leave Kenojuak’s we return to Kinngait Studios to continue filming. At some point during the afternoon, one of the lithographers brings a phone over to me and passes me the receiver.

It’s one of Kenojuak’s relatives. The individual appears to be, oh… how shall we say it… in an ‘altered state.’

The individual starts demanding money.

It takes me a while to realize the woman on the phone wants to be paid for the interview I did with Kenojuak.

I should have just hung up on the woman but I was so stunned that I blabber away that (RCI) doesn’t pay for interviews. The individual goes on to say that in that case, I can just pay her (the relative) out of my own pocket.

I tell her that’s impossible, journalists can’t do that.

The individual on the phone says that’s not acceptable and threatens to come down to our hotel tonight to ‘sort this out.’

At no point during weeks of preparation for the shoot, while we were at her home or during the interview, did Kenojuak ever mention that she wanted money.

I get the feeling the woman on the phone is just trying to shake me down for quick cash.

‘OK,’ I said. ‘If [Kenojuak] has a problem, [Kenojuak] can call me herself to sort it out.’

The individual seemed to lose steam after this and hangs up the phone.

We never hear from her again.

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Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is a journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project.

Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the violent death of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on violence and trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

Twitter: @Arctic_EQ

Email: eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca

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