Next Stop: Qikiqtarjuaq, Nunavut

Monday, January 24, 2011

Montreal to Qikitarjuaq, via Ottawa, Iqaluit and Pangnirtung

Weather: A frosty but bearable -22c

Today was the day. After months of planning, Eye on the Arctic was finally heading back North.

First stop, Qikiqtarjuaq, Nunavut.

After our last Arctic trip, with all my cultural gaffs and logistical miscalulations, I considered myself well prepared this time around. I’d packed my state-of-the-art thermal underwear, polished off my beginner’s Inuktitut and succeded at cramming 30 kilos of Arctic gear into one compact suitcase.

But I’d barely been in Nunavut an hour before I’d managed to offend people.

If you’ll remember from last trip, no matter how much I travel North or how well-intentioned I might be, I’m constantly committing cultural gaffs.

Well, it became apparent to me today, not much has changed.

I’d been in Nunavut for less than two hours and already I was offending people.

After de-planing in Iqaluit, we boarded a Dash-8 to take us to Qikiqtarjuaq. I trundled on, found my place (3C) and started to put my laptop computer under the seat. The women standing next to the seat looked at me, completely apalled. The elderly Inuk man sitting in the window seat next to mine said ‘My wife is sitting there’, I double-checked my ticket and said ‘Hmmm … it says 3C on my ticket’. The man rolled his eyes and raised his voice as if I was insufferably socially delayed: ‘It’s the Arctic, there’s no reserved seats here!’ 

Duely chastized, I slinked to the very back of the plane and was on my best behaviour for the rest of the flight.


Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning 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 murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

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

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

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."

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