More research on Arctic health needed: Sami leader

Lars-Anders Baer, former President of the Saami Parliament. Photo: Eilís Quinn, Radio Canada International.

Today, Lars-Anders Baer, former president of the Sami Parliament, was on the Plenary Panel: Communities and Health at the 2012 International Polar Conference in Montreal.

During is talk, Baer stressed the importance of affirming indigenous rights to things like traditional medicines and health practices. He also emphasized that respecting the rights of the Arctic’s indigenous people’s to their lands and waters, especially in this era of Arctic development, will play an important role in community health.

After his talk, Baer pointed to the wave of suicides in Sami communities after mining and other business interests set up in some areas of Arctic Sapmi. Traditional reindeer migration routes were disturbed, and in some cases had a direct impact on people’s livelihoods.

Everyone from government to scientists needed to take health care into consideration when operating in the Arctic, Baer said.

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)

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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