Art: The economic driver of remote aboriginal communities in Canada’s North?

Economic driver of Canada’s remote aboriginal communities? Untitled (Two People Dancing), c. 1970 stone cut on paper. Artist: Helen Kalvak. Printmaker: Harry EgotakA carving. A pair of beaded slippers. A print depicting a dog team. They may be the last thing on people’s minds when they think of economic drivers in the Canadian North.

Mining and resource exploitation bring hundreds of millions of dollars into Canada’s northern territories of, Nunavut , Northwest Territories and Yukon annually, but for the predominantly aboriginal population of the North, arts and crafts production remains an important economic driver, especially in remote Arctic communities.

But though historically encouraged by the government as a way to foster economic independence for aboriginals in the North, does arts and crafts still have a role to play in this era of resource and energy development? What are the cultural implications if this industry fades away?

In this series, Radio Canada International journalist Eilís Quinn speaks to artists, experts and northern governments on why arts and crafts production is and needs to remain a priority in the North.



Is the Holman print program worth saving? The evolution of the arts economy in the Canadian North



Ulukhaktok printmaker and artist Louie Nigiyok on the importance of art in this remote community



Community Profile: Spotlight Ulukhaktok, Northwest Territories


Darlene Wight, curator of Inuit art at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, on the importance of Arctic art. To play, click here: {play}/media/jukebox/DarleneforUluPak.

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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