A reality star from Alaska visited Kugluktuk, a small Inuit community in Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut, this week talking about suicide.
Ariel Tweto grew up in a small Inuit community called Unalakleet.
She was featured in the Discovery Channel’s “Flying Wild Alaska,” and is now living in Los Angeles pursuing an acting career.
Tweto has had friends who died by suicide.
Now she is working to help youth see there are alternatives to suicide.
“I have a platform now since our show,” Tweto said. “I owe it to people to bring awareness to suicide ’cause I know it’s gonna happen again in Unalakleet. It could be one of my cousins, it could be one of my close friends… and I’m not gonna just sit here anymore and wait for it to happen.”
Tweto’s idea is to let youth in small communities know that they can attend university, become doctors, lawyers or an actor like Tweto is hoping to do.
She said sometimes youth get stuck in a bubble and forget there is a whole big world outside of their community.
Tweto calls her prevention workshop the Popping Bubbles tour.
She was invited to Kugluktuk by the Society for Building a Healthier Kugluktuk and the Kugluktuk Radio Society.
“Ariel is a big inspiration to the youth here in Kugluktuk,” said Donna Pangun, one of Healthy Kugluktuk’s Cultural Support Advisors. “Her happiness and love of life really catches on … she’s just a lot of fun but she has a powerful message to share, a message that won’t easily be forgotten.”
Canada: Nunavut coroner to launch inquiry into suicides, CBC News
Finland: Finland ‘downplays’ suicide figures says expert, Yle News
Russia: Why high suicide rates in Arctic Russia?, Deutsche Welle’s Iceblogger
United States: Study: Suicide rates increase as Alaska community sizes get smaller, farther North, Alaska Dispatch