Do mobility devices in the Arctic need a rethink?

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CAMBRIDGE BAY, Canada _ Recovering from knee surgery isn’t easy for anyone, but for Jimmy Okhina Sr., living in Arctic Canada made it that much more of a challenge.

The surgery took place in Yellowknife, the capital city of Canada’s Northwest Territories.

Afterwards, Okhina was given a walker to take back to his home community of Cambridge Bay in Canada’s High Arctic.

He quickly realized it wasn’t going to do him much good.

“It’s OK for inside, but outside? No good in the snow,” he says. “Too hard to push.”

The lack of mobility affected Okhina’s ability to do everything from shopping to going out on the land with his family.

So he decided to ditch the walker and find his own solution, making an ‘Arctic-adapted’ walker himself, based on the construction of the Inuit sleds he’s spent his life building.

Eye on the Arctic spent a morning with him to find out how he did it.

Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)cbc.ca

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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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