International Inuit organization launches new podcast

“Now, more than ever, we need to be using innovative and creative virtual ways of communicating with one another,” said Monica Ell-Kanayuk, president of Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) Canada, of the new podcast. (Madeleine Allakariallak/CBC)
The Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) launched a new podcast last week that the organization hopes will amplify the work, and artists, from the world’s four Inuit regions.

“Our podcasts will bring you stories, testimonials, and reports from our four countries and beyond,” said ICC’s International Chair Dalee Sambo Dorough in a news release on August 6.

“In our own voice we will be sharing what ICC has been doing since our founding in the mid-1970s, and how we are tackling current issues and Inuit priorities, as outlined in documents such as the Utqiaġvik Declaration passed at our 2018 General Assembly held here in Alaska. This is an exciting, new initiative for ICC and we hope that Inuit throughout Inuit Nunaat as well as others across the globe will tune in.”

Inuit Nunaat refers to the traditional Inuit homeland that spans Alaska, northern Canada, Greenland, and Chukotka, Russia.  ICC represents the approximately 180,000 Inuit in the region. 

The podcast name will be rendered in five of the main Inuit language dialects from around the world:  ᐅᓂᒃᑳᑦ/Unikkaat/Unipkaat/Ungipaghat/Nallunairutet  and translates as “stories, reports and testimonials.”

Five Titles in Five Dialects

ᐅᓂᒃᑳᑦ – Inuktitut (Canada)
Unikkaat – Kalaallisut (Greenland)
Unipkaat – Inupiaq (Alaska) 
Ungipaghat – Siberian Yupik (Chukotka, Russia)
Nallunairutet – Central Alaskan Yupik (Alaska)

In English, the podcast will be known as Circumpolar Waves, “…to reflect the power and reach of waves, whether this be in ocean waves, brain waves, audio waves, or air waves, spanning across the circumpolar region,” ICC said.

“Telling our own stories through our own voices”

In the first edition of the podcast posted on August 6, Selma Ford, the Health Coordinator at ICC Canada speaks with ICC Chair Dalee Sambo Dorough.

ICC Canada Chair Monica Ell-Kanayuk wasn’t available for on interview on Friday to talk about the project. But in a news release said the podcast was an important vehicle for amplifying circumpolar links between the different Inuit regions, especially during a time when face to face meetings are limited because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Despite tough times over the past several months, we are proud to have developed this ourselves, focusing on telling our own stories through our own voices,” Ell-Kanayuk said. 

The first episode contains music by Inuit throat boxing artist Nelson Tagoona from the community of Baker Lake in Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut. ICC says it will be reaching out to artists from other places in Inuit Nunaat for future episodes. 

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Publisher in Arctic Canada putting Inuit-language books online amidst COVID-19 closures, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Walt Disney Animation Studios to release Saami-language version of “Frozen 2”, Eye on the Arctic

Sweden: Can cross-border cooperation decolonize Sami language education?, Eye on the Arctic 

United States: American cartoonist says his new book on Canadian Indigenous history helped decolonize part of himself, CBC North

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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