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Up Here is pleased to present the winner of this year’s Sally Manning Award for Indigenous Creative Non-Fiction toSteven Lonsdale for his story, Nutaralaaq: Life Within a Name.

Born and raised in Iqaluit, Lonsdale describes himself as forever a student of traditional knowledge. “I try to reflect that in my writing by combining my own experiences with the storytelling heard from Elders,” he tells Up Here.

When Matthew Lien sits down at his Yamaha C7 grand piano, it’s as if the stresses of his life dissipate with every note.

So when his business and his mother’s health began to fail last year, Lien found he needed the soft trill of his piano more than ever.

Last October, Lien’s mother had a stroke while visiting him in his Whitehorse home from San Diego. On top of the health scare, Lien had to manage her exorbitant medical bill while figuring out how to move her up North, as she can
no longer live on her own.

“Switch!” is yelled from behind by my partner steering. I swing the paddle from left to right, ignoring the drops of water running down my face, unsure at that point if it was raindrops or my own tears. I wail in frustration but it’s barely audible over the sound of rain and the waves of the river, one after another crashing into the front of the canoe. I didn’t have time to bail out the water. If I stopped paddling we would be swept backwards and turn sideways, putting us at risk of tipping. We were far from docking on land and there wasn’t any other option but to keep moving forward.

School starts with a click of a button. The students may have never met their classmates in person before, but every week they jump into an online chat, faces arranged in a grid on the screen. It’s what school has looked like for many during the past year, but this isn’t just the pandemic. Distance learning has long been something students and teachers in the North have dealt with. Northern Distance Learning (NDL) is an organization that connects elementary and high school students from remote communities to offer certain courses they can’t get at home.

Whether it’s through a decadent home-cooked meal, an Inuktitut word of the day or through dancing outside in the snow, these Northern influencers are offering a glimpse into the places they call home. Using their unique backdrop, Northerners are connecting through social media and drawing the attention of thousands from across the globe. And while many have gained a massive following practically overnight, most will tell you that their content is just as much for themselves as it is for others.

The sun shines down through a ceiling still being assembled. Blocks of carved snow are carefully passed up ladders and finessed into place, the smallest and lightest on top. Soon this monumental structure of Inuit ingenuity will be fully enclosed, the scaffolding—perched on qallupilluit sleds—will come down and the celebrations will begin. Welcome to the qaggiq.

Yukoners welcomed a first in May 2020 with the launch of a pair of new companies, Yukon Wines and Solstice Ciderworks, by local entrepreneurs Kyle Marchuk, Stephen Mooney, Colin Nickerson, and Harold Roche. Nobody had ever started a wine or cider business before in the territory, and the drinks were greeted with enthusiasm. The first batches of wines and ciders sold out at the Whitehorse liquor store within two days.