Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Around the Arctic February 08, 2018 - 1:30 pm

What you read from Jan. 28 to Feb. 4 on Nunatsiaqonline.ca

Rankin Inlet man's arrest for string of offences leads most-read story list

NUNATSIAQ NEWS
The most popular photo, by far, on the Nunatsiaq News Facebook page this past week, based on views, likes and shares, shows Makivik Corp. president Charlie Watt, left, presenting a $500,000 cheque to Tommy Palliser of the Unaaq Men's Association of Inukjuak on stage at the Arctic Inspiration Prize gala in Ottawa Jan. 31. The Nunavik men's group's traditional knowledge project was one of eight northern wellness initiatives to win a part of the prize, worth more than $2.4 million this year. The AIP's top $1 million prize for 2017 was awarded to the Arctic Indigenous Wellness Project, an urban, land-based healing initiative that targets at-risk communities in Yellowknife and surrounding communities. (PHOTO BY SARAH ROGERS)
The most popular photo, by far, on the Nunatsiaq News Facebook page this past week, based on views, likes and shares, shows Makivik Corp. president Charlie Watt, left, presenting a $500,000 cheque to Tommy Palliser of the Unaaq Men's Association of Inukjuak on stage at the Arctic Inspiration Prize gala in Ottawa Jan. 31. The Nunavik men's group's traditional knowledge project was one of eight northern wellness initiatives to win a part of the prize, worth more than $2.4 million this year. The AIP's top $1 million prize for 2017 was awarded to the Arctic Indigenous Wellness Project, an urban, land-based healing initiative that targets at-risk communities in Yellowknife and surrounding communities. (PHOTO BY SARAH ROGERS)

You can gauge the keen interest of Nunatsiaq News readers in the social climate of the North by a look at the top stories of the past week.

The story of how a 26-year-old Nunavut man now faces kidnapping and assault charges following a booze-fueled melee led the week’s five most-read stories on Nunatsiaqonline.ca.

The Rankin Inlet man remains in custody following a string of alleged offences that include assault, kidnapping and assault with a weapon on a police officer, in connection with incidents that took place Jan. 28 in the community of about 3,000 people.

According to information from the RCMP, on that day police responded to reports of a disturbance at a private residence early in the morning.

A woman living there told police that her intoxicated ex-boyfriend had assaulted her while her child was in the home.

The woman had managed to force the man outside, but only for a short time. He returned to the house and forced them outside and onto a snowmobile. The woman and her child managed to flee into a nearby residence where they called the police.

The man was still on the snowmobile when police located him, but when the police arrived they say he “accelerated his snowmobile causing the rear of the snowmobile to swing, hitting the officer.”

The police later found the man when he tried to leave a residence on foot.

“After a brief struggle ensued, the man was taken into custody,” the RCMP said. “There are no reports of injuries of any of the people or police officers involved.”

The second most-read story of the week on Nunatsiaqonline.ca, according to Google Analytics, which tracks online traffic, reported that an Igloolik man, Steven Akittirq, 27, received a life sentence for the 2014 murder of a teenage girl.

Akittirq of Igloolik, who pleaded guilty in October 2017 to second-degree murder, will serve out a life sentence in prison for the girl’s death, and he will be ineligible for parole for the first 14 years of his mandatory life sentence, Nunavut Justice Susan Cooper said Jan. 30.

In a statement of facts submitted by defence and Crown lawyers, on June 8, 2014, Akittirq and the victim took a snowmobile to his family cabin outside Igloolik after spending the night drinking with friends at a local dance and later at a residence.

Akittirq returned to Igloolik alone in the early morning, about two hours after departing for the cabin and immediately went to bed, witnesses said.

The same witnesses said Akittirq showed signs of uneasiness and distress over the next day.

Parents of the missing teenager confronted Akittirq about the whereabouts of their daughter, but he insisted he dropped her off at home at the end of the night.

A relative of Akittirq later visited the cabin and found the victim’s partially clothed body, then reported the discovery to the police, who arrested and charged Akittirq with murder.

Also among the top five stories of the past week:

An Iqaluit man has reached out to people online for financial help so he can see his family while he undergoes treatment for throat cancer. Alone in Ottawa, 2,000 kilometres from home, Richard Paton, most recently executive assistant to Nunavut Premier Paul Quassa, started a page last weekend on the GoFundMe.com fundraising site to raise $12,000 to bring his family, his wife and four boys to visit him in Ottawa. Overall among Inuit in Canada, cancer remains the second leading cause of death and is the leading cause of mortality in Nunavut.

A drunk driver, Curtis Apak, 23, of Pond Inlet, was sentenced to one year in jail for hitting a three-year-old boy last August during a drunken joyride on an all-terrain vehicle.

China unveiled its Arctic ambitions, declaring it’s a “near Arctic state” in its new Arctic policy promoting a “Polar Silk Road” for circumpolar shipping.

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