Our top 10 most-read online stories of 2014
“I was just plucking out feathers”
People — and the elusive bigfoot — these were the stories on Nunatsiaqline.ca that attracted the greatest number of online readers throughout Nunavut, Nunavik, southern Canada and elsewhere in the world in 2014.
The most-read story over the past 12 months was about Christina David of Nunavik, who was spotted plucking a wild game bird on the subway in Montreal.
A plea for help from a western Nunavut father trying to bring his daughter home to Cambridge Bay from Winnipeg was the second most-read online story.
And two years after two Nunavik women spotted what they believe was a bigfoot, their story — and the possible release of a video of the elusive critter — continued to captivate readers.
Among other top 10 stories of 2014: the raising of the rainbow flag over Iqaluit, the failed merger between First Air and Canadian North and the sad death of a Nunavut boy, 11, from suicide.
With a nod to Google Analytics, here are our 10 stories for 2014:
• Bird-plucking in Montreal’s metro: A young woman from Nunavik grabbed the public’s attention in early July for plucking a bird on a busy metro train in Montreal.
The Service de police de la Ville de Montréal investigated the July 1 incident after another passenger on the metro train filmed the woman and contacted police.
The video, shot from a distance, showed a woman hunched over, apparently plucking feathers from a bird while nearby passengers got up and moved away. David said on July 1 she was returning from visiting her aunt, who had brought some country food from Salluit.
David said her aunt gave her a ptarmigan, which she began to pluck on her commute home so she could cook the bird when she got there.
When David arrived home that evening, she soaked the ptarmigan, cut up the meat and cooked it in a pan with onions and mushrooms.
It wasn’t until a few weeks later that David realized the police were looking for her.
She was visiting a friend who works at a gas station in her Crémazie neighbourhood, when her friend pointed to an article in the French-language newspaper, Le Journal de Montréal, which reported on a video that someone filmed in the metro July 1.
• A daughter finally comes home: James Ekpakohak of Cambridge Bay said he wanted to see his daughter after a long separation.
About 10 years ago, Ekpakohak’s daughter, Angela Anavilok, left the western Nunavut community to live at a youth home in Ontario. Two years ago, when she turned 18, she was living on her own in a province she didn’t know.
Anavilok’s older sister paid her airfare to Winnipeg, where she was expected to begin her journey back to Cambridge Bay to be reunited with her parents, grandparents and siblings. But in Winnipeg, Anavilok lost everything and became homeless.
Thanks to the help of generous donors, the young woman arrived home Nov. 19.
“It’s so nice to finally be home,” said Anavilok, as she stood in her father’s kitchen before the family’s first meal together in more than five years. “Winnipeg is a really scary city to be homeless in.”
• Bigfoot, again: the 2012 sighting in Akulivik of a bigfoot continued to generate interest, especially with news that a much-anticipated Akulivik bigfoot video may be released, if someone in Nunavik or Nunavut with technical knowledge can step forward to help Louie Makimak clean up the footage.
in September 2012, Makimak’s cousin, Maggie Cruikshank posted on Facebook gigantic footprints in the spongy ground, which she attributed to bigfoot.
Meanwhile, in 2014 a British scientist named Bryan Sykes published a study that claimed to scientifically prove the truth about bigfoot.
“I have always been interested to know what happened to the Neanderthals,” those early humans who died out about 40,000 years ago, said Sykes, a professor of human genetics at the University of Oxford in England.
• Diversity for all in the North: the raising of a rainbow flag outside Iqaluit city hall on Feb. 10 also raised controversy. The flag-raising did not have the approval of city council, according to city councillor Simon Nattaq.
City staff raised the multicoloured flag, which represents gay pride, equality and inclusiveness, at the request of Coun. Kenny Bell.
Major cities throughout Canada, including northern Canada’s two other territorial capitals, Yellowknife and Whitehorse, had also raised the flag to protest anti-gay laws in Russia, where the winter Olympic Games were underway.
At an Iqaluit meeting of Baffin mayors March 5, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. president Cathy Towtongie commended Nattaq for speaking out against the decision to raise a rainbow flag outside of Iqaluit city hall during the recent winter Olympics.
“The Inuit culture have had no time to discuss same sex,” CBC radio reported Towtongie telling the mayors meeting March 5. “In fact it was an agenda that was hijacked and there was the excuse of [homophobia] which Inuit should have had time to digest.”
• An airline merger that never was: Nunavut’s airline industry looked to be on the verge of getting a little smaller last year.
Nunavik’s Makivik Corp. and Norterra Inc., owners, respectively, of First Air and Canadian North, said in April that they were in talks aimed at merging the two airlines.
Makivik and Norterra said a merger “would improve the sustainability of these critical Inuit birthright enterprises and would also create better air services and new economic development opportunities across the North.”
But, in October, news came that the First Air-Canadian North merger was dead.
“No such further discussions are envisaged,” a joint news release stated.
• Child suicide rocks Nunavut: people in Cape Dorset mourned the loss of an 11-year-old boy who died by suicide in late September.
The boy was one month shy of his 12th birthday at the time of his death.
The death prompted Nunavut Coroner Padma Suramala, to reveal that, according to statistics compiled by her office, at least 51 Nunavut children under the age of 15 have died by suicide since the territory was created.
The numbers showed that between 1999 and 2013, 50 Nunavummiut under the age of 15 took their own lives.
• Dog kills young Nunavik girl: A four-year-old girl died in June after being attacked by an animal in the Hudson Bay community of Puvirnituq in Nunavik.
Quebec provincial police said the incident took place June 14 in the community of about 1,700 people.
The four-year-old girl was later identified as Sheena Levina Jenny Uqaituk, daughter of Mary Uqaituk of Puvirnituq.
• Dope bust in western Nunavut: one person was arrested in January and charged with drug trafficking and possession after an investigation led by the RCMP and Canada Post. RCMP in Nunavut and Alberta say they picked up several kilograms of marijuana, as well as quantities of hashish and cocaine in Kugluktuk Jan.7.
• An airborne birth: Delsie Pavialok gave birth en route to Winnipeg June 7 from Winnipeg to Rankin Inlet.
“It made me realize a baby was born and here I’m terrified of flying and I watched the baby being born. It was so exciting. I’m not scared to fly anymore,” said Pavialok’s aunt, Barbara Ittinuar, who was also on the plane. “So, that baby taught me well.”
• Injury in Kuujjuaq: a young Nunavik man was medevaced to Montreal with serious injuries following a shooting in Kuujjuaq early Aug. 19.
Kativik Regional Police Force officers had responded to a call that morning about an “armed and violent” man walking through Kuujjuaq.