Our most-read stories of 2019

Surprise lay-offs at Baffinland was our most-read story of the year

People pack into Iqaluit’s Cadet Hall for the Nunavut Impact Review Board’s final public hearing of Baffinland’s phase two expansion proposal on Nov. 4, 2019. This past year’s top story reported that the iron-mining company planned to lay off 586 contracted workers. (Photo by Emma Tranter)

By Nunatsiaq News

The lay-off of 586 contracted employees working at the Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.’s Mary River mine was by far the most-read story of 2019 on Nunatsiaq.com.

In 2019, the Nunatsiaq News website attracted roughly 4.5 million page views, but the story of the iron mine’s lay-offs attracted the most readers, and went on to lead our list of the 10 most-read online stories of the past year.

The lay-offs, which initially affected 96 Inuit, came shortly after the Nunavut Impact Review Board’s decision on Nov. 6 to abruptly adjourn its public hearing on the mining company’s expansion plans.

The loss of the jobs at the mine was a blow to many: later an affected employee spoke out about the Baffinland layoffs, saying, “my future is totally uncertain.”

Baffinland said later, in December, that the number of laid-off Inuit would be reduced from 96 to 48, and that if its six-million-tonne production cap is approved, there would be no more Inuit layoffs.

The second most-read story of 2019 concerned a tragic event in Ottawa that left one 37-year old woman, Susan Kuplu-Irqittuq, dead and her daughter, Lennese Kublu, 18, charged with her death.

Police allege that Kublu got into an argument with her mother. At the height of the argument, her mother was knifed to death. wrapped in a blanket and tossed into a dumpster, they allege. More than a month later, police found Kuplu-Irqittuq’s body at Ottawa’s Trail Road dump.

While awaiting her court appearances, Kublu has been living in an Ottawa residential facility.

Kublu’s boyfriend, Dwight Brown, 28, also faces a charge of second-degree murder.

The third most-read online story was about the death of a teenager in Salluit.

The Quebec independent investigation office, the Bureau des enquêtes indepéndantes, took over the investigation after Maggie Tayara, 15, was found dead on Jan. 27 under a house in the Nunavik community of about 1,800.

Because members of the Kativik Regional Police Force were involved in the unsuccessful search for Tayara after she was first reported missing, the BEI  investigated her death.

The BEI referred its findings about Tayara’s death to the director of criminal and penal prosecutions and the Quebec coroner’s office on Oct. 9

In December, the Quebec coroner’s office stated Tayara’s death was accidental, resulting from hypothermia when she was intoxicated due to alcohol and cannabis.

A model tiny house, from Nunavik Building, was shipped up to Kuujjuaq on the sealift this summer. (Photo courtesy Nunavik Building)

The fourth most-read online story of 2019 looked at the arrival of a model tiny home in Kuujjuaq, which was shipped up to Kuujjuaq on the sealift this summer by Willie Gadbois, co-founder of Nunavik Building, a home designer and developer with offices in Kuujjuaq and Napierville, Que.

The fifth most-read story on Nunatsiaq.com was the first news story about the Nov. 2 malware attack that shut down the Government of Nunavut’s computer network for weeks.

Nunatsiaq News published about 20 stories on the impact of the network shutdown, from the distribution of food vouchers to social assistance recipients to the impact on the health care system.

The territorial government’s recovery from the ransomware attack remains a work in progress. In an emailed statement on Dec. 18, the government said that “community reconnection to the GN network continues as teams are working around the clock to complete the work before the holiday closures. A complete update will be provided at the beginning of January.”

Here are some more of our top-read stories on our website from 2019:

This is the tree trunk that caught the eye of Naikak Hakongak while he was hunting outside Cambridge Bay in October. (Photo courtesy of Naikak Hakongak)

A Nunavut man stumbled upon a possibly ancient tree trunk outside Cambridge Bay: Naikak Hakongak of Cambridge Bay spotted the trunk while hunting, about 600 kilometres north of the tree line.

Hakongak may have stumbled on a remnant of a fossil forest, which would likely be at least two million years old. Or it could be a younger piece of driftwood from about 10,000 years ago when the coastline would have been further inland.

The Canadian High Arctic Research Station in Cambridge Bay plans to send a research team to look at the wood in 2020.

The death of a teacher in Kangirsuk last February struck the community on Nunavik’s Ungava coast hard.

Mary Joanna Mucco, 35, was discovered lifeless in a Kangirsuk home on Feb. 12 at around 8:30 p.m.

Later that month, Willie Jr. Thomassie, 39, was charged with manslaughter and negligence causing death in connection with Mucco’s death.

Mucco was a well-known community member, mother and a McGill University–educated teacher, who taught kindergarten at Kangirsuk’s Sautjuit school.

Thomassie’s trial will take place in February in Kuujjuaq.

A group of Inuit artists said they had to boycott the Indigenous Music Awards in May due to their concerns about cultural appropriation.

These Nunavut musicians, including Tanya Tagaq, Kelly Fraser and Kathleen Merritt (Iva), said they wouldn’t participate in the awards ceremonies unless the organization in charge of the event, the Manito Ahbee Festival, addressed the use of throat singing by a non-Inuk performer who was up for an award.

Inuit artists said throat singing is a uniquely Inuit creation that shouldn’t be performed by others.

That debate about whether non-Inuit should perform throat singing continued later in the year when Tagaq slammed an acclaimed American choir for its use of Inuit throat singing.

Rodney Howard-Browne, an evangelical pastor from Florida, preaches in Iqaluit on Aug. 27. (Photo by Thomas Rohner)

A fundamentalist Christian evangelist known for conspiracy theories, climate change denial and marketing schemes brought his crusade to rid the world of the Antichrist to an Iqaluit church on Aug. 27.

Rodney Howard-Browne preached for over an hour to more than 100 people.

Ambar Roy of Iqaluit walked out of the Iqaluit RCMP detachment just hours before he vanished on March 13.

After the 18-year-old was refused a flight south, Ambar, a student at the University of Waterloo, jumped out of a taxi and ran off into the hills near the Road to Nowhere. The search that ensued was called off on March 27.

Share This Story

(0) Comments