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2 EDGEYK.CA

edgeyk.ca

Issue 5
Dec/Jan 2012
Editor/Publisher


Brent Reaney
editor@edgeyk.ca

Managing Editor


Laurie Sarkadi
managing_editor@edgeyk.ca

Design


Janet Pacey
design@edgeyk.ca

Ad Design


Erin Mohr
ad_design@edgeyk.ca

Advertising inquiries:

advertising@edgeyk.ca

Founding Editor:

Jack Danylchuk

Contributors:













Jay Bulckaert
Linda Dunbar
Clark Ferguson
Janelle Fillion
Anthony Foliot
Fran Hurcomb
Patrick Kane
Alison McCreesh
Dorothy Proud
Pablo Saravanja
Katie Weaver
Jenny Whitaker
Laura Wright

Copyright 2012

Reaney Writing
& Publishing
All rights reserved
ISSN 1927-7016 (Print)
ISSN 1927-7024 (Online)

Cover illustration
by Zhamil Bikbaev,
a freelance illustrator
with a fine art background,
as well as a web developer
at Tait Communication and
Consulting.
illustrationjam.com

CONTENTS
Contributors. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Spreadsheet. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
The Odd Pets of Yellowknife. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
YK Past Blast. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Up, Up and Away. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Northern Tattoos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Work in Progress – Reneltta Arluk. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
The Great Hunt. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Growing Up a Weaver. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
What artist-run centres are,
what YK’s might be. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
On Edge: Opinion. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
The full moon of December. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46

Edge YK is available in Yellowknife at:
Black Knight Pub

Javaroma

Coyote’s
steakhouse and bar

Northern Images

Dancing Moose Cafe

Overlander Sports
signed

Down to Earth
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Smokehouse Cafe

Erasmus Apparel

Thornton’s
wine & tapas room

Gallery of the
Midnight Sun

Weaver & Devore

Gourmet Cup

Yellowknife Airport
Yellowknife Co-op

as well as at many other businesses
And online at edgeyk.ca

EDGEYK.CA

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F O R P R O J E C T D E TA I L S V I S I T
R E D C L I F F D E V E L O P M E N TS. C O M

front edge

Happening holidays
and EDGE YK’s birthday
December is one of my favourite months in YK. The entire town basically shutting down over Christmas used to
bother me, but now I love it. What’s really getting done between Boxing Day and New Year’s, anyway? With or
without family here, YK’s a great place to spend the holidays. After a couple of months of progressive dark and
cold, everyone’s ready to socialize, and invitations are spread far and wide.
My best YK holiday story involves being stranded in Edmonton before the second leg of a trip to Toronto after
booking my flight for December 13 instead of December 23. Unable to find another ticket for less than $2,000,
I headed back to YK on a near-empty First Air plane and had one of my best-ever holidays.
This December, I’m thinking back to our first issue of EDGE YK. In a year, we’ve gone from four to six issues annually
while increasing our print and online readership with every edition. Our plan remains simple – produce a
magazine covering all things YK with stories from a variety of voices. We’d try, but we can’t thank every reader
and advertiser enough for helping to make our dream real.
As usual, this issue has a range of great stories, from Jenny Whitaker profiling the ski club, to Jay Bulckaert
graciously bringing us along on his buddy Garry’s fall moose harvest. Katie Weaver even shares what it’s like to
grow up in one of YK’s first families.
Finally, thanks to the miracle of Adobe InDesign text boxes, somehow Erin Suliak didn’t appear on the
contributors list on last issue’s table of contents. She wrote and selected the photos for the story on Henry
Busse, YK’s first professional photographer, which received a lot of positive feedback. I also thought Erin did a
great job and wanted to make sure to thank her here.
And if you’re thinking about contributing to EDGE YK, we’d love to hear from you. Our editor@edgeyk.ca address
is always open, ready to receive your YK-inspired story ideas, even over Christmas.
Until February,
Brent Reaney
Editor / Publisher

EDGEYK.CA

5

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12-08-20 6:48 PM

Jay
Bulckaert

Jay is a Yellowknife-based filmmaker and writer who has made a career
out of capturing the great white North on camera through his company
COLLECTIVE9. He splits his time working on shows like Ice Pilots NWT,
directing homegrown projects like the upcoming NFB documentary
Range Street, and hunting and fishing as much as he can.
collective9.com

Pat
Kane

Pat is well-known for his photographs of people, culture, business and
lifestyle. He’s gone bowling near the North Pole, hunted for moose
with Canadian Rangers in Tulita, and had dinner with a circus troupe in
Igloolik. Wherever he’s gone, Pat’s put everyone he’s photographed
at ease using his sense of humour and down-to-earth approach. In
September, he took the giant leap to start Pat Kane Photo here in
Yellowknife specializing in government, corporate and editorial work.
patkanephoto.com

Alison
McCreesh

Alison is a freelance illustrator, artist and cartoonist who loves puppies,
winter and Yellowknife’s Old Town. Her illustration work has been
featured in Up Here magazine, as well as on local posters, brochures
and postcards. Very much influenced by her surroundings, Alison’s
recent work reflects the quirks, humour and particularities of living
North of 60.
alisonmccreesh.com

Katie
Weaver

A Grade 12 student who was born and raised in Yellowknife, Katie
buoyantly anticipates going south to study writing after she graduates.
In the meantime, she spends her days with her friends, plays soccer
and acts in Sir John Franklin High School plays. She says she plans to
return to the North often, as she will miss her zany family. “Growing up
a Weaver” is her first published work.

Jenny
Whitaker

Jenny is the manager of the Yellowknife Ski Club’s Track Attack Program
and wrote a feature on the club for this issue of EDGE YK. A runner at
heart, she skis because it makes her husband and dogs happy, which
makes her happy. She hopes that their first child, due in March, has an
easier time staying upright on skis than she does.

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Winter is upon us, and water cooler discussions turn to what kind of
winter it will be. Are Yellowknife temps really being affected by global
warming, or is that just wishful thinking?
Thanks to our EDGE YK stats team, 25,680 lines of daily climate data
from Environment Canada, and the powers of Microsoft Excel, you
can wow friends, family and co-workers with our interesting YK
temperature tid bits.
Average Temperatures Are Rising
Between 1943 and 2011, average annual Yellowknife temperatures
have risen about 2.3 C.
Even more relevant for water cooler talk is that winter warming has
been even more impressive, with average temperatures between
December and March rising by 3.7 C.
Extreme Records
But when looking at long-term trends, some climatologists
also look at when and what records are broken. So if you’re not
convinced yet, check this out:
• 80 per cent of YK’s winter daily record lows happened before
the 1980s.
• 64 per cent of YK’s winter daily record highs have happened
after 1979.
• The 1940s had the most winter record lows, with January 31,
February 1 and 4, 1947 tied for coldest winter record at -51.2 C
(without wind chill).
• March 23, 1993 is the warmest winter record high, a balmy 9.3 C.
What’s to come in the future? EDGE YK’s stats team projects the current
decade will have the greatest number of record highs ever. Don’t
believe us? In 2010 alone, seven daily record highs were set!

h and low
r daily hig tions at
te
in
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ve show n Environment C bruary, and Marc er
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In genera s. The data colle the 2010s a very
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record
012, m
March 2
1942 to

EDGEYK.CA

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12 EDGEYK.CA

Photo Fran Hurcomb

Johnny Nault and his dog Esprit stand in front of their Jolliffe Island cabin in 1980. Johnny was a wellrespected commercial fisherman on Great Slave Lake for many years and ran a steel boat called the Javelin.
Fran Hurcomb’s new book Old Town: a Photographic Journey Through Yellowknife’s Defining Neighbourhood,
contains more than 200 photos, of which this is one, and is now available at local booksellers.
EDGEYK.CA

13

YELLOWKNIFE.CA

Need CateriNg?

14 EDGEYK.CA

 Western Canadian
Championships, 1993:
David Gilday at left, John
Stephenson and John
Argue in front of the old
trail map. The location
of the old clubhouse is
marked in the lower right
hand corner. Today, the
Kids Corner Childcare
Centre on Haener Drive
sits on the spot.

By Jenny Whitaker
Photos by Linda Dunbar
In Yellowknife, like anywhere, community
groups tend to come and go based on
the changing needs and interests of the
volunteering public. But every so often
a group with real staying power comes
along. The Yellowknife Ski Club is one such
organization. For more than 40 years, the
club has introduced hundreds of people
to the sport of cross-country skiing and
instilled a deep sense of community in
those who ski its trails.
Perhaps it is the nature of the sport itself
that fosters such commitment to the
club. Cross-country skiing is not easy.
Just staying upright requires living in the
moment, always striving for that perfect
balance between power and grace. It
takes endurance and dedication to propel
oneself forward on skis, or run a successful
organization; and volunteers at the Ski Club
have got plenty of both.
Stephen Dunbar is one such volunteer. His
parents Linda and Blair became heavily
involved with the club in 1977. The young
Dunbar literally grew up on the trails, so he
comes by this sense of dedication honestly.
“So many of the volunteers are personally
invested in the club, either having children
in programs, or by having grown up in one
of the club’s many programs,” Dunbar says.
“The club has benefited from dedicated
volunteers who mentor the next generation
of leaders.” Now the last member of his
family living in Yellowknife, Dunbar can still

The Yellowknife Ski Club blazes the trail for how to run a
super volunteer organization that just keeps on growing
be found coaching at the club at least three
times a week.

It Was All Down Hill from the
Start….
For those familiar with the topography of
our city, the Yellowknife Ski Club started in
a most unexpected way — as a downhill
club. In 1960s Yellowknife, a group of
mountain-sick friends got together and
took over the best (if the only) ski-able hills
around town. Jetmund Bendiksen, a high
school teacher who, along with his wife
Pat, had come to Yellowknife from Norway,
was instrumental in starting the club. Bob
Spence, an employee at Giant Mine, was
also a founding member. Later they were
joined by another high school teacher, Bert
Mockford, and before long, the club had
collected a devoted following.
They bombed down the hill by the Jackfish
Lake Power Plant — known to pretty much
anyone who grew up here as the “Jackfish
Lake Sliding Hill” — and the ravine on the
edge of the existing cross-country ski club
trails just down the highway across from
the plant. In fact, “Old Tow Hill” at the club
takes its name from the old towrope that
used to ferry the downhill skiers back to the
top there.
By the late 1960s, the downhill-focused
group transitioned to cross-country skiing
and the Yellowknife Ski Club as we know
it now was born. The trails were moved

from Jackfish Lake to where the Niven Lake
Subdivision is today. The first major event
hosted by the Ski Club was the Arctic
Winter Games in 1970, then again in 1984.
This marked a new chapter by giving the
club’s skiers exposure in the circumpolar
world and establishing Yellowknife as a
destination for competitive ski events.

From Jackrabbits to High
Performance Racing –
Programming for Everyone
There was a serendipitous influx of people
who moved from Inuvik to Yellowknife in
the mid 1970s. These new members were
involved in the Inuvik’s highly successful
cross-country program, which turned out
world-champion skiers Sharon and Shirley
Firth. Linda and Blair Dunbar were two of
these new additions and they immediately
directed their energies into helping build
competitive programs here. The early
1980s saw the club move from being a
place for social skiing to a more programbased Nordic centre, offering everything
from beginner lessons to high performance
racing.
The High Performance Racing program
for kids over 13 is one of the club’s longest
running. A sure sign of the dedication and
commitment to turning out high-achieving
skiers is the fact there have been only
five lead coaches since the early 1970s
— Jetmund Bendiksen, Peter Hart, Dave
Sutherland, Linda Dunbar and today’s

EDGEYK.CA

15

 A family club: Ann Berube and her sons with Fran Ramsden and daughter (Olympic cyclist) Denise. At 45 years old, hundreds of kids have learned to ski
alongside their parents at the Yellowknife Ski Club.  AWG Opening Ceremonies, 1990: These were a games of firsts for the club. The Biathalon program was
established and a shooting range built in anticipation of the games. The same range is used today. It was also the first time Greenland competed at the games.

coach, Corey McLachlan. Generations
of accomplished racers got their start on
the Yellowknife trails, including three-time
Olympic biathlete Robin Clegg, Mike
Argue, Olympic biathlete Mary Beth Miller
(who died tragically in 2000 from a bear
attack while training outside of Quebec
City) and Thomsen D’Hont.
Aside from turning out world champions,
the club has always offered recreational
programs for both kids and adults.
Jackrabbits is the longest-running program,
offering weekly lessons to kids as young
as four. There are also adult lessons, a
women’s ski night and a youth biathlon
program. The Skiing Parents group gives
parents with little ones a chance to ski while
others take turns looking after kids in the
chalet.
The chalet wasn’t always the spacious,
windowed gathering spot it is today. By
the 1990s, the growing membership had
outgrown the small Atco trailer it used as a
clubhouse (imagine the smell of 70 sweaty
kids and gear on a winter afternoon). After
years of fundraising and sweat equity, a
new clubhouse was built and shared with
the Cadets to offset costs. The building
opened in its current location in 1997.
With the expansion of the Niven Lake

1960’s

The Yellowknife Ski Club
begins as a down hill ski
club

16 EDGEYK.CA

strictly prohibited on groomed trails, lest
they mess up the carefully set tracks.

“Other locations suggested were the
Yellowknife Golf Club,” she remembers,
“the dump, and somewhere around the
Yellowknife River.” In the end, the club
shifted to the opposite side of the ravine
where it still sits on the edge of Yellowknife
Bay. Old Tow Hill marks the edge of the old
site and the new.

Today and Beyond

The current site features about 14
kilometres of groomed trails, including a
mix of easy loops, challenging hills and
everything in between. The quality of
the carefully manicured trails is by far the
biggest reason to ski the club rather than
a lake or an unofficial trail. The groomers,
affectionately referred to as ‘snow farmers,’
are a dedicated group of volunteers who
set and groom the trails three times a week
all winter, no matter what the weather. It’s
no small task and the farmers can often be
seen out there as late as 11 p.m. preparing
the surface of the snow, depending on
conditions, then setting tracks on each
trail. Walking, snowmobiling and dogs are

The Trails Then and Now

TIMELINE

residential area, the Ski Club trails had to
be relocated to the current site on the other
side of the ravine. Linda Dunbar recalls
the challenge of convincing the City of
the value of having a major recreational ski
facility within city limits. Initially, proposals
spanned locations all over the area.

Les Clegg, John Stephenson and Rob
Tumchewics have all been devoted snow
farmers in the past, while Brian Latham
organizes work crews each fall to clear
brush.
Since its incorporation as a society almost
45 years ago, the Yellowknife Ski Club
continues to grow stronger and more
vibrant. The Club is still 100 per cent
volunteer-run and can boast a level of
stability and commitment that is rare, even
in organizations with paid staff. As for
the club’s ability to thrive for another four
decades, current president Tim Mercer is
optimistic.
“The history of the Yellowknife Ski Club
is the story of incredible community spirit
and volunteerism,” Mercer says. “Our
membership stands on the shoulders of
the giants that came before us.” And that
membership continues to grow. In the
2011-2012 season, the Club reached a
record number of 566 members.
Paul Clyne, for example, was new to town
when he joined the Ski Club with a friend.
Having moved from Ireland to Canada,
Clyne had never skied before last fall. He

Incorporated as a society
in 1968, transitions into
cross-country

Recreational
program for
High Performance
Program is established to non-racing kids
help prepare local kids for begins and runs
the Arctic Winter Games for a few years

Hosted the Western Canadian
Championships. Was such a huge
race that organizers needed to get
army tents for teams to wax in
because there wasn’t enough space Hosted the Arctic
for everyone in the current clubhouse Winter Games

Hosted the
Western Canadian
Championships
(future Olympian
Chandra Crawford
came to race)

Club reaches a
milestone record
number of
members (566)

1968

1980’s

1993

2003

2011

1970’s

Jackrabbits program
established (and still
going strong!)

1984

Hosted the Arctic
Winter Games

1988

1990

Biathalon program
established in
anticipation of the
AWG’s

1998
1997

Clubhouse
moves from
Niven Lake area
to current
location

2002

Track Attack
Program is
established for kids
between
Jackrabbits and
High Performance

2008

Hosted the Arctic
Winter Games. The
AWG now includes
Scandinavia, Russia,
Alaska, Greenland
and Northern Canada

threw himself into the sport,
training for, and completing,
the Frostbite 45 — a grueling
45-kilometre trek that begins
and ends at the club — in
March. This distance is no
small feat for any skier, let
alone a beginner. It was
during that race that the spirit
of Yellowknife’s ski community
really resonated with him,
inspiring him to become a
volunteer. Before the snow
fell this year, Clyne was
spending weekends at the
club helping clear brush on
the trails.
“It was amazing to me that
people can commit so much
time to make something so
big run,” Clyne says, “and
after seeing that, I’d like to
help a lot more this year.”

Want to Know More?
For information about lessons
for both adults and kids, and
how to become involved with
the Yellowknife Ski Club, visit
skiyellowknife.com

Getting Started

Overlander Sports offers boots,
bindings, skis and poles as well
as all the clothing you need to
be comfortable on the trails.
Beginners can expect to spend
$350 for a basic ski package.
If you’re on a budget or not
ready to commit to new gear,
you can scope out secondhand options through Head
Gear, yktrader.com, or the
newspaper classifieds.
Each November, the Ski
Club hosts a Snow Show
at the chalet. This annual
grand opening of the season
celebration includes a second-

hand gear sale. Get there early
to find some great deals.

Can’t Get to the Club?
Where Else to Ski…

The joy of being surrounded
by all this open space is that
it’s easy to get out to ski from
almost every corner of the city
once enough snow falls. Check
the City of Yellowknife website
or Tourism NWT for trail maps
and ideas of where to explore.
Or, when the ice is safe (only
according to the Yellowknife
Fire Department), head out
on Great Slave Lake to enjoy
endless hours of flat terrain.
Just remember that anywhere
you go outside of the Ski Club
you will be sharing the trail
with vehicles, dog-sled teams,
snowmobilers and other skiers.
Make sure to stay visible and
share the trail.

Life with Dogs – Where
to Ski with Your Furry
Sidekicks

Since pooches are off-limits
at the Club because of the
groomed trails, here are some
spots for people with puppies:
1. Tin Can Hill – dogs can be
off-leash while you amble
around the trails. This is still
City property, so please pick
up after your pooches.
2. Great Slave Lake – be
careful around snow
machines and the ice road
if your dogs are off-leash.
Quiet corners of the lake are
a great place to learn how to
skijor (where your dog pulls
you while you are on skis).
3. Vee Lake Trail – off Vee
Lake Road on the Ingraham
Trail. A few hills but lots of
space for your dog to run
through the bushes while
you ski.

Available exclusively at the

Gallery of the
Midnight Sun

5005 Bryson Drive,
Yellowknife, NT X1A 2A3
Phone: (867) 873-8064
EDGEYK.CA

17

EDGE_Fall_2012_ITI_Film_Commission_Ad.indd 1

18 EDGEYK.CA

12-08-20 7:03 PM

Story by Laura Wright | Photos by Pablo Saravanja
People who live in the North, whether for two years or 30, tend
to have a fierce loyalty to the place. Even if they leave, they
often don’t want to let it go – it lingers in their bones. Many of
these people choose to declare their loyalty with a permanent
mark on their skin.
Ravens, northern lights, airplanes, inuksuit, bears – these are
among the most popular tattoos around town. There are also
plenty of XIAs and 867s, and there are likely a few YZFs too.
Dennis No Body, who prefers an old nickname to his real last
name, worked as a tattoo artist in Vancouver for 20 years and

recently relocated to Yellowknife. He tattoos at the Shirt Shack
downtown on Franklin Avenue. No Body says Yellowknife is a
bit conservative, so tattoos aren’t as common here as they are
in some places down south. He guesses another reason for that
is, a few years ago, tattoo artists in town left some people with
less-than-satisfactory results.
“It’s like having your first boyfriend be really sh*$#y to you,” he
says. “The next guy who comes along – you might give him a
chance, but you’re a whole lot more careful.”
But No Body adds that Yellowknifers are open-minded. Body
 Tim Edwards
 Greyson Gritt’s group of ravens

EDGEYK.CA

19

art is becoming more common, and
people tend to get unique tattoos.
“In more of an urban centre you get
people who are getting tattooed for
the sake of getting tattooed. When
I lived in Vancouver, I did 50 million
nautical stars and 50 million sparrows
and you know, none of them were
sailors – they were dudes in really tight
pants wearing makeup,” he says.
“Northern people are more apt to get
tattoos representative of their lifestyle,
where they live.”

In Cleo Stinson’s case, that couldn’t be
closer to the truth. Stinson grew up in
Inuvik and Yellowknife, spending her
days on the frozen lakes and paths of
the North running her parents’ dog
team. A few years ago, Stinson and her
two sisters decided to get matching
tattoos of a dog sled team with three
dogs (they were only able to keep
three of their sled dogs when they
moved to Yellowknife).
“I think it was really special and it’s nice
to have a connection to your roots.

Tim Edwards’ NWT coat of arms

And as you grow up, you go south for work
or whatever, but you have this memory on
you forever,” she says.
The sisters got the tattoos in a Ted Harrison
style after growing up around the Yukon
artist’s playful images. Stinson also has a pine
tree on her back. It’s a skinny, short northern
pine – the kind that juts improbably out of
the Canadian Shield.
“It’s just, like, home,” she explains. “It sounds
so corny – like ‘oh, I love Yellowknife!’ But
it’s true and it’s what I’ve been around all my
life.”
Tim Edwards, a born-and-raised Yellowknifer,
decided to commemorate his hometown
and home territory. Edwards describes
his X1A tattoo (the first three digits of
Yellowknife’s postal code) as a rallying cry for
his city. “You know, at the end of the night
with friends, you’re doing a shot, you yell out
X1A.”
Edwards also has a northern sun on his chest
and the Northwest Territories coat of arms on
his back. The coat of arms has an Arctic fox, a
ship representing the Erebus and the Terror,
tundra, boreal forest and the Northwest
Passage. He says the reason for his tattoos
is simple – he loves being able to call such a
mysterious and unique place home.
“There’s a certain elitism that comes with
being from Yellowknife and it’s a good and
a bad thing. But it’s always something I carry
around with me.”
While he wasn’t born here, Bob Kussy has
lived in Yellowknife for almost 30 years.
On his shoulder, the artist has a tattoo of a
whalebone owl carving. It’s a symbol of his
life and his passion.
“I gotta get in a boat in the Arctic Ocean
with my polar gear on, get off somewhere
with a backpack and a gun and hope I don’t
run into a polar bear, find s$#t to carve, all in
the hopes that I will have a successful year to
come,” he says.
Kussy says his few run-ins with polar bears
on Baffin Island are just as harrowing as his
boat rides in the ocean — jostling in small
boats on rough water, and passing by
giant icebergs the size of the NorthwesTel
building.
“It’s like Titanic and I’m in a row boat,” he
says.
Greyson Gritt didn’t grow up in Yellowknife
either, but it’s the place the well-known
Continued on page 22

20 EDGEYK.CA

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EDGEYK.CA

21

singer-songwriter has lived
the longest as an adult. Gritt
has several tattoos, and a
few are related to time spent
in the North. There is, once
again, some Ted Harrisoninspired art – a group of
ravens on Gritt’s forearm
were taken from one of the
author’s children’s books.
Gritt also has a complex
upper arm scene describing
the journey north – a 1964
Ford truck winds down a
road, which is also the shape
of a record. Mountains
and pine trees form the
background. The truck is
also a symbol for Gritt’s 1964
Harmony Rocket guitar.
The musician gets tattoos
whenever something major
happens, and a lot has
happened in Yellowknife.
“There’s all these very
significant things and
emotional things, so for me it
makes total sense, like telling
myself, ‘remember this.’”
Gritt adds that no one really
bats an eyelash at multiple
piercings and tattoos. “Here
in Yellowknife it just seems
like you don’t need to hide.”
When the tattoo ink sinks
into the skin, it’s there to stay.
Body art tells a story about a
person, their experiences,
their life. Dennis No Body
says people get tattoos for
all kinds of reasons, but the
permanence is perhaps the
most significant.
“The bottom line is, it’s the
only thing you get to take
with you to the grave.”
***As a footnote (excuse the
impending pun), contributor
Laura Wright has a northern
tattoo of her own on her right
foot. A raven sits there so she
will always have a reminder of
the North.
Greyson Gritt’s journey north

22 EDGEYK.CA

Mackenzie Wood Bison

Harvesting closed
Wood bison harvesting in the Mackenzie Wood Bison
Range is CLOSED for all harvesters as of November 1, 2012.
No wood bison can be harvested in the Mackenzie Wood
Bison Range.
Contact your local Environment and Natural Resources
office for more information.
Report any wood bison harvesting in this area to the
Report a Poacher line at 1-866-762-2437 and provide
details about the situation.

Conserve our
wildlife resources.
Hunt responsibly
and safely.
128-253 Edge Magazine
EDGEYK.CA

23

work in progress
Fort Smith-born performing artist Reneltta Arluk has travelled the world, telling her peoples’ stories through
inspirational theatre. She’s starred in Tomson Highway’s Rez Sisters, theatre company Human Cargo’s
production of Night, will appear in Maina next year, her first feature film. She also runs Akpik Theatre Co. in
Yellowknife and returns to the city as often as possible. This year she released Thoughts and Other Human
Tendencies, a book of poetry. Most recently, she’s been organizing a workshop reading of Yellowknife playwright
Ben Nind’s work, Fawdor, in Vancouver, where EDGE YK caught up with her.

EDGE YK: What brings you to
Vancouver?
Arluk: I did one feature film last year
and after 10 years of doing theatre I
thought I’d try doing film and television
so I’m giving it a go. I’ve got an agent
and I’ve got a really sweet place to
myself. I’m giving myself a year. But I’ll
be back north. I still have my theatre
company in Yellowknife. I just kind of
swing back and forth. I don’t really stay in
one place too long.
E: What prompted you to write a book
of poetry?
A: I’ve been writing my whole life and
I always carry a journal. I bought this
journal back in the day, like in ‘96, that
I couldn’t afford, so to justify it I said I’ll
put the best of all my writing into this
journal. And when that journal’s done,
I’ll submit it for publishing. I was doing a
show in Toronto and the book got filled.
And then Richard Van Camp posted
on Facebook that Bookland Press was
looking for writers and I thought that’s
very serendipitous because I have my
book with me, I’m in Toronto, so I went
to a photocopy place and I photocopied
all the poetry and I sent it to them.
And they said, can you type it out first
because we can’t really read it. That
took about a month. I sent it off and then
about a month later they said, you know

24

EDGEYK.CA

with some editing we think you’ve got
a very good book of poetry, and we’d
like to publish it. And I was like, oh f#$k,
that’s incredible!
E: How was that process different
than creating something meant to be
performed live, on stage?
A: I think they both include being
vulnerable and exposing vulnerabilities
that the audience can see themselves
within. But because poetry is ultimately
just me, and I never expected it to be
published, I never made choices about
how I was going to write this or from
what perspective I was writing this. I
just wrote it from where I was in that
moment.
E: And because you were so open and
vulnerable and you weren’t expecting
these poems to be released publicly,
a lot of them are about very intimate
subjects. There’s a lot of sex in there.
How do you feel about that?
A: (Laughs) Ah, I’m ok with it. I’m not
really sure yet, I’ve been asking people
for feedback. Like what pieces really
resounded with you, what captured you
in those moments, and I gave one to
my ex and I said ‘did you read the book
yet,’ and he’s like ‘yah, I read your little
sex poem,’ and he was kind of smiling
… like you’re such a child and I was like,

‘whatever, it’s fun.’ And I like the rhythm,
like I think I write with a rhythm, and it’s
easy to get motivated. I just find that
it’s fun to write about sex sometimes.
Because it’s quick and it’s like fun, and it’s
exciting. I don’t know. (Laughs)
E: The poems are about Aboriginal
experiences, but they reflect feelings
and thoughts that are universal. What
are the universal themes you feel hold
people together?
A: I think exploring the love and the
sex is across the board and having
those pains and those attractions and
those connections. I think environment.
Whenever you go somewhere you’re
always experiencing that environment
for the first time, and you’re always
assessing yourself in that environment
and what’s different, what’s not different,
what do you connect to what don’t
you connect to? So I think our humanity
within the earth is a very universal theme.
Our humanity within each other, I think
that’s a huge theme. And I think the
family is very important. I think those are
the major ones.
E: You’re Chipewyan/Cree on your
mother’s side, and your father is
Inuvialuit/Gwich’in. Does that make it
harder or easier to tell stories of your
ancestors?

A: Yah, I’m totally northern. I should just
marry a Metis man and have a little kid and
we’d be the all-NWT nation. (Laughs) I
think my mom’s a little uncomfortable
with this stage I’m going through right
now, but because I was raised by a
single mom, I was raised the Dene
way and so all of my spiritual beliefs
really come from that perspective, of
smudging and from the land, and
then like believing in the creator and
the ceremonies she introduced
me to. And then as I got older,
because I wanted to know
more about the Inuit side of
myself I’ve really dove into
this recently, looking at it from
an adult perspective. And so
I’m working on the language
aspect of it, I’m connecting
more with my relatives, and
I changed my name to
Arluk, and all these things.
So I think the perspective
of storytelling is the same
– I haven’t really noticed
a difference, and I think
in the perspective of
the writing, I just write
where I am and how I
see it and I’m both, so
then I just assume that
it’s going to connect
to both.
E: When you’re on
the road, what do
you miss most about
home, the North?
A: I always know
when it comes
around wintertime if
I don’t get a nice cold,
cold winter experience
then I feel as if I’ve really
missed out. Sometimes I get it
in Whitehorse, or Yellowknife, but if I don’t have
a really bitter cold feel at least once a year, I feel
like I miss home.

Photo Pat Kane

EDGEYK.CA

25

Have a g
re
at

rketing an
ma
d
pr
ith
w
o

idea? Nee
dh
ess
n
i
el
s
p
bu

?
ion
ot
m
We should talk.
Industry, Tourism and Investment’s Support for Entrepreneurs and
Economic Development (SEED) policy could help get you started.
North Slave Office: (867) 920-8967
www.iti.gov.nt.ca/businesseconomicdevelopment/seed.shtml

26 EDGEYK.CA

Story and images by Jay Bulckaert

A grizzled veteran takes a hunting
virgin on a life-altering moose harvest
The boat went into the water without a hitch. We threw in our
gear and Tetris’ed 12 jerry cans of fuel into the stern. Our little
canine companion Heidi took her command post at the bow as
we blasted out into the darkness. This last point is important…
it was full-on dark still at 4 a.m. in October. There were reefs all
over, islands jutting out. The lake can go from 80 feet of water
to three feet in a matter of seconds. We had no GPS, no depth
finder and were motoring along at full throttle — but I wasn’t
worried. Garry Whyte knew this lake like the back of his hand.
He’s been here hunting around 20 times since he moved to the
NWT from Sointula, B.C., seven years ago. Raised on the water
and a commercial fisherman for most of his life, Garry has dealt
with way bigger boats, in way bigger water than this. If it was
just me, I’d already be lost, crying and contemplating having to
eat Heidi to survive.
You might be asking yourself why I’ve forgotten to tell you
where we were. Seems like an important fact, right? Rest
assured I have not forgotten. I’m simply not going to tell you. I

learned several things over the course of that hunt and one of
them is there are unwritten rules to hunting.
Rule #1: You don’t disclose your hunting hole to anyone,
especially other hunters. So for all of you Elmer Fudds out
there, you’ll be happy to know I won’t break that rule, just as
much as you’ll be pissed to know that I won’t break that rule.
Garry goes to moosetopia a lot to “chuck some lead at swamp
donkeys,” as he likes to call them. He has never gone home
without his moose, and I want that to continue.
I met Garry about five years ago at a dinner. He brought over
$300 worth of seafood and spent the whole evening cooking
it for us. He is a boisterous character. Burly, unrefined, offensive
at times, funny and clearly likes to have a good time. He is your
classic rough-around-the-edges hardworking man with a heart
of gold. That night, he didn’t have a single bite of the feast he
had prepared; he just sat there happily watching people eat,
making sure they found it delicious, sipping his rum and Cokes.

 Garry Whyte makes a moose call.
Hear what it sounds like and see
more from the hunt in my video at
edgeyk.ca.

EDGEYK.CA

27

He wasn’t in the mood for company on this trip however. Just as
we rounded the bend to our campsite, we spotted something
ahead, every hunter’s worst nightmare — another hunter. Garry
knew exactly who it was.
Rule #2: If you tell another hunter where you might be going
hunting, make it vague. And if that hunter guesses the location,
he is not welcome to come out and sniff around. This guy knew
he was in violation, because as soon as we approached him,
he blasted off ahead of us because, Rule #3: The first person to
beach on a location gets it and the connected bays for hunting.
This put Garry in a do-or-die mode, so we headed straight
towards his prime moose hunting grounds. Once they saw
where we were headed, they pulled a full 180 and came in hot
on our tails.
As we finished tying our boat to a tree, the pursuing boat
pulled up and the air became thick with tension. Garry let them
know he doesn’t like hunting on peoples’ backs, nor does he
like people hunting on his. There were a few minutes of men
staring awkwardly at their feet. We had a choice, do we hunt or
do we sleep? Obviously, the decision was to stake our territory
and start walking the two-kilometre portage to Garry’s stashed
aluminum boat.
With the kicker fired up, we putt-putted out into the bay. We
were officially hunting now, scanning the shoreline. At any
given moment a moose might show up and we had to be
ready. The emotion I was experiencing was one of anxiety,
almost panic. The same emotion one has about fighting
another man. What will it be like when it actually goes down?
Will I panic at the wrong moment? It hit me that I might feel
really bad about shooting this animal. I have hunted ptarmigan,
duck and have done tons of fishing, but a moose is different.
Did I really have it in me to take the life of a massive animal like

 My first-ever moose.

28 EDGEYK.CA

that? I felt like I was involved in some serious man-business that
I had no right to be a part of. I was out of my league. But deep
down, it felt right. I eat meat and consciously put myself into
situations where I’m forced to get my hands bloody in order to
enjoy the meat I eat. If we choose to eat meat, then we are part
of that process whether we like it or not, and I think I should
take responsibility for that. Suddenly, Garry killed the motor and
pointed to a bay about a kilometre ahead. Two unmistakable
black forms jutted from the shoreline...swamp donkeys.
We shored the boat and crept Vietnam-style towards our
potential dinner for the next winter. About 300 metres from
us stood a cow and a calf. Garry instantly went into kill mode,
which is something to behold. He is calm, fiercely focused and
methodical. Three rounds in the clip, three extras in his right
pocket, he rested the gun on a boulder for stability, breathed,
aimed and let the lead fly. The first shot was high and the
moose didn’t even move. She just perked up her ears. Second
shot, third shot, all misses. Reload. The fourth shot, just high.
The fifth round was chambered, a slow measured breath and
CRACK. The moose dropped. I decided to shoot for the calf.
I fired three shots in a total panic — free arming the rifle — and
shot way low. The calf bolted into the forest. This wouldn’t be
the last moose I would miss on this trip.
We had to drag the cow back through the water to the shore
of the portage. As we approached, the hunters from before
stood and stared. I could tell they were jealous. One of them
mentioned that they thought World War III was going down
out there. After all, we did shoot almost 10 rounds in a matter of
minutes. The cow was dragged onto shore as far as we could
get her, and then the real work started.
Continued on page 30

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It is abhorrent at times, the array of liquid and colours that emit
from an animal that size. Then again, it seemed like the animal
was made to be taken apart, something that probably has more
to do with Garry’s hard-learned expertise than anything else. I
remember checking in with myself to see what level of guilt I felt
for the now motherless calf and I will fully admit, I felt very little.
This was meat now. I respect animals, but somehow I locked
into that primal part of humanity that allows you to kill and
clean a 500-pound animal over the course of five hours and still
manage to get hungrier by the minute. Ten hours into our day
we finished cleaning the animal and, completely exhausted,
took a moment to collect our thoughts before hauling out the
meat.

it was another squirrel she was about to bark to death. Then I
saw the flash of black fur. The hairs on my neck stood up. I was
drenched head to toe in moose blood, exhausted to the core
and about to come face-to-face with a hungry bear.
I chambered a round and took a step forward to get a better
look. Garry came up right behind and I handed him the gun.

If you’ve ever moved a mattress that has no handles on it, you’ll
know what it’s like to carry freshly killed meat. The quarters
each weighed easily 100 pounds and there was no way to get
a good hold on them. They are slippery, gooey and floppy.
Garry let me use his pack board because I am a pussy. He
took the heaviest meat, the hindquarter, and lugged it out on
his shoulder like Conan the Barbarian. The only thing worse
than lugging a hindquarter two kilometres through a forest, is
having to turn around and do it again. As we approached the
final meat to be packed out, Heidi stopped dead in her tracks.
I was first in line behind her and had the gun, but I just thought

 Garry’s successful shot.  Moose chips: made from a good steak cut, dredged
in flour and a bunch of spices, then fried in butter until they are medium rare. You’ll
eat these like you do an entire bag of chips, begging someone to “take these
away, I can’t have another bite.”

30 EDGEYK.CA

Continued on page 32

$20 for Christmas!

Ptarmi

YOUR PERFECT NORTHERN FRIEND!
Wildcat Jitterbug was just one of
those designs where I wanted to
incorporate a classic Yellowknife icon
and some goofy birds.

Other patterns by janet pacey…

I hope you enjoy making this pattern.
You can easily do the whole piece,
using your most colourful scraps.
I’d love to see your finished version.
Send a photo to me at
janetpacey@ssimicro.com and
I’ll put it on my website and
facebook page!

Raven Town

beaRy picking

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nahanni floaT plane

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supply list

For everything excpet the
background, you should be able to
use scraps for the pieces of this
pattern. If you are purchasing fabric,
buy .25 metre chunks or fat quarters.
Use whatever colours and patterns
you’d like. The bigger variety
the better it will be!
See instructions for more detail.
Backing
.5 m
Batting
.5 m
Fusible Web 1 m
Use Embellishments of your choice.

Wildcat
jitterbug
Quilting Pattern
16.5” x 24.5”
© 2006 JanET PacEy

Pattern copyright held by Janet Pacey.
no part of this pattern may be reproduced
in part or whole without written consent of:
Janet Pacey Design and Illustration
23 Forrest Drive Park
yellowknife nT x1a 2B4
(867) 444-8470
janetpacey@ssimicro.com
www.janetpacey.com

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by Janet Pacey

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visit ptarmi at
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920-0770
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32 EDGEYK.CA

We got out onto a bay early the next morning because Garry figured the previous hunters
had made calls there, and it’s always a good idea to double back when others call out a bay.
Sometimes, moose will come from miles away when they hear a call. Watching and listening to
Garry make a moose call is as educational as it is bizarre. His eyes roll back in his head, his face
contorts, and once he’s done it sends shock waves through his body. He’s also really good at
it. But no calls were needed in that bay because five minutes cruising into it we spotted a bull
standing on the shoreline, staring at us. I grabbed the gun. This was my moose. This was my
chance to face the reality of taking an animal like this. Some people hunt for years up here and
never get their moose and Garry had just gotten me within 100 yards of a broadside shot on
Bullwinkle.
I was so anxious, so excited that I had trouble keeping the gun steady as I cracked off three
rounds, every one a miss. The moose gave me the finger and disappeared into the willows. Garry
assured me that every hunter misses, but it didn’t matter, I was crushed. I sat there silently staring
at my boots, replaying it in my head. I knew the next time — should I get another chance — I
needed to breathe, be methodical, be patient, but most importantly, be calm. Calm as a Hindu
cow Jay Bulckaert (that’s pronounced bull kart). We left Heartbreak Bay and went back to camp in
silence.
On our final morning, we got up at the crack of dawn and headed back to a bay we had called
out the night before. This time we beached the boat on the other side and ambushed through
the forest. Taking from Garry’s playbook, I had the clip in the gun, three rounds in my right pocket
and reminded myself sternly to be calm. As we broke through the trees on the other side, I
instantly recognized a set of racks and backed up before the bull could see me. Garry switched
to kill mode and walked me through the process, which was basically shut up and don’t make a
sound. My heart pounded in my head as we crept towards the bull.

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Scampering up a tree, a wolverine glared at us, snarled then tried to climb higher. We could see
it had just been in a fight, probably with something bigger, its ear was almost torn off. BOOM,
the gun echoed through the forest. The warning shot Garry fired sent Hugh Jackman snarling off
into the forest. The final trip to carry the last quarters was completed in double time.

 Our kitchen.

 Garry lugging out the hindquarter like a viking god. I
had to stare at this gore for two straight kilometres.

 Garry’s dog Heidi sniffing the quartered cow. Each of these things
weighed easily 100 pounds.

EDGEYK.CA

33

We came to a small opening about 40 feet from the animal
and I was sternly told to sit down. We both sat in silence for a
minute, but the moose was onto us and started to walk away
into the brush. I couldn’t believe it. Garry let out a call and we
waited. Nothing. Then suddenly, a few branches cracked, then
some more and I could hear its hooves sucking in and out of
the bog coming towards us. Then I saw it. Coming straight at
us was a three-year-old bull, waving his racks back and forth. I
raised the gun out of sheer panic, but Garry told me to wait. It’s
hard to explain what it feels like to see an animal that size come
at you — a huge, feral beast — but somehow I found my nerves
and waited calmly as Garry continued to call. That bull stopped
20 feet from us, staring right down my scope. With the green
light to fire, I raised the .300 savage, aimed and CRACK — the
round zipped just past his shoulder. The bull turned and started

 Me, about to carry out the second
front quarter on my pack-board, and
clearly not looking forward to it.

34 EDGEYK.CA

to walk away. I had missed again.
But all of Garry’s hunting experience told him this wasn’t over
yet, so we walked out of the brush onto the open shoreline as
Garry kept calling. As I stepped onto the shoreline, there stood
the bull, broadside to us 15 feet away, just staring. Something
in me had changed and it just took over. In an instant I raised
the rifle, aimed right behind his shoulder, took a breath and
fired. The bull went down like a bag of hammers, dead before it
hit the ground, like someone had just pulled the plug.
Shaking with every emotion I’ve ever had, Garry and I high
fived but I was so overwhelmed that I bear hugged the man.
And then it dawned on me, now the real work started. We
had to clean this massive animal and lug him out of the forest.
I instantly wished there was a cart around to wheel him out, a
bull cart if you will, get it...a bull kart.

by Katie Weaver
“So, which Weaver do you belong to?”
Ah, the most often-asked question put to any Weaver kid in the
ever-growing city of Yellowknife. Here, when I meet someone
new, I needn’t answer any common questions about how
long I’ve lived here, or what my parents do, or even anything
regarding my personality. All people need to know is that I’m a
Weaver and everything automatically becomes clear. Being one
of the founding families of this town, you could say we are the
northern version of the Kardashians: we’re widely known, we
like to drink and there are way too many of us. Being a Weaver is
not just being part of a family — being a Weaver is a lifestyle.
The Weaver lifestyle has been constructed upon years and years
of history. To the best of my knowledge, it all began when my
great-grandpa, Harry Weaver, started up Weaver & Devore
— Yellowknife’s first and longest-standing general store – with
his business partner/drinking buddy Bud Devore (my fathers
namesake) in 1936. Everybody helped out with that store — my
grandparents, my dad, and each of his seven siblings. Ever
since my dad and I can remember, on Friday nights after floors
were mopped, Weavers and a few select friends would drink
in the back of the store. To this day, this still happens every
Friday night. I’ve never been back there and not heard roaring
laughter throughout the night.
However, our lifestyle is not all fun and games. I’ve watched my
dad come home after working 11-12 hours, six days a week,
exhausted. I’ve seen the physical tolls the labour has taken
on his strong body, still lifting 50-pound sacks of potatoes in
each hand when unloading the weekly freight trucks, despite
his age. I’ve tried my hand at working at Weaver & Devore,

The author’s sisters, Lisa and Sarah Weaver
on top and in the middle, and Katie on the
bottom, taken in July 2011 while on summer
holidays in Sylvan Lake, Alta., after a long day
of lake swimming.

36 EDGEYK.CA

but I quickly became more of a burden than an asset to the
business. What can I say; I’m a peaceful writer. The high-stress
environment wasn’t for me. Still, just being in the store has
exposed me to the true meaning of hard work. My uncles,
aunts and parents have dedicated their lives to that busy place,
and I respect them for their work ethic and perseverance. They
are role models for the way I plan to attack my future career.
There are perks to being part of such a unique family, and
then, there are downfalls. I remember my first day at William
McDonald Middle School, way back in 2006. Well, that’s a
lie — I remember one little part of my first day. I was at my locker
between classes and a tall, skinny, bald man approached me
from behind. “Are you a Weaver?” he asked me. I looked up at
this stranger’s poker-face and timidly nodded. He replied with
a curt, “I hate Weavers,” turned around and walked away. I felt
doomed. In that moment, I couldn’t help but think, “Aw, man.
Why do I have to be a Weaver?” I only learned the context of
his comment much later. He was a teacher who had seen a few
Weavers prior to me in his time teaching there. One of them — a
cousin — he often teased and vice versa; even taping her chatty
mouth shut in class one day as a joke. I guess he figured it was
only natural to tease me, too. After all, the apple doesn’t fall far
from its cousin trees.
But, I’ve grown up since then. I’ve gained enough life
experience in my 17 years to understand that being a Weaver
is special. For example, our family gatherings at Christmas and
Thanksgiving are the most storybook evenings anyone could
ever dream of. Our magic number is usually around 30 guests.
All my first cousins, their children, my aunts and my uncles
squish together around a series of tables. Until I grew older, I

never realized what a treat it is to have so much family where I
live, being able to sit down with all of them and enjoy a meal
cooked by all of us during the holidays. The nights always have
the same elements, my personal favourite being the dozen
overlapping voices of uncles laughing and knee-slapping at
their own jokes. It never gets old for me.
Another thing that I will never tire of is the traditional song
sung by Weavers at birthday parties. The song follows directly
after the typical “Happy Birthday” song, and it goes like this:
“We hope yah live to be one hundred, we hope yah live to
be one hundred, we hope yah live to be one hundred, one
hundred years or more. YEEHAW!” I know, that’s so Weaver.
I quickly realized it was only performed at Weaver birthdays
when I began to sing it at my friends’ parties, and I was the
only one who knew the lyrics. Once I hit my pre-teens, having
my parents belt out this foot-stomping country birthday tune
in front of my friends embarrassed me. I was in the “too cool”
stage. Nowadays, my friends have learned to sing along, and
I’ve embraced the song, ready to pass it down to my children.
The day I’m away from home at university, and I don’t hear that
song on my birthday will be a strange one.
Yes, it’s the little things that make being a Weaver special, like
writing a test about your family. Part of the mandatory Northern
Studies course at Sir John Franklin High School involves
learning the history of Yellowknife. Vegetating in class and
perking up to the teacher lecturing about your grand-dad?
Finding books in the school library with pictures of your family?
Watching videos in class that show the very store where the

Katie’s dad, Bud Weaver with his twin, Bill, and Bill’s
granddaughter, Fiona, taken at the back of the family’s store
in February 2010 on the pair’s birthday.

EDGEYK.CA

37

Katie’s uncle Ken Weaver
with an old employee, Julie
Williams on Ken’s birthday
at the back of the store.

bulk of your family spends most of their days? That can make
you look forward to a class.
Growing up a Weaver has another big perk. Constant candy
hook-ups. It was a fat kid’s fantasy. I could walk into that store
like I owned it (Oh, wait…) and walk out with all the candy my
little potbelly desired. But this easy access to store merchandise
has its downsides. For one thing, I’m thinking people are
beginning to think I’m poor or unhygienic or something. I have
been wearing the same jacket since Grade 8 (social suicide in
a teenager’s world). Not because I adore it, not because it is
very warm, but because it isn’t from Weaver & Devore. See,
when I hit Grade 8, I decided it was time to own a more stylish
coat that wasn’t from our store. So, I had my parents buy me a
$300 coat from Overlander Sports. This was the first coat in my
family that wasn’t from Weaver & Devore, so my parents said
if I’m going to wear it, I better damn well wear that coat until
it cannot be worn anymore. So, here I am, still wearing that
stupid coat which, by the way, provides nowhere near close to

38 EDGEYK.CA

the warmth a Weaver & Devore coat could.
Additionally, us Weavers don’t drink any Coke products. In
fact, Coke is referred to as “the four-letter word” in my home. I
have a couple uncles who run Territorial Beverages Ltd., which
supplies only Pepsi products. Kids sometimes gave me pretty
weird looks when they’d offer me a sip of their Coke and I’d run
away. I truly thought there was something wrong with Coke!
Like a soldier knowing his enemy, I will always stray away from
Coke products, regardless of where I am.
As little girls, my two sisters and I have all asked my mother
at one point in time, “Mommy, are we famous?” She would
chuckle and tell us no, but the fact that our budding minds
thought we were, is a statement in itself. I love being so in touch
with my history, and having such a large part of my community
in touch with it too. I love that when I’m going to the mall
with my dad, it takes us double the time because he’s so busy
talking to people who know him. I love that I can flip through a
local magazine and be surprised with an article regarding my
uncles. I love the look teachers give me on the first day when
they notice my last name while reading through the attendance
list for the first time. I love that I’m never the only Weaver in my
school. Above all, though, I love how there is no other family
like mine. Hate us or love us, we will keep on listening to Shania
Twain and George Jones (at his Yellowknife concert, we had
a table at the front reserved just for Weavers) at full blast, and
telling the same old jokes, and revealing ancient stories of the
crazy stuff we did back in the day. We’re certainly different, and
I look forward to raising my children the way I’ve been raised: a
Weaver.

EDGEYK.CA

39

by Clark Ferguson
I was taken to the original Yellowknife Artist-Run Community
Centre in October 2011 during my first foray to Yellowknife.
I was here, at the time, to present a film in the Yellowknife
International Film Festival. The original YK ARCC was, in
essence, a place where artists could present artwork, make
artwork, perform music, exchange ideas and socialize. ArtistRun Centres exist all around the country and all have been artist
instigated and propelled to provide a place of community,
presentation, and public exchange. As such, the Yellowknife
version of an artist-run centre seemed inclusive, incredibly
open, and fun. There seemed to be an urgency and incredible
community support for the place. There was a photo show
hanging in a small back room, a drawing show in another, a
live band playing in the chapel area, and a barrel of beer in the
foyer with lots of people smiling, imbibing. There was an active
board, a free space for a matter of months, and, like I said, a

lot of smiles, and a lot of ideas. And I was told, over and over,
‘Yellowknife needs this! We need this!’ And to be honest,
I’ve been through a lot of centres, and I can’t remember
experiencing such excitement about the idea.
Artist-run centres, like I have said, are artist driven and provide
a public place where artists can grow, develop, and share
their practice. It’s where artists are free of the institutional
workings and free to take chances. This is so important for the
development of an artist, and an arts community, as it allows
for critical discussion amongst colleagues. And a healthy arts
community is good for the health of a city, even a region. And
an artist-run centre isn’t really ever any one particular thing,
as it’s developed by the community that seeks to create it
and which it will inherently serve. It could be an art gallery, a
media arts centre, such as the Western Arctic Moving Pictures
Society, affordable studio space, or workshop space. It’s really
Continued on page 42

40 EDGEYK.CA

Photo Janelle Fillion / over under in Design

 Inside the Yellowknife Artist-Run Community
Centre, above the Taste of Saigon restaurant,
during the November hanging of a show by
artists Melaw Nakehk’o and Angela Sterritt.

EDGEYK.CA

41

defined by the community, and it’s meant to
grow and develop into a capable stand-alone
organization, open for all and a service to
everyone.
I have worked at, and shown work at, artistrun centres across Canada, volunteered, and
resided on boards. In fact, I have four or five
current memberships for centres throughout
the prairies and utilize them in different
capacities: one as a distributer for film
projects, two that I utilize for film production
equipment and post-production work,
and another, I am purely an appreciative
member-at-large who loves the presentation
of glorious, gorgeous art. Three of the five
artist-run centres are media-centric with
similar mandates, but serving different cities.
The fourth is a visual arts centre mandated
to present experimental, critical forms in the
visual arts that serves to feed not only the
community of artists, but also the community
at large. And the fifth is an arts magazine. And
I am actually in Yellowknife now creating a
web documentary project through a Canada
Council for the Arts and WAMP residency
project.
The WAMP folks have set me up in a work/
live scenario at the new YK ARCC, above Taste
of Saigon restaurant. As the first tenant in the
space, there really wasn’t much going when
I arrived in September. When I asked what
happened to the old ARCC, one of the board
members sat me down, sighed, and said, ‘It’s
a bit of a long story.’ And so that energetic
chapter ended.
And so here it is reborn. Having somewhat,
as I understand it, lost the plot and their
prized street-level entry, the new YK ARCC
has rebranded as somewhat smaller and a lot
safer. Still downtown, they are offering studio
space and a community arts gallery space
for classes, workshops, gallery shows, and
maybe performances – moving forward one
floorboard at a time.
So the ARCC is renewing itself, and this
is nothing unusual. In fact, Canadian Art
magazine has an article online about whether
ARCs should exist at all in their present form or

whether they should be washed away and a
new model created – more professional, less
of them, etc.
But this is an old conversation that seems to
pop up every three or four years. For what
purpose or whose agenda, I’m not really sure.
I come from regionally isolated Saskatchewan
and understand the idea that if you don’t
make it yourself, no one’s gonna make it for
you. And as such, an artist-run centre in an
isolated region has a different purpose than
one specific to a niche practice in, let’s say,
Toronto. There are different agendas and
different communities served. A large centre
may have a space specific to performancebased art making, along with other centres
that also provide a specific mandate to a
community. And in a smaller regional centre,
you may have to broaden your appeal to
cross-disciplines. And that’s just fine. Actually,
that’s better than fine. It is a flexible model
that fits appropriately to the context. That’s
actually super fine.
So, what is an ARC? It doesn’t seem I’ve set
myself up to argue it’s one thing or another.
But truly it is a community of people who
come together, work together, to create a
space that serves not only a community of
artists, but is open and allows for outsiders
to observe and participate, learn, and be
part of exchange. It’s not only a place where
professional artists can excel, but a place
where a novice can feel welcome. So, how
does an ARC maintain the balance of being
a welcoming space, and not being a bar?
Or please one set of constituents and not
alienate another?
In my experience, it helps to have a good
board that adopts or creates a good set of
governance rules, learns from its mistakes,
and carries that forward. Choose a mandate
and follow it as the over-arching rule, which
is also necessary to find the funding to pay a
staff member, pay artist fees and grow as an
organization. But again, the question is: to
grow in constituents to what? That’s what YK’s
ARC is contemplating. Come be part of it.
You are welcome.

Check out ykarcc.com to see what’s happening at Yellowknife’s ArtistRun Community Centre, as well as when it’s open for business.

42 EDGEYK.CA

WHERE HAVE

Lavez-vous

BEEN TODAY?

pour combattre les germes

YOUR HANDS les mains

September 2012 | Septembre 2012 | www.hss.gov.nt.ca

Originals by
T-BO
jewellery / fine art
award - winning designs

private and corporate commissions welcomed
spirit guides /anniversaries / engagements / family crests

supporting local non profit groups for 26 years!

Holiday Hours: Mon - Fri:10 am - 9 pm Sat - Sun:12 - 6 pm
4609 Franklin Ave, Yellowknife, NT.
tbo@theedge.ca :) 867- 873-5672

EDGEYK.CA

43

On Edge: Opinion

Dorothy Proud

On Mayor Heyck’s “surprise” election
and the way forward at City Hall
Mark Heyck surprised a lot of people Oct. 15 when he beat
Tim Doyle and Paul Falvo in convincing fashion to become
Yellowknife’s next mayor.
Not because the three-term councillor posted any kind of
out-of-nowhere victory over Doyle, a political rookie and the
self-declared candidate for “change” (whatever that well-worn
trope means – change can also suck), or Falvo, a well-liked
council veteran. The surprise, for a lot of people, I think, lay in
Heyck’s margin of victory: about 550 votes over Doyle.
Even in the final week you could find a lot of people who
thought the appetite for a new direction at city hall was
enough to propel Doyle, who spoke for a lot of people in
the business community in terms of their frustrations with the
ancien regime.
Reading the tea-leaves, it looked like Falvo and Heyck would
split the left-of-centre vote and allow Doyle to sneak up the
middle. Indeed the outer suburbs were perceived by most
(based, admittedly, on little more than gut instinct) to be a
potential Doyle stronghold. But the ‘burbs didn’t break his
way, and Doyle won only one poll. Heyck was strong citywide, which gives him a solid mandate, but it also means
pressure to make sure every neighbourhood feels attended to.
Then again, that’s kind of the mayor’s job.
Perhaps a stiffer challenge will be for Heyck to salve the
wounded relationship between City Hall and the Yellowknife

Chamber of Commerce. The election of Doyle, who stepped
down as the chamber’s Executive Director to run for the City’s
top political job, could have – in theory – accomplished this
quickly.
Instead, Heyck will have to mend fences. As past mayor
Gordon Van Tighem’s preferred successor, he’ll have to wear
the charge that city spending and tax increases are out of
control (a partly debatable assertion outside the scope of this
column), and that the City is failing on downtown issues (ditto).
Here’s where the new council can help. On the whole, it’s
a remarkably young group, with a fairly diverse range of
ideological persuasions. Known council quantities Cory
Vanthuyne and Bob Brooks were returned. Phil Moon Son,
Adrian Bell and Niels Konge are rookies who nonetheless
come to council with business bona fides – Bell currently in real
estate, Son and Konge in construction. Dan Wong was seen as
a choice for green voters.
And this is a young group. Brooks is the oldest councillor
at 55. Newcomer Rebecca Alty is 29, Wong is 27, and Bell
and Konge are 36 and 39 respectively. The average age of a
Yellowknife city councillor is a shade over 40.
So there’s plenty of expertise – if not experience – and people
Heyck can use as emissaries, when it comes time for the City to
make friends and influence people.

If you can’t
have fun here,
give up.
5018 Franklin Ave.
Open Monday to Saturday
11:30 am to 2 am
44 EDGEYK.CA

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Con
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a
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A
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A
y
Energ
IndIvIdual award
• doug whiteman from Norman Wells won the Individual award
for promoting the use of wood pellets in his community.
InstItutIon award
• The Yellowknife YwCa won the Institution award for energy
and water savings at Rockhill Apartments.
CommunItY award
• The Community of Enterprise won the Community award for
reducing water use and greenhouse gas emissions by having
less water delivered.
BusInEss award
• The Yellowknife direct Charge Co-op won the Business
award for reducing energy use by installing heat reclaims and
high efficiency refrigeration units.
For more information about the Energy Action Awards and energy
efficiency programs, visit www.aea.nt.ca or call 867-920-3333.

Verse by Anthony Foliot
I went out on a full moon for some scrabble and some wine,
and a couple litres later you can bet that I was primed
to crash a Christmas party of the Northern broadcaster,
then standing with my first beer, well that’s when I met her.
She sure was animated when she spoke of Northern skies.
The Aurora Borealis… and she said she liked my eyes…
So then I got to thinking that she was pretty swell,
with her blue tights and party dress, a true blue Yukon Belle.
She said she found it interesting that I lived out on the lake.
I confess I wasn’t listening, my thirst I had to slake.
Though she was pretty frisky and tugged the whiskers on my face…
But the barman shouted out last call and we had to leave that place.
So we all trooped out into the night, the moon was full and round,
Then the cabbie said “no more than six” and drove off with the crew I’d found.
Well I wasn’t sure just what I’d do, or where the party lay…
But standing on the sidewalk there was my good old buddy Jay.
He told me not to worry much, the party’s location he knew…
So we hopped in a cab and made our way down Franklin Avenue.
Well, that party was still swinging, with a fiddle and guitar band…
I had grabbed the mic and was singing with a fresh cold beer in my hand.
Then again I saw that Yukon Belle with her boss, and he tried to advise her
To stay away from the likes of me, ‘cause I was a “womanizer.”
But that didn’t seem to bother her, when we chatted it up some more,
while the band started to pack things up and the dancers left the floor.
Then everyone left that party and we grabbed a taxi ride.
My buddy Brent in the front seat babbling, and the Yukon Belle by my side…
I saw her safely to her place and generally feeling swell,
and when I stumbled home myself, the wife she gave me hell.
But I’ll think about that ‘Full Moon Night’ when I was “on the town,”
and wonder ‘bout that Yukon Belle that I never see around.

Happy Holidays friends.

46 EDGEYK.CA

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For good times and great food
come to our House

Our doors are now open for great food and great times. The Smokehouse Café is
Yellowknife’s newest restaurant that offers up a variety of dishes, from comfort
foods to classic cuisine in a rustic setting that is complete with a spectacular view
of Back Bay. Experience the Smokehouse Cafe today!
Open Monday to Friday from 11:30 am to 7:00 pm
Lunch from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm; Dinner from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm
902 Sikyea Tili, N’Dilo • (867) 873-6439 ext. 104
twitter: @yksmokehouse

EDGEYK.CA

47


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