Arctic News Roundup: 15-21 November

[Photo by Mingming Shi]

by Mingming Shi

1) The Arctic Yearbook 2021: Defining and Mapping the Arctic has been published. This online work is composed of six sections, along with several shorter notes, covering issues ranging from regional security and sovereignty, Arctic economic development, discussions on Indigenous culture and art and media, and other high north-relevant subjects.

2) The Russian energy firm Rosneft confirmed that construction had begun on oil extraction facilities at the Yenisey Gulf (Енисейский залив) region in the Taymyr Peninsula. The ambitious enterprise will include new pipelines and electrical lines, as well as housing and airstrips for workers. As explained in the Barents Observer, while the project has been touted by local authorities as environmentally responsible, critics have nonetheless pointed to risks to adjacent waters once oil drilling commences.

3) The History Channel published a story about how a Iñupiat woman from Alaska was able to survive alone on Wrangel Island in the early 1920s. In 1921, an international expedition team, made up of four men and one woman, Ada Blackjack, (who was the last member to join), and even a cat named Vic, headed to Wrangel. However, during in the journey she became ostracized and was even mistreated by her male counterparts. What she later encountered was not only severe Arctic climate and temperatures, but also the disappearance and death of the others, and threats from polar bears. Besides fighting against loneliness, Ada also managed to hunt animals and constructed boats. Finally, in August 1923, she was spotted and saved by another ship. Ada Blackjack passed away in 1983 at the age of 85.

4) A symposium on ‘Small States and Great Power Balancing, Affecting Change, and Navigating Dangers – Small State Perspectives in the Arctic and Asiatakes place on Monday, 22 November in Oslo, Norway. The event is hosted by the Peace Research Institute – Oslo (PRIO) and the Nansen Professorship at the University of Akureyri in northern Iceland.

5) As CBC News reported, this week a group of young students, (as well as some of their parents), in Iqaliut, Nunavut, protested against insufficient suicide prevention measures. According to the participants, this march was organized to call for further awareness and support for mental health from territorial authorities.

6) The Reykjavík-based West Nordic Council (Vestnordisk Råd) is advertising the position of General Secretary (Director) for the organisation. Please refer to this link for further information.