“Nunavut teenhood, in a frozen and depressing nutshell”
By Chris Windeyer
The story ran on the website of the New York-based hipster magazine Vice.
Entitled “Arctic Teenagers,” it’s basically a second-hand retelling of one girl’s experiences growing up here.
“What if it was -50C outside, booze and drugs are almost triple what they are in the rest of the country, and a bunch of your friends committed suicide because they got dumped?” the story reads. “That’s Nunavut teenhood, in a frozen and depressing nutshell.”
The piece also describes the smell of maktaq as “sweet, rotting, flesh-garbage” and claims that kids go snowboarding “in tank tops when it’s –35 C and get sunburned.”
Angnaluaaq ‘Tia’ Friesen, an 18-year old nursing student at Nunavut Arctic College, called the story “pretty insane.”
Friesen said the Vice story serves as an introduction to Nunavut for some southerners, and while the article has streaks of truth throughout, it’s insulting to imply that all teens ever do on weekends is get wasted.
“I’ve never been drunk,” Friesen said. “I’ve never been high.”
So Friesen’s started a Facebook group calling on Vice to pull the story. It’s attracted more than 130 members in under a week.
Comment: There's a fine line between "negative but accurate" and "too negative and therefore inaccurate." For instance, the Vice article says:
The piece is focused on the negative and cultural insensitive. Since I haven't visited Iqaluit, I'll take Friesen's word that the portrait is unfair and "pretty insane." It carries a whiff of stereotyping: Natives as drunk, good-for-nothing, and uncivilized.