On Christmas Eve, Cabin Radio’s newscast rhymes

On the final day of Cabin Radio’s 2022 advent calendar, we bring you our annual festive tradition: Ollie’s rhyming newscast.

Every December 24, Cabin Radio’s morning news is delivered in poem form. Today’s newscast applies that approach to news of a winter storm in the south, a church’s last act of giving and more.

Ollie’s rhyming newscast for Christmas Eve 2022.

The rest of Cabin Radio’s advent calendar looked back at 2022 by gradually sharing 24 stories we think are some of the most interesting from the year just gone.


We tried to avoid the day-to-day run of regular news reporting (you probably don’t need reminding about anything that involves the word “pandemic”) to focus on things that were unusual, challenging, fun, interesting or uplifting.

Each day from December 1 to December 24, we added a new story. You might remember each story, or there might be a chance to read or watch something you missed. Explore the list below.

Tanis Simpson, left, combs out qiviut yarn at the Great Northern Arts Festival. Megan Miskiman/Cabin Radio

December 23

Watch Tanis Simpson work with muskox to produce qiviut yarn

Born in Sachs Harbour, Tanis Simpson has spent most of her life working with qiviut yarn, which comes from the undercoat of a muskox.

At this year’s Great Northern Arts Festival, Simpson returned from Edmonton to Inuvik to demonstrate how she produces the yarn and uses it in products ranging from boots and gloves to headbands.


“People are really surprised at how long it takes,” Simpson said of festival visitors learning about the process.

“It’s nice to educate them on the processing, because it’s just amazing fibre.”

Watch how qiviut yarn is made.

John Murray Konisenta of Nahanni River Expediting rides his boat down the Liard River in June 2022. Caitrin Pilkington/Cabin Radio

December 22

A year in Nahanni Butte


Remembering a 2012 flood that caught the whole community off-guard, as well as events in Fort Simpson in 2021, Nahanni Butte’s leaders decided early in the season to have a strategy in place.

“It’s a big concern every year,” said Lory-Anne Bertrand, the community’s emergency coordinator. “In April, Chief Steve Vital and band manager Soham Srimani called a community meeting and all members met in the gymnasium to discuss the possibility of flooding. They were already thinking ahead, which is great.”

Soon after, they posted a role for someone to focus on emergency response. Bertrand stepped up.

“Not everyone was coming to meetings, so yesterday we went from house to house, asking, ‘If we evacuate, will you need air travel? Or will you be jumping in your own vehicle? Do you need assistance getting to your vehicle? Or are you planning on staying in the community?’

“So now we know which individuals will be in which category, we know what members plan on doing, which is really good. Some people are a little skeptical it will really flood this year, but we want them to know that if it happens, we can offer assistance if they need it – that we have a plan.”

Later, in September, a new agreement gave Nahanni Butte more control over the massive Nahanni National Park Reserve, a move that also boosts the Dehcho community’s economy.

Ten jobs are being created in the community of less than 100 people. Three new buildings will be built: a Parks Canada office, a guardians program office, and a lodge for tourists and Elders.

Jayne Konisenta, a longtime councillor in Nahanni Butte, said a Parks Canada office in the community fulfilled a request Elders had made for decades.

“I’ve spoken to a lot of our Elders who are no longer here. When I was talking to them, things were not going the way they wanted,” Konisenta said at a signing ceremony for the agreement.

“I sat around with them and I told them, ‘It’s not going to happen overnight. It’s going to take years.’

“I started this when I was in my 20s. I’m in my 60s now, and our Elders have passed. Now I’m becoming an Elder and I’m still at the table, but I’m very glad to see where we’re at today.”

Read more about Nahanni Butte’s flood preparations and the new Nahanni National Park Reserve deal.

Miranda Currie, right, collects the NWT's Indigenous artist of the year award from ceremony host Tanya Snow
Miranda Currie, right, collects the NWT’s Indigenous artist of the year award from ceremony host Tanya Snow. Megan Miskiman/Cabin Radio

December 21

NWT names its first music award winners

Miranda Currie, Crook the Kid and Kilo November were among the winners as Music NWT staged its inaugural awards ceremony in Yellowknife.

Meanwhile, the Yellowknives Dene Drummers, Ted Wesley and Norm Glowach entered a newly formed NWT music hall of fame.

Currie, named the NWT’s Indigenous artist of the year, recently released an album designed to help children learn their traditional language.

“Every time I hear Miranda play, her music plays in my mind for the next six hours,” said the ceremony’s host, Inuk author and throat-singer Tanya Snow.

Kilo November, the teenage DJ who sensationally closed the Cabin Stage at Folk on the Rocks 2019 and returned in 2021, was honoured for the territory’s best live performance.

“I’m still shocked. I kind-of don’t believe it,” said the 14-year-old, adding he discovered he had been nominated after his mom received the call while he played video games.

“She came into my room and said, ‘Something crazy has happened.’ I’m like, ‘What?’ And she’s like, ‘You’ve been nominated for this music award thingy.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh no way, that’s awesome.’”

Read more about the NWT’s award winners and hall of fame inductees.

A TransGlobal Car Expedition image of the test drive to Resolute
A TransGlobal Car Expedition image of its March 2022 test drive to Resolute.

December 20

Meet the expedition behind Yellowknife’s grounded ‘Russian’ jet

When the Transglobal Car Expedition arrived in Yellowknife in March, the team made headlines around the world. Its members arrived in an aircraft chartered by Russian former oil and gas executive Vasily Shakhnovsky – and the plane was immediately grounded in accordance with Canada’s sanctions regarding the invasion of Ukraine.

After a week of silence, the group’s members were prepared to talk to us. And they had an extremely ambitious project to talk about, even if it’s one some people might find bizarre – and exactly the kind of thing a wealthy Russian would dream up.

They’re trying to drive across the globe, south to north and back again. Oceans and sea ice be damned.

Two legs of that trip are so fraught with peril that the team needs a test run to be sure things will work during the expedition proper. One of those is Antarctica, a test completed in December last year. The other is Yellowknife to the North Pole. That’s why the team landed in the Northwest Territories.

Watch our video explaining more (and find out how the test went later in the year).

Hockey players at the 2022 Polar Pond Hockey tournament in Hay River
Hockey players at the 2022 Polar Pond Hockey tournament in Hay River. Emily Blake/Cabin Radio

December 19

Cabin Radio takes on Polar Pond Hockey

Polar Pond Hockey returned in 2022, so Cabin Radio sent its all-stars – both of them – to take on the might of the North’s greatest backyard behemoths.

We put microphones on AJ and Lekter to capture their innermost thoughts as battle commenced. Stay tuned for some pearls of hockey wisdom… and one quite incredible missed opportunity.

Plus hear from Oilers legend Craig MacTavish, one of this year’s tournament attendees.

Watch our video from Hay River’s greatest hockey event.

Cabin Radio 2022 summer interns Amelia Eqbal, left, and Sophie Kuijper Dickson share a touching gift from the newsroom on their last day
Cabin Radio 2022 summer interns Amelia Eqbal, left, and Sophie Kuijper Dickson share a touching gift from the newsroom on their last day. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio

December 18

New slo-pitch division finds teams happ-E to be there

There’s no I in team and there was no E in slo-pitch – until some Yellowknife slo-pitch teams proved themselves bad enough to earn it.

The Yellowknife Slo-Pitch Association announced mid-season it would add a new “enthusiast” division, one rung below the existing D division, to keep games competitive and maximize playing time.

The consequence is that some teams who already thought they were in the worst available division have been told they are, in fact, even worse than the previous ranking system allowed.

“I never even considered this a possibility,” said Rylund Johnson, team captain for newly-appointed E division team Take Me Home Tonight.

“I was always very adamant that we were a D league team, and no one was allowed to get too good or take it too serious – and then they created E, and I realized that a dream I didn’t even know I had, had come true.”

Read more about Yellowknife’s very worst athletes, an article written by Amelia Iqbal, a member of Cabin Radio’s paid summer internship program.

Taltson satellite view
An enhanced satellite image of the Taltson hydro system’s Twin Gorges facility is seen in Logan Earth. Image: ESRI World Imagery

December 17

Yellowknife man creates alternative to Google Earth for northerners

Many northerners use Google Earth to understand the land around them, but the level of detail is limited compared to other cities. Logan Rudkevitch has a solution: Logan Earth. 

“Sometimes northerners just have to do these things themselves because big companies like Google just don’t care to do it, as we are not their top priority,” he said. 

Google uses 30-metre by 30-metre pixel sizes in its northern maps, which not only make it challenging to find friends caught in compromising situations, but also limit awareness of changes happening to the land as climate change progresses. So Rudkevitch created a similar map using available imagery at a higher resolution.

Rudkevitch believes many residents find Google Earth frustrating and “not a true representation of what the ground is like here, at all.”

“I’ve definitely caught myself going out into the bush and thinking a trek was going to be very easy,” he said, “and it turns out it’s actually a cliff. It just looks flat because they’re using such a large pixel. I think it’s good for people to have access to knowledge about what the land actually looks like. Especially for those who are still making decisions based off Google Earth.”

Read more and explore the NWT using Logan Earth.

A feature of Brisket Fest
A feature of Brisket Fest. Photo supplied by Josh Ferguson

December 16

To help a girl with leukaemia, Norman Wells turns to brisket

When Brandon Glover’s two-year-old daughter, Alexa, was diagnosed with leukaemia in July, the whole town of Norman Wells wanted to find a way to help.

Colleagues at North-Wright Airways, who had been toying with the idea of a brisket night, diverted their attention to the Glover family’s cause.

“We realized that instead of being just for fun, we could make a brisket competition and sell plates to the community as a fundraiser,” Josh Ferguson, who moved to the town last year, told Cabin Radio.

“Especially up here, there’s not good food everywhere,” he said. “You can cook it at home, but going out to get restaurant-quality food is not really that easy.”

Northern Fancy Meats and Norman Wells’ Ramparts and Northern stores donated meat and other supplies. The group soon had 60 lb of brisket, 60 lb of fries, 130 buns and 20 lb each of beans and slaw, almost all of it acquired for free.

“We sold out within 15 minutes,” said Ferguson.

Read more about Brisket Fest and the Glover family.

Niki Mckenzie, left, and Kris Schlagintweit in a submitted photo.

December 15

Yellowknifers make Maori snow sculpture for Swedish festival

In January, Yellowknife residents Niki Mckenzie and Kris Schlagintweit took a test run at a sculpture of a Maori goddess they hoped to reproduce at a Swedish festival later that month.

Mckenzie and Schlagintweit were accepted as one of six teams at the Kiruna Snow Festival, held in a town in Sweden’s far north.

In preparation, they spent a weekend in a dress rehearsal on the ice of Yellowknife Bay, attempting to turn a drawing of the goddess Whaitiri into a larger-than-life sculpture.

Watch a video of the sculptors at work.

Floodwater in Hay River on May 11.
Floodwater in Hay River on May 11. Photo: Lori Snow

December 14

Leaving in a hurry, some Hay River evacuees made unusual choices

As Hay River flood evacuees returned home earlier this year, one man saw the need for some uplifting humour. Garth Carman asked online for the “nuttiest” item people packed mid-evacuation.

The wackiest item Carman grabbed in his panic to leave the community? Oven mitts. “We were just shovelling stuff off the counters and trying to get the heck out of here,” he said.

The oven mitts may have been strange. The family cat-packing strategy was, if anything, stranger.

“We have three cats and we didn’t have any way to transport them. We had one carrier and three cats,” Carman said.

“So we stuck one cat in the cat carrier. Then we grabbed the ottoman and stuffed a cat in the ottoman. The cat kept jumping out, so my daughter was duct-taping it shut.

“Then we grabbed a laundry basket and stuffed a cat in there and duct-taped it shut.”

Family cat Gary had been quite upset by the commotion, a mood not improved when, in Carman’s words, Gary’s “shrieking and thrashing body” was stuffed into a wicker laundry basket.

Read more evacuees’ reflections on unusual things they packed in their haste to reach safety.

North Shore Towing and team of divers remove a truck from Prosperous Lake
North Shore Towing and team of divers remove a truck from Prosperous Lake. Emily Blake/Cabin Radio

December 13

Removing a submerged truck from an NWT lake

It’s not uncommon for vehicles to fall through the ice in the Northwest Territories. Retrieving them can be tricky – but we were on the scene this year to document exactly how that happens.

North Shore Towing and a team of divers removed a truck submerged in the narrows on Prosperous Lake, just north of Yellowknife.

The divers secured airbags to the Toyota Tacoma to help it float to the surface, then towed it close to shore by boat. There, the towing company was able to pull the truck to land with a winch.

See photos and video of the recovery mission.

Scott Thomson
Scott Thomson. Photo: Supplied

December 12

Yellowknifers hitting 40 begin new journeys in kickboxing

By their thirties, there are some Yellowknife residents – their hips and knees ground down by concrete floors and parched summer turf – already retiring from sports.

Then there are the city’s kickboxers, competing for regional and national honours regardless of hearing their forties knocking. And despite their friends being unable to comprehend.

“People are asking me: at 41 years old, why are you looking to compete in kickboxing?” said recent convert to the sport Scott Thomson in June.

“My answer is I didn’t want to be 75 years old and sitting on the couch, wishing I had. I had a blast.”

Gopi Rajkumar, who moved to Yellowknife in 2014, returned to his birth country of India in May to take part in his state’s kickboxing championship, held in Chennai.

Before the flight, he recalled, everybody said: “You’re too old for this.”

“I’m almost 38 now. They said, ‘Why do you want to do this? At this age? You have a family, you have a kid to raise.’ I have an 18-month-old son and my wife, they are both in India. So they said: ‘You must be insane. Why don’t you do something else?’

Read more about Yellowknife’s kickboxing community.

The Air Tindi float base in Yellowknife. Emily Blake/Cabin Radio

December 11

Air Tindi stars in Nasa hybrid aircraft project

This year, Air Tindi agreed to supply an aircraft for a Nasa program that aims to get a hybrid electric aircraft off the ground by 2025.

“We’ll have a front-row seat for the next three years,” said the airline’s president, Chris Reynolds.

“In the North, it’s so far between airports. This is going to see more use for shorter legs between communities and then, as more people use it and if there’s a North American manufacturer, it’s going to take off,” he said.

“The technology is going to take a long time to be super-useful for the far places we go to, but it has to start somewhere and it’s neat to be a part of it.”

Read more about Nasa’s plans.

Shamar Bennett gets a hug from his mom
Shamar Bennett gets a hug from his mom. Ollie Williams/Team NT

December 10

Family flies from Sahtu to surprise Team NT athlete

Shamar Bennett thought it was a standard pre-game interview as the NWT’s soccer team prepared to face Ontario at this summer’s Canada Games in Niagara.

The 18-year-old, who grew up in Jamaica, lives in Norman Wells. He was the only player in the team who lived outside Yellowknife.

When Canadian Tire heard his story, the Canada Games sponsor chose to secretly fly Shamar’s mother and stepfather from the Sahtu to Niagara. Shamar didn’t know they were coming.

Oblivious to his family arriving behind him, Shamar began describing how they had supported him in the run-up to the Games, and how he would represent Jamaica and Norman Wells with pride as part of Team NT.

He was then told to turn around – to find mom Keisha and stepdad Courtney standing there.

Watch what happened next.

Violet Jumbo, left, and Andy Norwegian at an app development session in Yellowknife
Violet Jumbo, left, and Andy Norwegian at an app development session in Yellowknife. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio

December 9

Are Tłı̨chǫ and Dene Zhatié textbook cases of language rebirth?

Tłı̨chǫ language lessons in Yellowknife had more than 100 students this fall and a new textbook launched.

The book, Tłı̨chǫ Yatıı̀ eyıts’ǫ Dǫ Nàowoò, is by Rosie Benning and Georgina Franki.

Franki, who says she taught herself Tłı̨chǫ using the New Testament during decades away from her home community, doesn’t want to stop there.

“Georgina says she wants Tłı̨chǫ Netflix,” said Benning, laughing.

Meanwhile, the Dehcho First Nations spent the year working on an app designed to teach people the basics of the Dehcho Dene Zhatié language.

The app is based on a 20-lesson guide prepared by Dehcho First Nations language manager Violet Jumbo and Dene Zhatié language specialist Andy Norwegian.

Norwegian hopes the app achieves two aims: becoming a tool to help language learners but also acting to “document the language that is used by the Elders and enhance that preservation.”

Read more about the new Tłı̨chǫ textbook and the Dene Zhatié app.

In a still from a Vatican-provided TV feed, the Pope prays at the Ermineskin Cree Nation Cemetery ahead of a speech to Indigenous peoples on July 25, 2022.

December 8

‘You only heard about the Pope. The focus should be on survivors’

When Gerri Sharpe met Pope Francis this year as president of Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada, her message and the image she posted to Facebook were shared by thousands of people.

“I knew, when I spoke to him, that I wanted to show him my tattoos. I knew it was something that I could talk about calmly, that would ground me, that I would not be upset about,” Sharpe told us afterward.

“I had already resolved that I wasn’t going to feel that anger when I spoke to him, I wasn’t going to be angry. Because I already had an idea of what I wanted to say, and if I had gone anywhere near the topic of my mother, in that moment, I would have burst into tears.”

Read Gerri Sharpe’s full account of her mother’s life and legacy, the significance she attached to her tattoos in her meeting with the Pope, and her hopes for reconciliation.

“As we reflect, I want to emphasize that the focus from media and from others should not be on the Pope – it should be on survivors,” she said. “There are so many residential school survivors that are still alive, that have stories that they didn’t get to share.”

Liam Gill, a member of Łı́ı́dlı̨ı̨ Kų́ę́ First Nation, competed at the 2022 Beijing Olympics. Chris Witwicki/Canada Snowboard

December 7

Gwich’in ski jumper and Dene snowboarder at the Olympics

In February, Alexandria Loutitt and her teammates made history with Canada’s first medal in Olympic ski jumping since 1924. They won bronze in the mixed team event at Beijing 2022.

The 18-year-old, who has roots with the Nihtat Gwich’in in Inuvik, was born and raised in Calgary.

“I grew up in Alberta in the city,” she said, explaining how she interprets her Gwich’in ancestry.

“All this hard work ethic that they’ve built, from the social, political, economic and environmental challenges of living in the North and being Indigenous, was passed on through generations and fortunately that was something I was able to apply to sport.”

Loutitt wasn’t the only Team Canada athlete in Beijing with NWT roots.

Another 18-year-old, Liam Gill, is a member of the Łı́ı́dlı̨ı̨ Kų́ę́ First Nation. He was a last-minute call-up to the Canadian snowboard team.

After finishing 23rd at the Olympics, he toured the NWT to pass on some of his experience to younger athletes. Read more about Liam’s efforts and Alexandria’s medal.

Fiddler and Cat McGurk. Caitrin Pilkington/Cabin Radio

December 6

Yellowknife’s ‘Taxidermy Cat’ is home safe and as scraggly as ever

Fiddler, a local celebrity on Yellowknife’s Lost and Found Pets Facebook page, returned home safely in September after three weeks on the lam.

He returned with another scar to add to his collection – an abscess on his right ear, likely caused by an encounter with another animal – but the 11-year-old cat was otherwise unharmed.

“Three weeks is a long time,” said his occasional companion, Cat (no relation) McGurk. “This time, I was actually certain this was it. I accepted it. People were messaging me, like, ‘your cat’s dead, dude.’”

But while at work, McGurk received a text from a friend: a cat that looked a whole lot like Fiddler was hanging around in an alley near their house.

It would be difficult to find another cat that looks a whole lot like Fiddler. Grizzled, with notched ears, a tail that looks like it’s been broken several times, and a general impression of having recently survived combat with a racoon after years spent trapped at the bottom of a well, Fiddler is often the subject of double-takes.

“People started saying he looks like a bad taxidermy, so that’s how he became the Taxidermy Cat,” said McGurk.

Read more about Fiddler and his travels.

The reunion at Fort Simpson's airport
Andrii Panshyn greets Varvara and Solomia at Fort Simpson’s airport. Photo: Supplied

December 5

Fort Simpson pharmacist helps Ukrainians reach the NWT

In April, Varvara and her daughter Solomia arrived in Fort Simpson with just a few personal items after a long journey that began when Russia invaded their home country, Ukraine.

The two arrived in the Dehcho village on an Air Tindi flight after a trip to the Northwest Territories organized by the Village of Fort Simpson and an old friend, Andrii Panshyn. 

Panshyn, a Ukrainian immigrant himself who came to Canada in 2011, said he leapt at the chance to organize safe passage for Varvara and her child, who is also his goddaughter.

Read our interview with Andrii Panshyn about his efforts helping Varvara and Solomia to safety.

Jesse Roberts in a still from a video interview with Cabin Radio.

December 4

Yellowknife woman is Canadian Pacific fleet’s sailor of the year

Yellowknifers pick up accolades for all sorts of things. Sailor of the year in the Royal Canadian Navy is not normally one of them.

Jesse Roberts, a 21-year-old who was born and raised in Yellowknife – around a thousand kilometres from the nearest ocean – has been named the Canadian Pacific fleet’s sailor of the year.

“It was a little bit surprising, to say the least,” Roberts told Cabin Radio.

“I was born and raised in Yellowknife. I lived there for 18 years of my life,” she said. “When it came to graduation out of high school, I had applied for registered nursing with several universities and I decided I wasn’t ready to make a firm decision about who I wanted to be or what I wanted to do in life.

“I didn’t want to spend four years at a university only to decide that I didn’t want to follow that career path and so, on a spur-of-the-moment random decision, I decided to join the Royal Canadian Navy.”

Read more about Roberts’ life as a boatswain.

Delaila Thomson and Stitch in Thomson’s garden. Megan Miskiman/Cabin Radio

December 3

These stunning Hay River gardens are brightening a rough year

After the town’s worst flood in decades, some Hay River residents found hope in gardening this summer.

“We’re going to regrow. We’re going to rebuild,” said Rosie Wallington, whose yard boasts an old boat that has been transformed into an unusual planter.

Delaila Thomson, a Hay River resident since 1998, said as Cabin Radio toured her garden with her dog, Stitch: “I’m by myself here, so this is what I do. It seems like I’m always going: home, work, home, work. So, when I’m home, Stitch and I stay out here – if it’s nice out, sometimes until 12 or one in the morning.”

Thomson says the colours of the flowers helped her get through this year’s flooding.

“I love the colours. I love sitting out here and just looking at all of them. I find them really helpful and I’m not so stressed when I see them.,” she said.

See photos of Hay River’s stunning summer gardens.

Soccer players pose for photos at YK Galaxy's spring tournament on April 24, 2022
Soccer players pose for photos at YK Galaxy’s spring tournament on April 24, 2022. Ollie Williams/Cabin Radio

December 2

Soccer becomes a vehicle for a community’s hopes

“Regardless of everything, we can make a difference.”

At a soccer tournament this year, we discovered the efforts being made by Yellowknife’s Zimbabwean community to celebrate the city’s diversity.

“I’m a new immigrant. I don’t really know much about the North s I’m trying to learn as much as I can and do my part,” said Adelaide Mufandaedza, in an orange shirt that promoted both the tournament and a new not-for-profit, Diversity NWT & Nunavut.

“I don’t want to be just… there. I hope we can leave a mark that is beneficial and our kids can say, ‘Hey, look, regardless of everything else that’s going on, we can make a difference in our community.’”

Read more about the tournament, the YK Galaxy soccer academy, and how soccer is helping the Zimbabwean community thrive in Yellowknife.

The Thaidene Nëné Indigenous Protected Area was established in 2019. Photo: Pat Kane

December 1

Thaidene Nëné makes New York Times travel list

The NWT’s Thaidene Nëné National Park Reserve made it among the destinations listed in 52 Places, the New York Times’ 2022 compilation of world attractions worth seeing.

Each year, the newspaper selects 52 locations considered to be among the most alluring for prospective travellers.

For 2022, the newspaper said it chose destinations “where travellers can be part of the solution.”

Read more about why Thaidene Nëné was chosen.