As the COVID-19 spotlight has been primarily focused on developed nations and their domestic agendas, the challenges for remote regions are often overlooked. Among the most compelling stories in the health care crisis centers around the small Siberian Yup’ik island community of Savoonga. With a population of 826, Savoonga is in the Bering Sea, off Alaska’s western coast, closer to Russia. It is one of only two villages on St. Lawrence Island, along with Gambell. (Bartholomew, 2015).
Sonia Wesche, Kari Johnston, Christy Huey, Mark Andrachuk, Felix Arndt & Jiamin Jiang
The COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented challenges to entrepreneurs and businesses during its early phases, forcing them to rapidly adapt their means of product and service delivery. This involved coping with the closures of brick-and-mortar stores, constantly changing public health and safety measures, decision-making to support and retain employees, and managing customer and employee expectations in response to these changes. In the unique context of the Yukon Territory in the Western Canadian Arctic, entrepreneurs were faced with additional challenges due to the territory's small size and population, relative isolation, and strict territorial border controls. This makes the Yukon a compelling case study to examine how entrepreneurs adapted to the pandemic both in the short and longer term.
This article focuses on Kari Johnston, a local entrepreneur and business leader who also served as a Municipal Councilor during the early stages of the pandemic. Johnston initiated a podcast that highlighted the experiences of business owners and leaders as they grappled with the new and shifting pandemic context. The podcast also highlighted the importance of community-oriented supports like Yukon University’s PIVOT Program (April-September 2020), the Tourism Industry Association forum and Yukon Government programs, all of which helped Yukon businesses reboot and grow during the pandemic. The podcast chronicled how, together, these initiatives created a collaborative knowledge-sharing network that provided support during the critical period of initial pandemic response when entrepreneurs were facing high levels of uncertainty. This exploration provides insights into the resilience of the entrepreneurial sector, and highlights the importance of tailored, community-based supports in responding to pandemic-like crises.
Crystal Gail Fraser
Today, the pandemic of SARS-CoV-2 has touched every corner of the globe and the Canadian North is no different. Dinjii Zhuh (Gwich’in) living in the Gwich’in Settlement Area, alongside other northern Indigenous Nations, have undoubtedly been affected – culturally, socially, economically – by these measures. Dinjii Zhuh living in Inuvik have experienced unemployment, isolation, psychological distress, and other hardships. Dinjii Zhuh families have returned to the Land during the pandemic, where one can socially distance themselves from others yet still enjoy community. And our cultural practices and Gwich’in Knowledge have been passed on during the pandemic: storytelling, hunting, working with wood and snow, preparing moosehides for smoking, gathering traditional medicines, and much more. For those who remained indoors, Youth learned how to bead and sew, work with leather, engage in storytelling, and learn our language Dinjii Zhuh Ginjik. There is a need to better understand Dinjii Zhuh lived experiences and coping mechanisms through the COVID-19 pandemic. We have connected health, wellness, and spirituality to our ancestral Lands since Time Immemorial and today is no different. Accounts of cultural resurgence, resiliency, humour, and strength are at the forefront.
Gwen Healey Akearok
COVID-19 has posed a significant threat to Indigenous populations across the Arctic who experience many of the social, economic, geographic and health risk factors that are associated with severe outcomes of COVID-19.
Anders Koch, Mie Møller & Åse Bengaard Andersen
’Anders, can you help us? It is 7:00 AM and we have a passenger who has not yet received his COVID-19 test result. He will be flying to Greenland in 2 hours…’. This was an example of a phone call that we regularly got from the staff at Air Greenland in Copenhagen airport during the period March 2020 – February 2022.
Kati Parkkinen, Ulla Timlin & Arja Rautio
The aim of this media analysis is to investigate how the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in Finnish Lapland during its first years from the perspective of a local newspaper. The data consists of published articles during years 2020 – 2021 which concentrated on the COVID-19 pandemic, and it was collected from one local newspaper called “Inarilainen” by using paper versions of the newspaper. “Inarilainen” is published on a weekly basis, reaching out to people in the northernmost municipalities of Finland, including Sámi and non-Sámi, and being an important source of information for locals. Papers were reviewed, and news was initially included if it provided any information about the COVID-19 pandemic. Analysis continued to find answers to following questions: what kind of information related to COVID-19 was published, who provided the information and what kind of content and style the news used. During the analysis four journalistic styles were found: authority style, humane style, societal style, and realistic style. When identifying the main results, the reviewed articles were found to be solution seeking, empowering and empathetic, because humane and societal styles were emphasized in the communication.