The Chinook Project Goes to the Western Arctic- Jane Magrath

A series of blog posts from the Chinook team of 2009. We didn’t have a website back then! It’s very interesting to look back and reflect on what we did that year, and since then. 2009 was the first year we visited more than one community during a trip. The logistics of getting everything to 2 places and back, and setting up 2 clinics are always difficult.

Originally published at http://www.cbc.ca/pei/features/chinookproject/posts/intro.html

Friday, May 8, 2009 | Posted by Jane Magrath

The Chinook project – created in 2006 by me, a professor of English at the University of Prince Edward Island and Dr. Lisa Miller of the Atlantic Veterinary College – sends a group of instructors and students to a community in Canada’s arctic each summer, to provide essential veterinary care free of charge to communities with no access to veterinary services. Typically, we send four students, two AVC instructors, and one co-ordinator. For the past three years, I’ve gone along as co-ordinator.

This year, however, I won’t be going. While it’s hard for me to stay behind, it’s good for the project to be able to find its own legs. It also means that we’ve had an extra space this year, and we were able to send a technician from AVC as well as the instructors and students. This addition should help to increase the number of surgeries the team is able to perform.

This year is also different because the team is serving not one but two communities: Kugluktuk and Cambridge Bay: both in the western arctic and accessed via Yellowknife. We were in Cambridge Bay two years ago, and decided to try to piggy-back a follow-up visit this year onto our visit to Kugluktuk. This year’s team includes Drs. Peter Foley and Anne Marie Carey (instructors), Andrea Chisholm (technician), and Nicole Cummings, Shawn MacKenzie, Stephanie Robitaille, Aleta Schmah (AVC students). Nicole and Shawn will be sending daily blog entries from the north to give us all a sense of the daily experience of the Chinook Project. This blogging is also new this year, and it’s quite an experiment since the internet in most northern communities is dependent on one or more huge community satellites; if the satellite goes down (usually the result of bad weather), so does the internet for the entire community. For this and all kinds of other reasons, we’re keeping our fingers crossed for good weather for this year’s team!

 

This year’s Chinook Project has received funding and assistance from several sources including First Air, the Sir James Dunn Animal Welfare Centre, the Rathlyn Foundation, and the communities of Kugluktuk and Cambridge Bay.

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