Stories from Inuvialuit region hitting the small screen through Tusaayaksat TV

Stories from Inuvialuit region hitting the small screen through Tusaayaksat TV
Tusaayaksat TV producer Jerri Thrasher takes a break from filming while splashing in La Ronciere falls, found within Tuktut Nogait National Park.Photo courtesy of Jerri Thrasher

Scenes from across Inuvialuit lands will leap off the glossy pages of one of the farthest northern magazines and onto the small screen, with a new television series dedicated to showcasing life in the region.

Production for Tusaayaksat TV, named after its sister publication Tusaayaksat magazine, has been under way since April and is set to wrap some time in the new year. Both are produced by the Inuvialuit Communications Society, based in Inuvik.

“In the past, we had Tamapta, we had Suaangan,” said producer Jerri Thrasher, naming older shows with similar mandates to Tusaayaksat, “but we wanted a more contemporary take on stories, to inform Inuvialuit people of what’s going on in the Inuvialuit region. We thought hey, the magazine is super successful.”

The show, described as using a “news-magazine” style, will not only feature people of the north, but also some of it’s astounding nature.

“I went out to Tuktut Nogait park this summer. Parks Canada wants to promote the park and promote tourism and we want to promote them as well,” Thrasher said, speaking of the national park located near her home town Paulatuk, about 170 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle. “I went out into the park for about a week and it was amazing, we got to see the canyons and walk out onto waterfalls, we camped out at Cache Lake and saw very, very old Inuit graves and caches and settlements and whatnot. A part of the story too is to cover it from both ends, so from a tourism point of view and from the cultural guide point of view and how they work together.”

Each episode will focus on a seasonal theme noted Tom Mcleod, another producer on the show.

“When we’re deciding what kind of show we want to make, we take into account what people want and what we hear from people in the Inuvialuit region,” he said. “We hear about the shows they want to see and what we think will work really well nationally and teach people all over Canada about where we live. It’s kind of a newsy, events-based show which will really go over well for people in our region and people across Canada.”

Aside from the stunning natural views found in the far north, Tusaayaksat will also explore the similarities and deviances in the communities of the Beaufort Delta.

“Where I come from, everyone goes hunting and everyone goes trapping, it’s just what people do,” said Mcleod, who hails from Aklavik. “I saw in some other communities that wasn’t so much the case, that they had less women and girls out hunting so I decided that we should do a little series where we kind of highlighted and did profiles on women who hunt in the regions and trap and all those kinds of things.”

The six-part series is set to air on APTN sometime in the fall of 2016.

“For the locals, I think that it really is a nice place to live and you can see all your friends from the other communities and everyone you know and you can just see what’s going on,” Mcleod said. “For a broader audience, we do have a handful of very visually stunning stories in the show that are just really beautiful to look at and I feel like that’s a good way to get people really into the show.”

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