10 Tuesday May 26 2015 ARTS CULTURE BOOKS Nobel Prize nominee launches memoir in NWT Sheila Watt-Cloutiers The Right To Be Cold blends personal and political By DALI CARMICHAEL Residents of Yellowknife had the opportunity to hear the story of one of the Norths mostvocaladvocatesonSun- dayas2007NobelPeacePrize nomineeandformerInuitCir- cumpolarCouncilchairSheila Watt-Cloutier launched her debut book in the Northwest Territories. Watt-Cloutier released her newautobiographyTheRight To Be Cold One Womans Story of Protecting her Cul- turetheArcticandtheWhole Planet at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre Sunday afternoon where she took time to discuss the book with the crowd. Lifeisntjustaboutreceiv- ing awards its really about howonecanstrugglethrough life and come from humble beginnings and still make it in the world Watt-Clouter said in an interview with The Journal. For me it was im- portanttosharethestoryand thekindsofobstaclesthatone hastoconfrontandovercome in order to get to where one getsthatkindofrecognition. In the book Watt-Clout- ier recalls back as far as her childhood when she was re- movedfromherhomeinNun- avik northern Quebec to live with a southern foster family. The autobiographical nature of the publication allowed Watt-Cloutier to address is- sues through her lens as an activist for Inuit culture in- digenous rights and the pro- tection of Arctic ecosystems. I really wanted to put the problemsthatarefacedinour communities - the poverty the violence the abuses the suicides - into a context that can be more recognisable and understandable she said. We now have to strengthen ourselves and really be able to move forward in a world where the world is now eye- ing the rich resources that lie beneath the melting ice. Its the human story behind all the scientic stories that comeoutanditsastoryfrom within our communities. While writing The Right To Be Cold Watt-Cloutier said she had less of a concern about its quality as a literary work with more of a focus on its message. I own it and Ive stood ground writing it. Im proud of it and I know that for the average person it will reso- nate and they will read it with facility and relate to it she said. With sponsorship from Tides Canada and the Yellow- knife Book Cellar the book launch was hosted by Dene Nahjo-anenvironmentaland indigenous rights group - as a part of its Indigenous Cir- cumpolar Womens Leader- ship Initiative. Cloutier was invited as a keynote speaker at the groups rst event in late 2014 where Aborigi- nal women leaders from across the North were able to network. I have enormous respect for Dene Nahjo and what theyre trying to do Watt- Cloutier said. It has taught many of us that this is a re- markable - I dont like to use the word movement because its a short-term kind of thing - but a long-term view of a way in which the remarkable youngleadersinthenextgen- eration are going to pave the way. It was very encouraging and inspiring for me. Kyla Kakfwi Scott a founder of Dene Nahjo said the organization was thrilled at the opportu- nity to host the Yellowknife launch of Watt-Cloutiers memoir. Her work and her lifes work is very tied to the work of Dene Nahjo in terms of supporting indigenous lead- ership and protecting lan- guage and culture and land and all of those core values that weve set out in our mis- sion Scott said. She talks about all those same things and its a great way for us to raise awareness support a Northern leader...Its really exciting to have someone as prominent as Sheila here and to have her in a format where people can interact with her directly. Reviews and commentary on The Right to Be Cold - which was ofcially released about two months ago - are stillrollinginbutsofarWatt- Cloutierhasbeencommended for sharing her story in a way that resonates with people across the country. Oftentimes the com- ments will come back and say I love the way that youve embraced all parts of yourself the weak the strong the struggles the highs and the lows and made it part of the entire story Watt-Cloutier said. People dont know much about what goes on when youre a con- nected Aboriginal leader heading out to these UN fo- rums and what that entails. PhotoPatKane Fort Smith volunteer honoured for 42 years of service in NWT By DALI CARMICHAEL From school dances to na- tion-widecampaignsMarilyn Napier has volunteered her time energy and services to a wide variety of initiatives over more than 40 years. Napierseffortswererecently recognized as she was named individualvolunteeroftheyear by the department of Munici- pal and Community Affairs MACAatthe2015Outstand- ing Volunteer Awards held during the NTW Association of Communities annual gen- eralmeetingearlierthismonth. Napier was unable to at- tend the awards ceremony but the Northern Journal was able to catch up with her to discuss her time as a dedicated volunteer. When they phoned me to tell me that I got the award I wasjustecstaticNapiersaid. Ive never received anything like that for all the hard work Ive done in the years. Her efforts started at the age of 12 when she joined the student government at her high school in Behchoko. With years of experience already in her arsenal Na- pier moved south to McLen- nan Alta. at the age of 18 where she became one of the youngestmembersofthelocal Ladies of the Order of the Royal Purple organization a volunteer group adjacent to the male-run Elks of Canada. It was in McLennan that Napier also started working with friendship centres an activity she would pursue for decades to come. In 1979 Napier moved to Fort Smith where she started volunteering with the Union of Northern Workers Local 2ignitingdecadesofservice with the organization. It was thenthatshealsostartedlend- inghertimetotheFortSmith Mtis Council where she was votedinasvice-presidentand wouldeventuallybecomepresi- dent for several years. SoonafterNapiermovedto the Rae Lakes region where she started her work with the Native Womens Association of the NWT. For several de- cades now Napier has used her position with the orga- nization to increase aware- ness about systemic violence against Aboriginal women. Napier sat on the the orga- nizations board before going on to become the associa- tions president from 1992 to 1997 and again from 2011 to 2013. She has also sat on the Native Womens Association of Canada executive board. After another brief stint in Fort Smith Napier traveled west to Fort Simpson taking upresidencefor11years.Dur- inghertimethereshejuggled her volunteer roles with the local friendship centre as the presidentoftheFortSimpson Mtis Council and as a mem- ber of the village council. Whilemanagingabusyvol- unteerscheduleNapiersimul- taneously raised a family and earned her keep working for theGNWT.Shemovedthrough the ranks starting out as a nance clerk and eventually becoming nancial adviser. She also completed a stint as coordinatorofcontinuinged- ucation with Aurora College. Ever humble Napier said it is the joy of volunteering her time that has kept her going for so long. It was never for recogni- tion it was because I felt I was needed and I felt that because of my knowledge I was able to help she said. NORTHERNERS VOLUNTEERS Sheila Watt-Cloutier shares her memoir at the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre on May 24.