Linda Matchan and Michele McDonald's Artcirq video airs on Worldfocus on Tuesday February 23.
Canada's Nunavut territory covers about two million square kilometers and comprises a fifth of Canadian territory. It's home to about 29,000 people, mostly Inuit. Along with their proud heritage and striking landscapes, residents struggle with unemployment, poverty and cultural dislocation. Suicide rates among Inuit youth are ten times higher than the national average.
In the tiny Arctic town of Igloolik, where there are barely 1500 inhabitants, around 5 young adults commit suicide every year. In response to this widespread despair among the young in Igloolik, the village launched several initiatives. A film company, Iglooklik Isuma Productions, went on to win the Camera d'Or prize at the Cannes Film Festival.
With the help of a Montreal acrobat, several young people also created a circus troupe called Artcirq that blends modern circus activities with traditional Inuit culture. Artcirq has taken its performance all the way to the Olympics, performing in a Vancouver medal ceremony on February 21st.