June 2, 2006
Two Kugluktuk hunters missing, presumed dead
Two Kugluktuk hunters are presumed dead after a search last week found their snowmobile, but no sign of the men.
Lenny Hikomak, 33, and Gregory Havioyak, 21, were last seen during the afternoon of Thursday, May 25, travelling in front of the community and heading back into town.
But they never came home, police were told later that afternoon.
The next day a search party recovered their snowmobile, near a patch of open water. Shortly afterwards the search was called off due to dangerously thin ice conditions.
Nunavut's First Triplets
Jul 9, 2004
Joanne Kokak remembers clearly the moment when she discovered she was expecting triplets. However, little did she realize that when the trio made their entrance into the world at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton on May 22nd that they'd be the first triplets of Nunavut, following the creation of the territory on April 1st, 1999.
"I was shocked. I didn't know whether to cry or scream," she says as she lovingly cradles daughter Sophie in her arms. However, both Joanne and her husband Lenny Hikomak are smiling now.
They're excited about the idea of taking their three new bundles of joy - Sophie, Gracie and Faith -- home to Kugluktuk to show off, particularly to their three other children - Recas, Tara Jane and Cassie. The three older children have been staying with family since mom and dad left home in mid-May to come to Edmonton for a routine appointment and ended up staying.
Kugluktuk is a community of about 1,300 residents on the shores of the Arctic Ocean northeast of Yellowknife. Residents from Kugluktuk and other communities in the NWT and Nunavut routinely travel to Edmonton for specialized health services, in this case high-risk obstetrical services, unavailable in the North. Capital Health provides these services through the Northern Health Services Network which includes a team of nurses - all with experience working and living in Canada's North - who are available to provide support and assistance to northern residents in Edmonton for health services.
Joanne and Lenny first learned they were expecting triplets about four months into the pregnancy when Joanne went to Yellowknife for an ultrasound. She laughs when she remembers phoning her husband to tell him they were expecting triplets.
"He said are you sure? I said yeah and he was quiet for the longest time. I said hello, hello are you still there? I thought he'd fainted," she says. "He just asked are you sure again? I said yes we're having three babies and he was quiet again. I thought for sure he'd fainted."
For his part, Lenny says he was just trying to absorb the news. He then quickly shared his good news with his family, starting with his mother-in-law. "She'd dreamed of having a baby girl two or three days before and so I told her she'd now get her baby girl," he says. Inuit culture provides for the adoption of babies to family members through custom adoptions and Joanne and Lenny have agreed to give baby Sophie to Joanne's mom.
The three girls are all doing well. Faith (2 pounds, 9 ounces at birth) and Gracie (2 pounds, 12 ounces at birth) have gained about two pounds each since birth. Sophie weighed in at 3 pounds, 2 ounces at birth and now weighs 5 pounds, 11 ounces.
The triplets complete the Nunavut couple's family. "Our fourth child turned into four, five and six," says Joanne with a chuckle.
The couple will remain in Edmonton until the girls are feeding on their own and then they'll probably go to the Stanton Hospital in Yellowknife before making the final trek home to Kugluktuk and family and friends.
Nunavut's first triplets born
A Kugluktuk couple who gave birth to Nunavut's first triplets in an Edmonton hospital told Nunavut News/North they couldn't wait to come home.
Joanne Kokak and Lenny Hikomak welcomed babies Gracie, Sophie and Faith into the world on May 22. The babies were born prematurely, and by the time Lenny and Joanne spoke to Nunavut News/North the babies were getting bigger and doing just fine.