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'Flying Wild Alaska' star in Nunavut to talk about suicide

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic
Ariel Tweto, one of the stars of the reality TV show "Flying Wild Alaska," visited Nunavut as part of her "Popping Bubbles" tour, an effort to educate young people about their own potential and prevent suicide. Discovery Channel photo

A reality star from Alaska visited Kugluktuk, a small Inuit community in Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut, this week talking about suicide.

Ariel Tweto grew up in a small Inuit community of Unalakleet.

She was featured in the Discovery Channel’s “Flying Wild Alaska” and is now living in Los Angeles pursuing an acting career.

Tweto has had friends who died by suicide.

Now she is working to help youth see there are alternatives to suicide.

“I have a platform now since our show,” Tweto said. “I owe it to people to bring awareness to suicide ’cause I know it’s gonna happen again in Unalakleet. It could be one of my cousins, it could be one of my close friends... and I’m not gonna just sit here anymore and wait for it to happen.”

Tweto’s idea is to let youth in small communities know that they can attend universities and become doctors, lawyers or actors.

She said sometimes youth get stuck in a bubble and forget there is a whole big world outside of their community.

Tweto calls her prevention workshop the “Popping Bubbles” tour.

She was invited to Kugluktuk by the Society for Building a Healthier Kugluktuk and the Kugluktuk Radio Society.

“Ariel is a big inspiration to the youth here in Kugluktuk,” said Donna Pangun, one of Healthy Kugluktuk’s Cultural Support Advisors. “Her happiness and love of life really catches on ... she’s just a lot of fun but she has a powerful message to share, a message that won’t easily be forgotten.”

This story is posted on Alaska Dispatch as part of Eye on the Arctic, a collaborative partnership between public and private circumpolar media organizations.