Dorothy Arey, a champion for 23 years

Dorothy Arey, at her retirement in 2010. Photo courtesy of Philipe Morin.

Dorothy Arey, at her retirement in 2010.
(Photo courtesy of Philipe Morin.)

Level 3
Adapted from the CBC website

For 23 years, Dorothy Arey was
a CBC radio announcer-operator.
She worked in a town called Inuvik,
which is in the western Canadian Arctic,
in Canada’s North.

Arey helped people keep in touch.
The main language in Inuvik is English.
But Arey was a champion
of her own language, Inuvialuktun.
Only about 400 people
still speak Inuvialuktun.
Some people in the area
also speak Gwich’in.
The CBC broadcasts an hour a day
in these two local languages.
Radio programs in their own language
help people feel connected.
They hear what’s happening
in the community.

Read the PDF

Visit the links

Click the link for more about Dorothy Arey.
See a photo gallery.
Read the vocabulary list.

AM Radio is a lifeline in the Arctic
AM Radio reaches farther
than telephones in the Arctic.
People in the Arctic sometimes
go hunting for days,
for weeks at a time.
Some would send Arey messages
to others “on the land”,
and she would read these.
She read important news
for hunters, also.
She reported on the condition
of the river ice
on the Mackenzie River.
Is it safe to stay in the cabin or
should you hurry home
before the ice melts?
Messages like these
helped people survive.

A map showing Inuvik in the western Canadian Arctic Photo: Inuvik Weblog</a> / Flickr

A map showing Inuvik in the western Canadian Arctic
(Photo: Inuvik Weblog / Flickr)

All the news
Arey’s show had translations
of the CBC news as well as
local news and community messages.
Reporters sent her news
from small communities.
Arey told about
the births of babies,
about the deaths of friends or neighbours.

Another message might be,
“ …to Danny at camp –
you need to come back,
your son is in the hospital.”
She talked about the markers
of Inuvialuit life.

A woman with many interests.
Arey was a grandmother
who often worked
on sewing projects in the office.
She loved country music.
On her program
people sometimes heard music
by Hank Williams and Dolly Parton.

A woman of many talents
After work during the whaling season,
Arey went home to prepare
everything for the hunt:
food, fuel, and
whale butchering containers.
She got the boats ready for travel.
She carefully checked
the outboard motors.
People say Arey knew
a lot about motor parts.

Dorothy and colleagues at her retirement. Roy Goose is on the far right. Photo courtesy of Philipe Morin.

Dorothy and colleagues at her retirement.
Roy Goose is on the far right.

(Photo courtesy of Philipe Morin.)

In 2010, Dorothy Arey retired.
The CBC staff had a party for her.
Arey would have freedom and time now.
In June this year, 2014, Dorothy died.
On the CBC website
many listeners wrote messages
of love and sympathy.

Roy Goose, a friend and co-worker,
wrote a tribute to Arey.
Roy called her Qinurana,
which was her Inuvialuit name.
He said that she had
planned her retirement.
His last comment was,
“Bye for now Dorothy
we shall always remember you.
Elanilu.” (Till we meet again).


  • champion: someone who actively supports
    an idea or cause.
    whaling: hunting for whales on the ocean.
    Inuvialuktun: a language spoken
    by the Inuit of the Mackenzie River area.
    Gwich’in: one of the most northerly aboriginal peoples
    on the North American continent living near Aklivik and Inuvik.
    Only the Inuit live further north.
    Also, the language spoken by these people.
    keep in touch: to have the latest news about
    people, events and things.
    markers: important events in the life of a person or culture.