Around the time of my visit, though, the Canadian government had been reappraising the rangers. Rumblings about an international scramble to stake new claims in the warming Arctic and on its vast trove of untapped resources had prompted politicians in Ottawa to promise the rangers better gear and funds to recruit more volunteers. Meanwhile U.S. military officials also were interested in the program, with an eye toward creating something similar in Alaska.
Atqittuq welcomed the attention. He was raised in the Arctic and was now raising his own son there, so he understood the different ways the far-off government could go from friendly to fickle to forgetful. But this time it wasn't hard to guess what was on politicians' minds: After years spent ignoring the fact that the Arctic is warming faster than any other place on the planet, Canada was finally coming around.