In Photos: climate strikers call on MLAs to declare climate emergency

Dozens of youth gathered at the Legislative Assembly to call on MLAs to declare a climate emergency. (Francis Tessier-Burns/CKLB).

On Friday, Yellowknife students led the charge to call on MLAs to declare a climate emergency.

The gathering opened with a prayer by Noeline Villebrun (right). Ella Kokelj (centre) was one of the main organizers. (Francis Tessier-Burns/CKLB).

Here’s what organizer Ella Kokelj had to say about the gathering; she also lists some specifics she’d like to see from the Government of the Northwest Territories.

Kokelj said there has been “movement” on the possibility of declaring a climate emergency, but she hasn’t received any definitive commitment from MLAs.


Kanayok Klengenbeg is originally from Kugluktuk, NU. She said changes in the sea creatures near the community are very concerning. (Francis Tessier-Burns/CKLB).


Organizers had dozens of signs for protesters. (Francis Tessier-Burns/CKLB).

Cindy Ngo is wearing the No Planet B jacket above. She later read a poem inspired by her mother’s immigration to Canada. Listen to the clip below for the backstory.

(Francis Tessier-Burns/CKLB).



Of the 50 or so people that gathered, only two MLAs, Kevin O’Reilly and Rylund Johnson, attended. (Francis Tessier-Burns/CKLB).


Kira Young was one of three youth from different Yellowknife schools to speak at the rally.


Nearly a hundred jurisdictions across the country have declared climate emergency over the past year, including Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation in Old Crow, Whitehorse city council and the Yukon Legislative Assembly. In June, the Canadian House of Commons did so as well. So far, Yellowknife politicians and the NWT Legislative Assembly have been skeptical on the idea.

About the Author

Francis Tessier-Burns
Francis was a reporter with CKLB from January 2019 to March 2023. In his time with CKLB, he had the immense pleasure and honour of learning about northern Indigenous cultures.