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Tagged ‘human rights‘

Hicks: Aglukkaq’s shameful response to UN food envoy

Editor’s note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Northern Public Affairs’ editorial policy.The editors have contacted the Hon. Leona Aglukkaq’s office and offered space on this website to respond.
 
Our Nunavut political correspondent, Jack Hicks, on Minister Leona Agglukkaq’s recent comments about the United Nations food envoy.

 
Once upon a time there was a very lovely land populated by a wide range of Indigenous peoples, who differed by language, kinship structure, and economic activity.
 
Then non-Indigenous peoples showed up, and gradually… took over the best of the land. They cut down trees, put up fences, created farms, built shops and factories, and eventually built cities.
 
The Indigenous peoples in the south of the country were gradually dispossessed of their land. They ended up living largely on their own in marginal areas far away from cities, or in poor neighbourhoods in the cities. A modest Indigenous middle class developed, but the majority of the Indigenous population was, at least in cash terms, poor. And their health indicators (average life expectancy, etc.) were poor too.
 
That Indigenous communities and culture survived at all was remarkable, given the multiple assaults embodied in colonization.
 
The north of the country hadn’t yet proven to be of significant economic value to the non-Indigenous economy, so the Indigenous peoples who lived there were left alone for much longer. Eventually traders and missionaries arrived in the north, and government officials (starting with police officers) followed. It took a while for the government officials to decide how to deal with the Indigenous population, but eventually it was decided that for administrative convenience they should be coerced into living in settled communities.
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Isuma launch boosts debate about Mary River project

IsumaTV is harnessing the power of new media to improve Inuit decision-making about Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.’s Mary River Project. Tonight, Isuma launches Nipivut Nunatinnii (“Our Voice at Home”), a new radio series broadcasting on community radio stations across Nunavut’s Qikiqtani Region. The series will examine the Mary River project, the environmental assessment that is currently underway, and the human rights implications for Inuit.
 
You can listen to the live broadcast tonight at 8 pm EDT here.
 
The radio series is part of Isuma’s Digital Indigenous Democracy (DID) project, which seeks to adapt new media technology to link Qikiqtani communities together to support Inuit decision-making practices:

Through centuries of experience Inuit learned that deciding together, called angjqatigiingniq [ahng-ee-kha-te-GING-nik] in Inuktitut – a complex set of diplomatic skills for respectful listening to differing opinions until arriving at one unified decision everyone can support – is the smartest, safest way to go forward in a dangerous environment. Through DID, Inuit adapt deciding together to modern transnational development – to get needed information in language they understand, talk about their concerns publicly and reach collective decisions with the power of consensus.

According to Isuma, support for traditional decision-making is critical for Inuit communities faced with the development of the Mary River project, one of the largest mining projects in Canadian history:

[The Mary River project] is a $6 billion open-pit extraction of nine major deposits of extremely high-grade iron ore that, if fully exploited, could continue for 100 years. The mining site, in the center of north Baffin Island about half-way between Inuit communities of Pond Inlet and Igloolik, requires a 150 km railroad built across frozen tundra to transport ore to a deep-water port where the world’s largest supertankers will carry it to European and Asian markets.

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