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.