kunuk

Celebrated son of Igloolik creates cultural Internet for his people

BY ROBERT EVERETT-GREEN

The Globe and Mail

The current, community-curated Arviat playlist includes videos of last summer’s Rockin’ Walrus Arts Festival in Igloolik; the recent Kunuk documentary Inuit Cree Reconciliation; and Madeline Ivalu’s 2007 film Umiaq, about a group of elders who decide to build a traditional sealskin-covered boat. The playlists change, but the content is overwhelmingly about Northern lifestyle and language – two things that the resource rush stands to change drastically.

“We’re experimenting with how you can cross not just a digital divide, but a divide in perception and world view,” Cohn says. “To have the [resource] debate all in the extraction language, rather that in the land language, already makes it a lopsided debate. You have very limited ways in which local opinions can be expressed. [DID] can completely change the rules of the participation game, the way the Berger Inquiry did in the Northwest Territories 40 years ago, when it levelled the playing field between indigenous communities and the Alaska pipeline.” It’s not enough, he says, to write information pamphlets in Inuktitut syllabics, which were invented by missionaries as a way to teach the Bible and aren’t widely understood among people under 60.

It can be tricky to set up a DID channel in a small place that you can’t reach by road and that is seldom visited by cable technicians who may be based in Winnipeg. A media player was installed in a public library in an Arctic Bay school last summer, for example, but in October the library abruptly moved to a different location, and there was no one around who could move the service, which will probably stay down until spring. “When it’s minus 40, you may not want one of your guys climbing a pole to attach a cable,” says Stéphane Rituit, a producer at Isuma TV’s Montreal office.

In Arviat, the connection was delayed while Isuma worked out the contractual details with cable provider Arctic Co-ops, which balked at the idea of letting local people (“third parties,” in contract language) upload their own content directly to the system.

“My biggest frustration was to ask Arviat to slow down,” says Rituit. “You get people totally enthusiastic. They say, ‘Hey, let’s do it, go live on air, play music,’ and then you have to call them and say, ‘I’m sorry, guys, actually we can’t do that,’ ” – because it wasn’t in the cable contract. More recently, uploads in Arviat have been stalled by a technical glitch that Rituit is trying to sort out from Montreal via Skype.

Digital Indigenous Democracy got started after Kunuk made a formal intervention at the 2012 hearings into the proposed Baffinland iron mine at Mary River, at which he presented 71 Isuma call-in radio shows and video interviews about the proposal. He argued that this kind of multimedia conversation was key to the legal obligation to inform and consult with indigenous people. Isuma did live audio broadcasts of the hearings in Igloolik and Pond Inlet, allowing anyone to listen to proceedings that are usually restricted to bureaucrats and industry reps. The licence for the Baffinland mine ultimately included conditions mandating multimedia consultation throughout the project. (Isuma will broadcast a second round of Baffinland hearings from Jan. 27 to 31, with evening talk shows about each day’s proceedings hosted by Kunuk.)

That summer, the Kitikmeot Inuit Association asked Isuma to set up community channels in Cambridge Bay and Taloyoak, where mining activity is heating up. Julia Ogina, KIA programs co-ordinator, says four or five filmmakers in Cambridge Bay have been trained to make broadcast-ready content with community-owned equipment. “It started with the idea of getting our languages and culture more into the home,” she says, referring both to Inuktitut and to Inuinnaqtun, a dialect spoken around Taloyoak.

She knows people are watching, because the moment something goes wrong with the feed, the station’s Facebook page fills up with complaints. The current playlist in Cambridge Bay includes a show about walrus hunting in the Baffinland mine area and Picture of Light, Peter Mettler’s 1994 documentary about the northern lights.

Cohn says DID is inexpensive and scalable, and could extend into any number of indigenous communities here and abroad, if money and volunteers are available. One source of future funding could be the resource companies themselves. “One million dollars doesn’t go very far if you’re thinking about 10 communities, or all 26 Nunavut communities, or all the Northern communities that could or should be wired into this network,” he says. “But we’ve been counting out the pennies and wondering if we can meet next week’s payroll, for the last 25 years.”

The current, community-curated Arviat playlist includes videos of last summer’s Rockin’ Walrus Arts Festival in Igloolik; the recent Kunuk documentary Inuit Cree Reconciliation; and Madeline Ivalu’s 2007 film Umiaq, about a group of elders who decide to build a traditional sealskin-covered boat. The playlists change, but the content is overwhelmingly about Northern lifestyle and language – two things that the resource rush stands to change drastically.

“We’re experimenting with how you can cross not just a digital divide, but a divide in perception and world view,” Cohn says. “To have the [resource] debate all in the extraction language, rather that in the land language, already makes it a lopsided debate. You have very limited ways in which local opinions can be expressed. [DID] can completely change the rules of the participation game, the way the Berger Inquiry did in the Northwest Territories 40 years ago, when it levelled the playing field between indigenous communities and the Alaska pipeline.” It’s not enough, he says, to write information pamphlets in Inuktitut syllabics, which were invented by missionaries as a way to teach the Bible and aren’t widely understood among people under 60.

It can be tricky to set up a DID channel in a small place that you can’t reach by road and that is seldom visited by cable technicians who may be based in Winnipeg. A media player was installed in a public library in an Arctic Bay school last summer, for example, but in October the library abruptly moved to a different location, and there was no one around who could move the service, which will probably stay down until spring. “When it’s minus 40, you may not want one of your guys climbing a pole to attach a cable,” says Stéphane Rituit, a producer at Isuma TV’s Montreal office.

In Arviat, the connection was delayed while Isuma worked out the contractual details with cable provider Arctic Co-ops, which balked at the idea of letting local people (“third parties,” in contract language) upload their own content directly to the system.

“My biggest frustration was to ask Arviat to slow down,” says Rituit. “You get people totally enthusiastic. They say, ‘Hey, let’s do it, go live on air, play music,’ and then you have to call them and say, ‘I’m sorry, guys, actually we can’t do that,’ ” – because it wasn’t in the cable contract. More recently, uploads in Arviat have been stalled by a technical glitch that Rituit is trying to sort out from Montreal via Skype.

Digital Indigenous Democracy got started after Kunuk made a formal intervention at the 2012 hearings into the proposed Baffinland iron mine at Mary River, at which he presented 71 Isuma call-in radio shows and video interviews about the proposal. He argued that this kind of multimedia conversation was key to the legal obligation to inform and consult with indigenous people. Isuma did live audio broadcasts of the hearings in Igloolik and Pond Inlet, allowing anyone to listen to proceedings that are usually restricted to bureaucrats and industry reps. The licence for the Baffinland mine ultimately included conditions mandating multimedia consultation throughout the project. (Isuma will broadcast a second round of Baffinland hearings from Jan. 27 to 31, with evening talk shows about each day’s proceedings hosted by Kunuk.)

That summer, the Kitikmeot Inuit Association asked Isuma to set up community channels in Cambridge Bay and Taloyoak, where mining activity is heating up. Julia Ogina, KIA programs co-ordinator, says four or five filmmakers in Cambridge Bay have been trained to make broadcast-ready content with community-owned equipment. “It started with the idea of getting our languages and culture more into the home,” she says, referring both to Inuktitut and to Inuinnaqtun, a dialect spoken around Taloyoak.

She knows people are watching, because the moment something goes wrong with the feed, the station’s Facebook page fills up with complaints. The current playlist in Cambridge Bay includes a show about walrus hunting in the Baffinland mine area and Picture of Light, Peter Mettler’s 1994 documentary about the northern lights.

Cohn says DID is inexpensive and scalable, and could extend into any number of indigenous communities here and abroad, if money and volunteers are available. One source of future funding could be the resource companies themselves. “One million dollars doesn’t go very far if you’re thinking about 10 communities, or all 26 Nunavut communities, or all the Northern communities that could or should be wired into this network,” he says. “But we’ve been counting out the pennies and wondering if we can meet next week’s payroll, for the last 25 years.”

 

www.theglobeandmail.com

 

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Cara Di Staulo's picture

Uploaded by: Cara Di Staulo

Uploaded date: 19 January 2014

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cohn, DID, digital indigenous democracy, kunuk, media player

The final hearings into Baffinland's project wrapped up on the weekend.... Inuit filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk is in the middle of capturing the life and land of Nunavut on film. "What I want to do is record the wildlife, the land, the beauty of the land," he said. "That's the project we're doing right now – to record it now, elders who are living now, and do it again in 10 years" ... Besides documenting the environmental change, Kunuk has hired a human rights lawyer to study the project. See full story at Zacharias Kunuk hires human rights lawyer.
 

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samcc's picture

Uploaded by: samcc

Uploaded date: 01 August 2012

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baffinland hearings, baffinland mary river mine, community, Human Rights, kunuk, lawyer, NIRB, zach kunuk, zacharias

Malachi Arreak worked as a regional land negotiator on the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement in the early 1990s and negotiated the Qikiqtani region’s first IIBA, for the Sirmilik National Park, across Eclipse Sound from Pond Inlet. Last week, I talked with him about the NLCA in relation to Mary River, as well a project he’s working on, the Tununiq beneficiaries corporation, to ensure Pond Inletmiut see direct benefits from Baffinland...See full story at baffinlandwitness.com.

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Uploaded date: 15 July 2012

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Baffinland, hearings, Intervention, kunuk, Mary River, My Father's Land, NIRB, Zacharias Kunuk

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derekman88's picture

Uploaded by: derekman88

Uploaded date: 20 May 2012

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ᓂᐲᑦ ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ Louis Uttak Part 1, 4:39 Inuktitut-English May 11, 2012. See also Part 2. See also Part 3. By Zacharias Kunuk and Lloyd Lipsett.

Louis is one of Igloolik's six members of the 42-member Baffinland Working Committee representing the seven impacted communities of Igloolik, Hall Beach, Arctic Bay, Pond Inlet, Clyde River, Kimmirut and Cape Dorset. Louis talks about the land and the animals, how things have changed since he was a child and how it can be affected by the mining that is going on.

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Duration:

4m 39s

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animals, Baffinland, BIM, canada, consensus, democracy, DID, digital, fishing, HRIA, Human Rights, Human Rights Impact Assessment, Igloolik, indigenous, Inuit, kunuk, Louis Uttak, mining, NIRB, Nunavut, Nunavut Impact Review Board, zacharias

Languages:

Inuktitut

Location:

Canada, Igloolik, NU

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Uploaded date: 20 May 2012

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ᓂᐲᑦ ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ Louis Uttak, Part 2 of 3, 3:10 Inuktitut-English, May 11, 2012. See also Part 1. See also Part 3. By Zacharias Kunuk and Lloyd Lipsett.

Louis is one of Igloolik's six members of the 42-member Baffinland Working Committee representing the seven impacted communities of Igloolik, Hall Beach, Arctic Bay, Pond Inlet, Clyde River, Kimmirut and Cape Dorset. Louis talks about the land and the animals, how things have changed since he was a child and how it can be affected by the mining that is going on. Filmed May 11, 2012 by Derek Aqqiaruk for Digital Indigenous Democracy (DID). 3:10. Part 2 of 3.

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3m 10s

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animals, Baffinland, BIM, canada, consensus, democracy, DID, digital, fishing, HRIA, Human Rights, Human Rights Impact Assessment, Igloolik, indigenous, Inuit, kunuk, Louis Uttak, mining, NIRB, Nunavut, Nunavut Impact Review Board, zacharias

Languages:

Inuktitut

Location:

Igloolik, NU, Canada

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Uploaded by: derekman88

Uploaded date: 20 May 2012

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ᓂᐲᑦ ᐃᓄᒃᑎᑐᑦ Louis Uttak, Part 3 of 3, 4:00 Inuktitut-English, May 11, 2012. See also Part 1. See Part 2.

Louis is one of Igloolik's six members of the 42-member Baffinland Working Committee representing the seven impacted communities of Igloolik, Hall Beach, Arctic Bay, Pond Inlet, Clyde River, Kimmirut and Cape Dorset. Louis talks about the land and the animals, how things have changed since he was a child and how it can be affected by the mining that is going on.

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3m 51s

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animals, Baffinland, BIM, canada, consensus, democracy, DID, digital, fishing, HRIA, Human Rights, Human Rights Impact Assessment, Igloolik, indigenous, Inuit, kunuk, Louis Uttak, mining, NIRB, Nunavut, Nunavut Impact Review Board, zacharias

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Inuktitut

Location:

Igloolik, NU, Canada

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Uploaded by: Ian Mauro

Uploaded date: 05 October 2011

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Here's a conversation with co-directors Zacharias Kunuk and Ian Mauro that can be downloaded and used for Q and A after film screenings.

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16m 1s

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IKCC, kunuk, mauro, Q and A

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Manager: Zacharias Kunuk

05 April 2011

96170 views

My Father's Land

See also:  DID Digital Indigenous Democracy.

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digital indigenous democracy, Human Rights, Igloolik, Inuktitut, isuma mediaplayers, kunuk, local servers, My Father's Land, zacharias
IsumaTV: Read this article in CBC News about co-director Ian Mauro's plight to make filmmaking understood as a legitimate... http://fb.me/Hk3M4io9

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Uploaded date: 04 February 2011

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climate change, ian j. mauro, ian mauro, IKCC, ikcc movie, Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change, kunuk, Zacharias Kunuk
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