digital indigenous democracy

  • DID in the News!

    uploaded by: Cara Di Staulo

    channel: Isuma News

    On Their Terms: A Digital Project to Give Inuit Say in Developers' Arctic Ambitions

    BY Elisabeth Fraser

    A new project in Canada’s north is attempting to bridge the digital divide facing Inuit communities. In doing so, it hopes to give them a say as developers move to take advantage of their resource-rich land.

    Digital Indigenous Democracy (DID) is an effort to bring the community empowerment of new media technology into remote low-bandwidth indigenous communities in Nunavut, across Canada, and around the world,” says Norman Cohn, an award-winning Canadian filmmaker who is also the project co-director, with partner Zacharias Kunuk, an Inuk filmmaker.

    The idea is to provide high-speed Internet access to Inuit living in northern communities, where extremely low bandwidth access makes surfing the net a slow and cumbersome task. “These people, who most need access to these networks, have the worst cost-per-bandwidth in the civilized world,” says Cohn.

    Life in the Northern communities where Canada’s Inuit live can be challenging. Traditionally, the Inuit are a hunting society. However, nowadays both global warming and opposition from animal-rights groups are negatively affecting the hunt. There are high levels of poverty, substance abuse, and suicide. There is a housing shortage, and high levels of family violence, as well as chronic health problems like diabetes. The remote and vastly scattered locations of these villages carry distinct challenges as well, including sky-high prices on basic goods. Most places are hard to access from the south, accessible via boat during the summer, or by expensive flights year-round. And, despite federal investment to improve bandwidth access in these communities, the Internet remains very slow.

    Just how slow is it? “Most people can remember how the Internet was when they first tried it out five or ten years ago, and how much faster it is now,” explains Cohn. “Use of the Internet we take for granted right now is only possible because our bandwidth has increased by hundreds of thousands of times, and at a low cost. Those speed increases have not impacted northern Inuit communities. Their Internet is among the slowest and most expensive … There is a digital divide, certainly in the Canadian North, as much as in Bangladesh.”

    Canada’s Inuit are one of three Canadian Aboriginal groups (the others are the Métis and First Nations). They are somewhat unique amongst Indigenous peoples in North America, because they have negotiated a self-governing agreement with the federal government of Canada. Whereas Canadian and U.S. First-Nations people often live on government reserves and receive government assistance or a special tax status, Inuit are by and large self-sufficient.

    Cohn says the project is essential to help Inuit protect their rights in a new age of resource extraction. “The origins of this project are in the evolution of two enormous world developments. The one is the evolution of new media technology and its potential for social networking and political change, which we’ve seen in the Middle East,” Cohn says, referencing the Arab Spring. “And this intersects with the evolution of global warming, which has created an increase in natural resource development in the Canadian Arctic.”

    Digital Indigenous Democracy has been financed and tested around a specific giant mining development (the “Mary River Project”) by the Baffinland company.

    “If (the development) goes forward in its full capacity, it would be the largest mine ever in Canada,” says Cohn. DID was created in the context of Baffinland’s ongoing environmental review process, which involves consultation with local stakeholders. These talks have produced an Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement, as required by law under the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement.

    “Our project was proposed and financed to test out this technology as a way of improving Inuit communities’ ability to participate in the decision-making process of such an enormous development that will impact these communities forever,” Cohn says. “So, we had a compelling technological concept for equal justice, but we also had a compelling urgent need for that project to take place as soon as possible.”

    Started in April 2011 via Canada Media Fund financing, Digital Indigenous Democracy went live one year later, in April 2012. It runs on the ISUMA TV platform, created by Cohn and co. in 2008. The multimedia website features photographs and government information documents, as well as audio and video recordings, in English and in Indigenous languages like Inuktitut.

    In addition to putting forward local content, in the form of radio programming, films and documentaries, and community news,DID has played an active part in the local consultations involving the Baffinland project. A series of radio call-in shows allowed locals to ask experts questions about the development, and Baffinland feedback collected via DID has been complied into a report, which will be presented in the next round of public hearings, tentatively scheduled to take place in mid-October.

    Lloyd Lipsett is a human rights lawyer who has been participating in the public consultation process surrounding the Baffinland project. He took part in radio call-in shows the DID group organized in Igloolik, Nunavut, to answer questions and inform locals about the Baffinland project, in English and Inuktitut.

    “If you want the people to be confident that the mine is benefitting them, they need to have the information to make that judgment. It’s important to recognize that the movement towards transparency in the (extractive industry) is really picking up steam,” says Lipsett, who notes the Canadian government has announced it will pass binding regulations ensuring mining companies have greater disclosure towards various levels of government, something the United States and European Union have already done.

    Canadian constitutional law and international law now explicitly confirms Indigenous people have the right to be informed and consulted about any resource development that impacts their lands and their communities. According to Lispett, the new approach towards consultation offered by DID is a benefit to locals and developers alike.

    Most human-rights interventions involving extraction projects happen after development has started, when things are perceived to be going badly. “Getting involved in public hearings before the project has taken place; you are taking a proactive approach,” says Lispett. “You’re dealing with all the different stakeholders, including the company itself. To talk to them in a proactive, forward-looking manner, is much more constructive then pointing your finger after, and saying, “You’re doing this wrong, you’re violating this right, or that right…We’re offering you suggestions as to how you can develop this mine in a way that is respectful to people.”

    The economic stakes are significant, too."The wealth in the arctic is enormous,” says Cohn. “It’s sort of like the new Congo, but suddenly much more accessible than it ever was before. “The world has changed since King Leopold went into the Congo, but only if technology helps people take advantage of those changes. (DID) is the only way Indigenous people will get a real fair seat at the negotiating table, dividing up what everyone agrees are trillions of dollars.”

    Frances Abele is a Professor of Public Policy and Public Administration at Carleton University. She is familiar with the project. She touts the community-building aspect of DID. “If you haven’t been to the North, it’s very hard to picture just how far apart everything is,” she says. “To allow people to speak to each other in real time is a really powerful change in order to have people talk about their common interests, and politics.”

    “The local radio has been very, very, important for a long time, it’s the main way that people find out what’s going on, and they listen to that every day,” says Abele. “The genius of what Norman and Zacharias are doing is that they’ve been able to build on that network to create these communities.”

    Mark Airut is the manager of the Igloolik radio station, now run by ISUMA since last May. He is Inuk, and echoes Abele’s praise for DID. “I think it’s really great, lots and lots of people are now following us, and now they listen to our radio all over the world,” he says. He says since ISUMA took over, the station’s workers have gone from being voluntary to paid staff, and many locals say ISUMA radio is now all they listen to. “We’re doing our best work on educational stuff,” says Airut. “It’s really successful.”

    Currently, Cohn estimates the project is two-thirds completed. “Our website will play at high speed in what will eventually be ten indigenous communities,” he says. ISUMA has been hooking people up since the spring, and will continue to do so during the fall.

    Underlying the entire project is the principal of open data and transparency as a tool to combat inequality. “Indigenous people see these developments as the only chance they have to get out of poverty and into the 21st century,” says Cohn. “If all the people involved are sharing in the exploitation of the resources, then it’s not pejorative. If the people involved are being exploited, then its pejorative … Today, you cannot get away with that level of inequality unless it’s hidden from public view.”

    Cohn believes DID can be a powerful tool to give Indigenous people their fair share of the pie. “If people have those tools, you cannot deny them those rights,” he says. “These communities are sitting on mountains of minerals, of gold, of uranium.” He sees a future for this project in Indigenous communities throughout the world, and notes it is in developer’s interest to properly inform and consult, or risk huge lawsuits down the road.

    How much the Inuit will eventually profit from the Baffinland development remains to be seen, but Cohn is hopeful. “Indigenous people are not genetically impoverished,” he says. “If everyone owned the land they were living on, Inuit people could quite very well be rich,” he argues. “Why are Inuit peoples more like Palestinians than Saudi Arabians? In 2013, you can’t do that to people, unless you’re doing it in the dark.”

    Elisabeth Fraser is a freelance Canadian journalist. She lives in Montreal.

    Personal Democracy Media is grateful to the Omidyar Network and the UN Foundation for their generous support of techPresident's WeGov section.

    www.techpresident.com

     

    uploaded date: 30-09-2013

  • 14m 30s

    NIRB Hearing for Mary River Project - IsumaTV

    uploaded by: Carol Kunnuk

    channel: Pond Inlet | Mittimatalik | ᒥᑦᑎᒪᑕᓕᒃ

    The Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) public hearing in Pond Inlet (Nunavut) to assess Baffinland’s revised Early Revenue Phase proposal and Environmental Review for the Mary River iron ore mining project.

    Day 1 (January 27, 2014)

    IsumaTV’s Digital Indigenous Democracy’s presentation by Zacharias Kunuk and Jonathan Frantz (in English)

    uploaded date: 03-04-2014

  • DID in the News!

    uploaded by: Cara Di Staulo

    channel: DID News

    Inuit filmmaker uses multimedia to empower remote communities

    Isolated communities join the political dialogue through Digital Indigenous Democracy initiative Culture

    BY VULTURE BRANDON BARRETT
    brandon@whistlerquestion.com 

    I still vividly remember the first time I watched illustrious Nunavut filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk’s daring Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner, the first film written, directed and acted entirely in the Inuktitut language.

    Set in the frigid outdoors of Igloolik at the turn of the first millennium, Atanarjuat tells a centuries-old Inuit legend passed down orally from generation to generation. Shot in the Eastern Arctic wilderness, the film’s visuals are all-consuming and so thoroughly foreign to what the average movie-goer is accustomed to.

    The highest grossing Canadian picture of 2002, Atanarjuat achieved what so many of the best films do: presenting a perspective that the viewer has never seen or better yet, never even knew existed.

    It’s an understatement to say that the majority of Canadians don’t know much about Inuit culture, traditions and values — myself included. A more cynical view would be that most Canadians don’t really care to learn, but fortunately, Kunuk has committed to telling compelling, authentic Inuit stories told with the help of the Inuit themselves throughout his long career.

    It’s a trend that Kunuk is continuing with one of the more innovative multimedia projects I’ve ever come across, called Digital Indigenous Democracy (DID), which aims to put the power of consensus into the hands of 10 remote Inuit northern communities. (I owe a huge debt to Globe and Mail reporter Robert Everett-Green for his meticulously researched article on this topic from Jan. 17.)

    The concept was first formed in 2012 when an Inuit community on Baffin Island faced a $6-billion environmental review of a proposed iron mine. Thanks to Kunuk’s intervention, which saw him present dozens of call-in radio shows and video interviews with affected residents, the project has since been scaled back and even comes with a legal obligation to include future multimedia consultation.

    The main issue for these isolated communities is a lack of affordable Internet service. That means residents in small Inuit enclaves often have to resort to communicating online using only text in a language many aren’t fluent in, barring full access to potential online resources and communication channels that could impact their political and social decision making process.

    Digital Indigenous Democracy looks to level the playing field by installing comparatively cheap media players in 10 communities where residents can instantly stream over 5,000 videos in 50 different languages from the Isuma TV catalogue, a film company Kunuk co-founded. The collection is mostly driven by Inuit culture, and includes everything from musical performances to hunting clips to full-length feature films. It also gives the opportunity to Inuit filmmakers, like the film society currently thriving in the small town of Arviat, to upload and show their own work.

    It’s an initiative from which the rest of Canada could learn a thing or two. Even in our current Internet age, with smartphone-sporting pre-teens and a culture of online oversharing, we need to ask ourselves if we’re really using the digital tools at our disposal in a productive manner.

    Just as the outside world learned about the refreshing simplicities of Inuit life after Kunuk’s Atanarjuat, we can look back to those northern communities in order to glean some insight on how to exist and thrive in our own digital era.

     

    © Copyright 2014, Whistler Question Story

    www.whistlerquestion.com

    uploaded date: 31-01-2014

  • DID in the News!

    uploaded by: Cara Di Staulo

    channel: DID News

    Zacharias Kunuk Creates Cultural Internet for the Inuits of Canada

    By Bernadine Racoma 

    The Inuit hamlet of Igloolik, the place where celebrated film producer and director Zacharias Kunuk, himself a member of the Inuit tribe, received his education, became the first site for an innovative high-technology cultural Internet broadcasting project two years ago. The Globe and Mail reported on January 22 that the project, called the Digital Indigenous Democracy (DID) will help give birth to a new breed of grassroots filmmaking. It is centered in 10 communities of the Nunavut and is expected to make a big impact, i.e.,

    “It could have a big impact on the use of indigenous languages in digital media and on how isolated Northerners understand — and perhaps alter — the futures being dreamt for them in office towers in Calgary and Toronto.“

    Zacharias Kunuk

    Fifty-six year old Zacharias Kunuk is a Canadian Inuk director and producer. The multi-awarded director is widely known for “Atanarjuat,” the first dramatic feature film in Canada that was filmed entirely in the Inuktitut language. Inuktitut is also called Eastern Canadian Inuit or Eastern Canadian Inuktitut, one of Canada’s principal Inuit languages.

    Kunuk is the co-founder and president of the Igloolik Isuma Productions, an independent Inuit production company, which is the first in Canada. His partners include Norman Cohn, Paul Apak Angirlirq and Paul Qulitalik.

    Climate change project

    He was the grand winner in nine film festivals around the world, including Cannes. He became an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2002. With Ian Mauro of the School of Environmental Studies of the University of Victoria, he co-founded the Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change Project. The project aims to collect information on the impact of climate change on the Inuit environment and culture from the Inuit elders’ perspective. The project will be turned into a film later and they have already submitted a project video to the United Nations in 2009.

    Big plans for the Inuit community

    While his cultural Internet project was started two years ago, Kunuk is more inspired than ever because of the technological advances in communication. The changes that have happened in the past two years provided Kunuk with the experience and the means to protect and possibly strengthen the language and lifestyle of his people. He and his partners want to save languages that have survived for 4,000 years.

    Kunuk wanted to build an Internet that is capable of working audio-visually so that his people will be able to use the Inuit language. Their project was started with an initial $1 million grant from the experimental stream of Canada Media Fund. They were hampered by the low-bandwidth at that time, forcing the Northerners to use text in English to communicate. They are in the process of installing cheap DID media player to stream programs locally from the Isuma catalog. The locals in the 10 communities are learning to create films and some are already into it, putting their work in their own local playlists. Isuma plans to put up a TV station as well.

    The Digital Indigenous Democracy got its start after Zacharias Kunuk intervened formally during the proposed Baffinland iron mine hearings in 2012. He presented Isuma video interviews and call-in radio shows, arguing that the multimedia conversations clearly indicated the obligation to consult and inform the indigenous people. Isuma later broadcast the Baffinland mine hearings in Pond Inlet and Igloolik live, which prompted the inclusion of multimedia consultations with the indigenous community throughout the mining project.

    www.daynews.com

    uploaded date: 23-01-2014

  • DID in the National News!

    uploaded by: Cara Di Staulo

    channel: DID News

    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

     

    uploaded date: 19-01-2014

  • NITV Today (Community Networks)

    uploaded by: Gabriela Gamez

    Nunavut Independent Television is Canada's first artist-run media centre located in a remote Inuit community. Based in Igloolik, NITV promotes creation and exhibition of Inuit video art linking Nunavut communities through internet television channels on IsumaTV. Local access internet-TV and media training increase production and distribution of Inuktitut and other Aboriginal-language video and media activism. 

    NITV is one of the founding members of IsumaTV, a collective multimedia platform for Inuit and Aboriginal media worldwide.

    NITV also is one of the founding partners in Digital Indigenous Democracy, an effort to bring global partners into a working collaboration through new media and socio-political networking.

    As a Northern Internet Distributor NITV on IsumaTV is recognized as an Eligible Broadcaster by the Canada Media Fund to trigger financing from the Aboriginal Fund Envelope. More information at nitv@isuma.tv

    Check out NITV (Igloolik community-TV 1995–2007)

    uploaded date: 23-04-2013

  • UPDATE TONIGHT JUNE 6 RADIO CALL-IN – Nipivut Nunatinnii Our Voice at Home

    uploaded by: samcc

    channel: DID News

    UPDATE TONIGHT Wednesday June 6th 8-10pm: Walrus, Wildlife and Baffinland?
    • What do hunters think about Baffinland’s supertankers and marine mammals?
    • Will shipping through Foxe Basin damage the wildlife? Is it safe?

    Thursday June 7th 8-10pm: Have Inuit Had Their Say?
    • Do you understand Baffinland’s Environmental Impact Statement?
    • Are you informed? Do your opinions count?

    Listen at Live Radio  Call-in 1.819-934-8080, or 8082.

    Get your opinions on the record.
    Call-in radio shows will be submitted to NIRB July Public Hearings as part of DID’s Formal Intervention led by Zacharias Kunuk and human rights lawyer Lloyd Lipsett

    uploaded date: 06-06-2012

  • LISTEN TONIGHT MAY 30th 8PM - Nipivut Nunatinnii live Call-in radio online, QIA report by Zacharias Kunuk

    uploaded by: samcc

    channel: DID News

    Tune in TONIGHT, May 30, from 8-10 pm EST to listen to the next online call-in radio show in the series Nipivut Nunatinnii Our Voice at Home, broadcast locally and worldwide by Igloolik Community Radio Online at www.isuma.tv/DID/radio/igloolik. Zacharias Kunuk, Igloolik Hamlet Councilor and representative to the Board of Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA), will make his first radio report to the community following the recent QIA Board meetings. Two phone lines will be open for call-in questions and comments at +1-867-934-8080 and -8082. Questions and comments also can be submitted on Facebook at www.facebook.com/radiostation.igloolik

     

    Let your voices be heard!

    Nipivut Nunatinnii Our Voice at Home Igloolik Community Radio Online +1.867.934.8080 or 8082 www.facebook.com/radiostation.igloolik or www.facebook.com/isumaTV

     

    uploaded date: 30-05-2012

  • Mining and caribou - What is a "significant impact"

    uploaded by: samcc

    channel: Show me on the map: discussions on mining on Aboriginal lands

    DID News Alert Mining and caribou– What is a “significant impact”?

    On May 21st, the Baker Lake Hunters and Trappers Organization made public a paper written in response to AREVA’s (a French mining company) Environmental Impact Statement for their proposed “Kiggavik” uranium mine near Baker Lake.

    They were concerned with the results of the DEIS concerning the effect of the proposed mine on local caribou population, and saw some problems with what AREVA considered was a “significant impact” when it came to the caribou population. For example, any impact that does not affect the population as a whole on the long-term is not considered significant. But this does not take into account the location of the herd. So if the herd population stays somewhat the same, but they stop coming to the Baker Lake region, the impact is not significant. But for the people of Baker Lake, this would be a very significant impact. This scientific approach does not seem to take into account the social impact of a change in caribou population. In their impact statement, AREVA says that the mine will only significantly impact caribou migration if 10% or more of the caribou population does not reach the calving grounds. But the report does not take into account how migration will be affected specifically around Baker Lake. AREVA does not seem to be bothered by this, claiming that caribou herds are constantly moving, and so Inuit should just adjust their hunting habits.

    They said that AREVA did not really take into account Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (IQ) as much as they would have liked. In the report, they claim AREVA only focused on information about hunting and wildlife, but did not investigate Inuit values and “what sort of future Inuit want for themselves.” This is a very important part of IQ, and if AREVA really valued the importance of IQ, according to the Baker Lake Hunters and Trappers Organization, they should have focused more on this specific point. They also found that IQ was not really used when it came to study caribou population and migration. Instead AREVA focused only on scientific studies and collar data.

    AREVA claim that they are respecting IQ ways, but the Baker Lake Hunters and Trappers Organization feel that this approach shows that AREVA does not really respect the situation of Baker Lake Inuit and their hunting traditions. They believe more of an effort must be made to consult elders and people from the community when it comes to caribou population, and that a better balance of scientific data and consultation and respect for Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit will bring better results.

    With the Baffinland/NIRB July hearings fast approaching, the question of how to assess wildlife impact seems more important now than ever before.

    Click to your left (under "attached files") for a PDF file of the Baker Lake Hunters And Trappers document.

    uploaded date: 29-05-2012

  • Baffinland community hearings – Who are the community representatives?

    uploaded by: samcc

    channel: My Father's Land

    DID News Alert  May 28, 2012. With the July community hearings coming soon, Baffinland presented a document called “"What to Expect When You Are Expecting," on May 3rd in Iqaluit. In this document, the company explains how the public hearings will take place. At the community hearings, there will be TWO types of intervenors.

    1) Formal Intervenors: According to this document, formal intervenors must present a written submission to the NIRB by May 30th and wait to be approved. If approved, then these formal intervenors will be able to present their documents to the full NIRB board on the first day of community meetings, which is the technical presentations. These presentations, and the NIRB’s response, will be put on the official publicrecord.

    2) Informal Intervenors: This is everyone else. People from the community who have not filed a written submission to be a formal intervenor will still be able, according to the NIRB, to speak to some members of the board and ask questions and raise their concerns about the project. This is what is called the “community roundtables.” They will take place on the second and third day of the hearings. They will be open to anyone, so people do not have to be approved in order to come and talk.

    What does not seem clear from the NIRB guidelines, is whether the community roundtables will be recorded or put on the official public record. The formal intervenors will, and their questions will be put on record. But for the rest of the community, those who have not made written submissions but still have lots of questions or concerns they want to express to the NIRB board, it is not clear if any of what they say will be recorded in the official transcript. Will their opinions and concerns be lost?

    It is also not clear what the NIRB means by “community representatives.” In the document “What to Expect When You Are Expecting,” it says on page 14 that "The NIRB will be soliciting up to five (5) representatives from each of the 11 communities to attend the Final Hearing in Iqaluit." Some sources say there are 7 communities that will be represented at the final Iqaluit hearing, not 11. This is confusing.

    ALSO, this document does not explain how the NIRB will be selecting these representatives, or where they will be coming from. If they are not selected by the NIRB, then what organization will be selecting them? The Mary River Projects Committee? The Hamlet Council? QIA?

    This last question is important, since the people of the communities should know who will represent their town at the final Iqaluit hearings.

    Look to your left (under "attached files") to download a PDF version of the Baffinland presentation "What to Expect When You Are Expecting"

    uploaded date: 28-05-2012

  • IMPORTANT BAFFINLAND NEWS – Canadian Transportation Agency demands more clarity from Baffinland for railroad

    uploaded by: samcc

    channel: My Father's Land

    DID News Alert On May 15th the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA), an independent economic regulator under the authority of the Canadian Parliament that regulates air, rail and marine transportation according to the Canada Transport Act, met to discuss the Baffinland Mary River project’s railway and marine transportation plan.

    They concluded that Baffinland still had many steps to take before they could start building a railway across Baffin Island. They needed to apply for a Certificate of Fitness, which would require Baffinland to declare who would insure the railway. They would have to provide the CTA with the three most recent years of audited financial statements from the railway company in question. The CTA also demanded that Baffinland produce a detailed explanation of the risks of each work of construction that is part of the railroad project.

    On the subject of the caribou, the CTA demanded that Baffinland give a more detailed and precise explanation of how the proposed “working group” (composed of members from QIA, EC and GN wildlife biologists) would operate. The CTA felt that Baffinland was not very clear about this in the FEIS. The CTA also noted that QIA was not pleased with Baffinland’s original caribou monitoring plan, and wants to make sure Baffinland will work with Inuit to design caribou crossings as promised.

    Finally, the CTA was not too pleased with Baffinland’s emergency rescue plan, claiming it “was short on tangible details for emergency response.” They also wanted to see Arcelor-Mittal’s railway experience, which was supposed to be in the FEIS but Baffinland left it out.

    What was Baffinland’s response to this last point? That the “Railway management plan and emergency response plan are mainly conceptual at this stage.”
    Does this seem like an adequate response? The CTA is looking for something more than conceptual. From these criticisms from the CTA, it is clear Baffinland still has a long way to go before their proposed railway is accepted.

    To your left under "attached files" is the CTA document from where this information came from.

    uploaded date: 25-05-2012

  • IMPORTANT NEWS – New talks of land and resource devolution

    uploaded by: samcc

    channel: My Father's Land

    DID News Alert “Nunavut’s lands and natural resources rightfully belong to Nunavummiut to develop and protect…reclaiming the ability to make decisions about how our lands and resources are managed is the next chapter in building self-reliance.” These are Nunavut Premier Eva Aariak’s words concerning her government’s interest in renewing talks with the federal government on devolution. At the moment, all royalties from land resources in Nunavut go directly to the federal government, who then decides how much to give back to the territory. For the Nunavut government this is no longer acceptable. The two other territories, Yukon and N.W.T., have made agreements with the federal government that allow them to receive direct royalties from resource development just like the Canadian provinces. These territories receive royalties that are 50% of their expenditures on resource development. So for example, in 2010 the N.W.T. spent $1.2 billion on land resources, so they received $60 million in royalties. For many people this is still inadequate, but it is at least a start in the right direction.

    The situation is complicated in Nunavut because of the NLCA, and a devolution deal with Ottawa would have to be consistent with the terms of the NLCA. Some private organizations like Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. have already started receiving royalties, see link here: http://www.isuma.tv/lo/en/did-news-alert/important-inuit-land-claim-gets-first-royalty-payment-for-22-million, and NTI predicts these royalties be in the hundreds of millions. But where that money will be invested does not seem to be certain.

    There were talks of devolution in 2007, but they stopped when the federal government judged that the administrative staff of the Nunavut government was unprepared and not trained enough to manage a transfer of land resource rights. Aariak says that this is no longer the case, and that there is a large number of Inuit who are competent and well trained for management positions. Also, if Ottawa is so concerned with the management capacity in Nunavut, perhaps it should help create programs that would train Nunavummiut for such positions. This is something Aariak says the federal government has promised to do.

    Here are links to some recent articles on devolution (pdf files of the articles are to your left under 'attached files') 

    www.nunatsiaqonline.ca/stories/article/65674ottawa_names_nunavut_devolution_negotiator/

    www.huffingtonpost.ca/news/nunavut-mining

    www.nunatsiaqonline.ca/stories/article/65674ottawa_nunavut_revive_dormant_talks_on_land_resource_devolution/

    uploaded date: 25-05-2012

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