Zacharias Kunuk Formal Intervention to NIRB, English written submission June 8, 2012

See Also  DID Digital Indigenous Democracy.

My Inuit Point of View by Dr. Zacharias Kunuk O.C.

My name is Zacharias Kunuk and my Formal Intervention is called Ataatama Nunanga, My Father’s Land. I am intervening as a filmmaker and hunter who lived in this region my whole life. I want to express my concerns and hopes for my father’s land, my Amitturmiut people, my family now and future generations to come.

I was born in 1957 in a sod house at Kapuivik on the northwest coast of Baffin Island, when my family still lived as my ancestors lived for 4,000 years. Kapuivik is in the middle of Ikpiq at the top of Foxe Basin, halfway between Kangirdlukjuak – Steensby Inlet – and my home community of Igloolik. My birthplace is like the ‘heart’ of the Baffinland Iron Mine impact area, the part that would change the most if and when the mine, railroad, deep-water port and supertanker shipping passing through it are approved to go ahead for the next 100 years.

As a child at Kapuivik, I fell asleep with eight brothers and sisters listening to our mother tell stories and legends that teach what every good person should know. We heard the legend of Atanarjuat, The Fast Runner, how he broke the rules and had to run for his life naked across the ice. We used to imagine that man in our minds, with his hair flying in the wind, as we fell asleep. In the mornings I woke up on my pillow of frozen sealskin kamiks and hurried outdoors to check the weather, as all Inuit children were taught.

I was nine years old before I ever saw a white person, learning to train my own dogteam and become a hunter like my father, when my parents suddenly dropped me off in the new government town of Igloolik. They were told I had to go to school or they would lose their government family allowance. I learned English while my family lived their last few years following the seasons, weather, sky, wind and ice, living off the land and animals we Inuit knew so well. I finished Grade 8 as far as the school went in Igloolik. To go higher I had to move to Iqaluit. I tried it for a few weeks but I didn’t like it so I came home.

As a teenager, I learned to carve soapstone to earn the 25 cents I needed to see movies at the community hall. The ones I liked best were John Wayne westerns. John would find some cavalry troopers shot full of arrows and say, "What kind of savages would do something like this?" My friends and I identified with John and the cavalry; those "savages" had nothing to do with me.

Then one day I figured out there are two sides to every story. My community voted twice against bringing in outside TV and radio to Igloolik, in 1977 and again in 1980, afraid it would wipe out our Inuktitut language. It was only when Inuit Broadcasting Corporation started in 1982 that Igloolik voted Yes to TV, since at least we would have a few hours every week in our own language.

In 1981, the year before we had television, I sold some big carvings in Montreal and used the money to bring home the first ‘home’ video camera in the Arctic, a Betamax portapak. At that time, I used to listen when my father and his hunting buddies would come home and drink tea around the kitchen table telling their hunting stories. I thought, why not show what really happened? Then I noticed when I came home from hunting and played the videos on my TV, all the kids were lined up outside my window looking in to watch.

I decided to be a filmmaker to tell our Inuit side. First I worked for Inuit Broadcasting Corporation with the late Paul Apak in 1983. Paul and I started working with an elder, the late Pauloosie Qulitalik, who thought TV could catch the old Inuit way of life before it was too late. In 1985 Norman Cohn showed up, a video artist from down south with a video style that fit our own. Norman stayed in Igloolik and in 1990 Apak, Qulitalik, Norman and I started Igloolik Isuma Productions Inc., the first Inuit independent production company in the world.

Twenty years after I brought that first camera to Igloolik, Isuma Productions' first Inuit-language feature film, Atanarjuat The Fast Runner, won the Camera d'or at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival. Shown all over the world, subtitled to English, French, Russian, Japanese and 15 other languages, Atanarjuat adapted the legend our mothers told us growing up. We all dreamed of that naked man running for his life, now with Natar Ungalaq acting Atanarjuat, we showed how he did it to Inuit and Canada and the world.

In 2006 our second feature film, The Journals of Knud Rasmussen, was chosen to open the Toronto International Film Festival. The Journals shows how the last great Igloolik shaman Avva gave up his ancestors’ religion and converted to Christianity in 1923, a true story. In the middle of the movie we let Avva, acted by Pakkak Inukshuk, tell his life as a shaman directly to the camera, in the words he used when the Danish explorer Knud Rasmussen wrote them down in 1923. Avva speaks in his own words for 18 minutes straight to 2500 opening-night viewers in Roy Thompson Theatre of Massey Hall in Toronto.

I traveled a long way from Kapuivik since 1957 in space and time, from the Stone Age to the Digital Age in one generation. I lived this change as a hunter and filmmaker. As an Inuk I’ve caught seals, walrus, caribou, wolves, muskox and polar bear, ptarmigan and snow geese and fished hundreds of arctic char with spears, hooks or nets. As a filmmaker I’ve spoken my language and shown my films and culture in New York, Paris, Los Angeles, London and Adelaide, Australia, in Greenland, Alert Bay on Vancouver Island and Sami Land in Tromso, Norway. I go on Facebook every day, I have over 150 friends from Igloolik to Japan. I travel with a flip camera or iPod in my pocket that takes high-definition video.

I learned more about my culture and Inuit ways, and more about the outside world and how it works. Over the past 30 years my partners and I showed the Inuit Point of View on a lot of different subjects. Back when scientists noticed a warming planet no one bothered to ask Inuit elders and hunters what they knew about their Arctic homeland from observing the weather every minute of every day. In 2010, we made Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change and sent it by internet to the COP-17 conference in Copenhagen. We showed Inuit experiences in residential schools, in Testimony in 2009; on the 1950’s forced relocation of 19 families from Inukjuaq to Grise Fiord and Resolute, in Exile in 2008. If there is a constitutional obligation to consult Inuit before building any mines in our homeland, these and other films we made in the past 27 years are examples of ‘consulting’ Inuit in a language they understand. We ask people questions they understand in their own language and we listen to their answers in their own words. Anyone can watch.

Our films bring the Inuit Point of View into the civilized conversations of our time. Inuit bring different values from our traditional Inuit knowledge to the art of civilized conversation. Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit or IQ teaches us six ‘commandments’ of problem solving that apply to today's problems as much as the past. Besides responsibility for our environment, Inuit values teach us to work together, avoid conflict, make decisions as a group, and especially, to be resourceful and adapt to a rapidly changing world. One after another, elders in our films tell us that hope is in our ability to be resilient and well adapted to our environment. Having survived past changes, while depending on weather and animals every day to live, Inuit experience tells us the only thing we can count on is change itself, and adaptation is the key to going forward into the future.

Global warming opened up our land for more mining and development, making it easier to find minerals and cheaper to get them down south. Now Inuit are surrounded by exploration for gold, diamonds, nickel, uranium and iron ore all over Nunavut. Baffinland’s iron mine, 70% foreign-owned by the world’s largest steelmaker ArcelorMittal, wants to build its deep-water port at Steensby Inlet where we know there is Inuit archaeology from 4500 years ago, with Inuit artifacts from biblical times. Baffinland’s Environmental Impact Statement says their railroad, port and supertanker shipping every day of the year won’t have any significant impact on our wildlife and environment. They say they won’t damage endangered species like bowhead whales in their shipping lane, or arctic char in lakes next to the railroad line, or walrus calving grounds just south of their port; that caribou, foxes, wolves or any of the rare or endangered birds who nest here won’t be harmed by all the noise from airplanes, helicopters, trains running every day and giant ice-breaking ships.

Inuit know this is impossible. We know animals already are impacted by mining activity and global warming added to it. We know our wildlife and environment will change forever if they go ahead with this plan. Inuit know this but most people we interviewed so far say there’s nothing they can do or can say that would change anything. No one is listening to what Inuit say. I am the lucky one, speaking here, in a Formal Intervention where people have to listen.

My Intervention to NRIB is in two parts. Part One: Written is in English, my second language that I learned in school in Igloolik where I completed Grade 8. Part Two: Inuktitut Audio/Video is in spoken Inuktitut, my first language of my ancestors for 4000 years, submitted to NIRB by internet at www.isuma.tv/DID. This Introduction to Part One is a story of my life and Inuit point of view in my father’s land. What I lived. What I learned. What I see happening now. And issues I am worried about, or hopeful about, for the future: human rights, wildlife, family life and the importance of 21st century media to give Inuit a healthier future. In Part Two: Inuktitut Audio/Video, I speak my Inuit point of view in Inuktitut

People who work with me also contributed to my Intervention. Norman Cohn is my filmmaking, artistic and business partner since 1985, and co-director with me of Digital Indigenous Democracy (DID), our 2012-13 internet project financed by a $1 million investment from the Canada Media Fund Experimental Stream. DID aims to bring Inuit knowledge and democratic participation in today’s mining decisions up to 21st century standards by using new media tools in Nunavut in ways now used around the world. Following my Inuit point of view, Norman and I give an overview of this project called Deciding Together: Introducing Digital Indigenous Democracy and the Angiqatigingniq Internet Network (AIN). This article written for the journal Northern Public Affairs explains how state-of-the-art media used by Inuit, mining companies and governments working together give Baffinland the opportunity to build a new global model of ‘best practices’ in communication, consultation, transparency, monitoring and enforcement. We call this first phase of Digital Indigenous Democracy, Attatama Nunanga, My Father’s Land.

Lloyd Lipsett is a lawyer who does Human Rights Impact Assessments (HRIA) in Canada and around the world. In 2012 Digital Indigenous Democracy hired Lloyd to do an HRIA of Baffinland’s Mary River Project and Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS). Lloyd started in May and expects to finish by the end of 2012. In this written submission, he outlines why a Human Rights Impact Assessment is important for Inuit right now, and reports some of what he learned so far. Lloyd’s contribution includes content from two academic experts we consulted: Dr. Ian Mauro, Canada Research Chair in Human Dimensions of Environmental Change at Mount Allison University, and Dr. Frances Abele, Academic Director of the Carleton Center for Community Innovation, and Professor in Carleton University School of Public Policy and Administration. Global warming is happening in my father’s land faster than anywhere on earth. Its impact on wildlife, environment and Inuit communities is the world’s laboratory for unknown and irreversible dangers. Ian was my co-director of the 2010 film Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change. He challenges the FEIS prediction of no impact on endangered species and the environment, since it fails to take into account current scientific knowledge about the cumulative effect climate change will add on to the impacts of the mine, railroad and port. Frances helped Igloolik do its first Socio-economic Baseline Study in 2009. Frances presents a scientific review of how mines impact family life in northern communities for better or worse. She recommends some specific measures that have been developed by communities and corporations elsewhere in the north to ensure that projects have the most positive effect possible on northern communities and on the territorial economy.

Conclusion and Recommendations

In 2012 My Father’s Land is surrounded by mining development. Last March, Canada’s Natural Resources Minister, Joe Oliver, explained in news interviews that his government has ‘a moral and constitutional obligation to consult’ First Nations or Inuit communities, whether it’s a pipeline in British Columbia or an iron mine in Nunavut. If Minister Oliver says there are ‘constitutional’ obligations he and mining companies have to follow, he’s probably right.

Since 2007, changes in international law now encourage business developments impacting indigenous communities to conduct Human Rights Impact Assessments and to follow the principle of Free, prior and informed consent. This principle is in the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples that Canada signed in 2010. If Canada signed on to human rights and informed consent, Canada is right.

In 2010 the G8 Summit hosted by Canada unanimously endorsed the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) urging governments and corporations to practice financial transparency when mines get developed. ‘Transparency’ is the opposite of ‘secrecy’ to reduce the chance of corruption wherever huge amounts of money are at stake. Canada contributes $750,000 every year to promote EITI around the world. The World Bank has a video on Youtube explaining it. If the World Bank, G8 and Canada agree that financial transparency should be practiced in mining, why would anyone say no to that?

This NIRB Public Hearing isn’t the only one. Many other mines are proposed. My Intervention recommends that NIRB, Baffinland and decision-making Ministers of Canada bring this Environmental Review up to date in the professional field I know best: information. Since 1987 our films speak Inuktitut to Inuit and the outside world, to put our Inuit history and Point of View into the ‘Public Hearing’ of our fast-changing 21st century. Like many Inuit, I use Facebook every day with 900 million users linked together around the world. Millions watched the Arab Spring on internet and now we see Egypt’s first democratic elections in history. Without using media today to inform and consult Inuit better than before, Canada, Nunavut and Baffinland risk falling behind our time, stuck back in the 20th century.

Canada is a world leader. We promote fairness and social justice, we respect constitutional rights and international law. Our Nunavut Land Claims Agreement is one of the best treaties ever signed to protect indigenous people anywhere. Baffinland’s Mary River Project is one of the biggest, richest mining developments in in the world. With a development this size, with impacts this large, we have the opportunity and responsibility to create a new model for our information century. This Baffinland Model could demonstrate to other mining companies coming along soon, and to other countries in the same situation with the same problems, how Inuit and Baffinland use state-of-the-art media tools to meet 21st century standards of knowledgeable democratic participation by Inuit in our own spoken language. This information model could prove how resource development can be honorable and just; how it can be proposed, reviewed, approved, monitored and enforced using today’s top information technology.

My newest grandchild is named after my father who passed away a few years ago. Inuit take names very seriously; when we name a new baby with an atiq from an ancestor we believe the child also carries the spirit of that ancestor forward in a new life. I call my grandchild my ataata, my father. When I speak of My Father’s Land I mean the land of my father who is passed away, and also the land of my father who is my grandchild moving into the future.


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Deciding Together: Introducing Digital Indigenous Democracy and the Angiqatigingniq Internet Network (AIN)
By Norman Cohn and Zacharias Kunuk
Publication pending in Northern Public Affairs (NPA)

As an upsurge of development due to global warming threatens to overwhelm communities in the resource-rich Canadian Arctic, how can Inuit in those communities be more fully involved and consulted in their own language? What tools are needed to make knowledgeable decisions? Communicating in writing with oral cultures makes ‘consulting’ one-sided: giving people thousands of pages they can’t read is unlikely to produce an informed, meaningful response. Now for the first time internet audiovisual tools enable community-based decision-making in oral Inuktitut that meets higher standards of constitutional and international law, and offers a new model for development in indigenous homelands. To meet these standards Inuit must get clear information in language they understand, talk about it together in their own way and make consensus decisions following the concept of angiqatigingniq, a complex set of social, listening and diplomatic skills for respecting differing opinions patiently until finding one unified decision everyone can support. In complex multi-lateral high-stakes negotiations, Inuit consensus - deciding together – may be the strongest power communities can bring to the table with governments and transnational corporations working together.

Digital Indigenous Democracy (DID) is a network of Isuma Distribution International Inc., with Nunavut Independent Television Network (NITV), Municipality of Igloolik, Nunavut Dept. of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth, Carleton Centre for Community Innovation, Mount Allison University and LKL International. DID is led by Zacharias Kunuk and Norman Cohn of Isuma Distribution and NITV, and Human Rights Assessor, Lloyd Lipsett. DID uses local radio, TV, multimedia and social networking tools to insure meaningful community participation in oral Inuktitut, in public hearings, environmental impact and benefits decisions affecting Inuit for generations to come.

Adequate Consultation

DID pilots this model at a moment of extreme urgency for Baffin Island Inuit facing one of the largest mining developments in Canadian history. Baffinland Iron Mine (BIM) 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. Operating the past several years under a temporary exploratory permit, BIM filed its Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) to Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) in February 2012. Under considerable pressure from BIM and Government of Canada to expedite a “timely review”, NIRB has scheduled public hearings on the FEIS to begin in July 2012 in Iqaluit , Igloolik and Pond Inlet, with a final decision on the Project in 2013.

So far, following 20th century rules of consultation and review, discussion of BIM’s operating plan, shared revenues and environmental or social impacts on Inuit has been mostly between NIRB and BIM, 70% foreign-owned by ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker, and with BIM’s local partners, that is, the governments of Canada and Nunavut, and the agencies representing the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (NLCA), Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI), and its Baffin regional arm, Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA). Confidential negotiations have defined royalty relationships and business opportunities once the Project is approved, with the result that BIM’s partners, representing Inuit interests, may be financially implicated in a positive result.

Hamlet Councils and Inuit in the seven most impacted communities – Igloolik, Pond Inlet, Arctic Bay, Hall Beach, Clyde River, Kimmirut and Cape Dorset – have not been adequately informed, consulted or included in the decision or deal-making. QIA, with financial assistance from BIM, established a 42-member Baffinland Committee of six Inuit in each of the seven communities representing different local organizations, e.g. Hamlet Council, Hunters and Trappers Organization etc. Local Baffinland Committee-members, many of whom are unilingual in Inuktitut, meet to discuss original English-language documents received from BIM, NIRB and QIA, with the aid of written Inuktitut ‘summaries’ prepared by QIA that most Inuit cannot read.

While some local Committee-members may believe they should pass information on to their communities, and gather comments to feed back to QIA and BIM, the Committees have not been provided with a clear mandate to do this, nor any financial or communication tools to carry it out. Despite these limitations, local Committee meeting minutes show members concerned about many aspects of Baffinland’s plan, but especially about BIM’s unilateral decision to build the deep-water port at Steensby Inlet and ship iron ore by supertankers daily through the Foxe Basin.

Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit, Foxe Basin and Steensby Inlet

Inuit Oral History and modern scientific evidence both agree: people from the region of north Baffin Island have been living and hunting walrus in Foxe Basin, and caribou in Steensby Inlet, for 4000 years. Foxe Basin, known to Inuit as Ikiq, is the home and calving ground of Canada’s largest walrus herd, a rich ecosystem of marine mammals like seals, bowhead whales and polar bears, and nesting grounds for bird species including gyrfalcons, king eider ducks, snowy owls, snow geese and swans. Steensby Inlet, known to Inuit as Kangiqlukjuaq, on the south-west coast of north Baffin Island is the Inuit ‘Timbuktoo’ or ‘Macchu Piccu’ of the region, a major meeting crossroads on the nomadic roadmap Inuit caribou hunters followed every year for 40 centuries.

This summer Zacharias Kunuk, Cannes award-winning filmmaker, Igloolik Hamlet Councilor and Officer of the Order of Canada, will hunt walrus and caribou in the same places and same ways as his father, grandfather and their grandfathers before them since Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt or Agamemnon led the Greeks to sack Troy. Born in 1957 in a sod house at Kapuivik between Ikiq and Kangiqlukjuaq, Zacharias – who never saw a white man until he was nine years-old and now Facebooks with friends from Igloolik to Tokyo – is only one generation removed from the same Inuit who were contemporaries of The Old Testament and The Iliad. In the mysterious reality of today’s quantum Space-Time, what does this really mean? Is it possible to imagine people that old, whose knowledge and experience we would revere that much, walking the earth in the 21st Century? And in that case, with information technologies available today, what could they tell us? What can we learn from them? How should we listen?

The ancient skill of consensus decision-making, named angiqatigingniq [ahng-yee-kha-te-GING-nik] in the Six ‘Commandments’ of traditional Inuit knowledge called Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit or IQ, enabled small groups of people to survive and thrive for 4000 years in the world’s harshest climate. Inuit learned the hard way, through experience, that the safest way to go forward in a dangerous environment is by patiently listening and respecting differing opinions until one unified decision emerges everyone can support. The other five IQ commandments sound equally modern in today’s film, video and social networking 21st century: acquiring knowledge, adapting resourcefully, working together, putting community above the individual and, most timely, what Inuit call Avatimik Kamattiarniq, a concept of environmental stewardship stressing the relationship between Inuit (i.e. people) and their environment.

Linking Digital Indigenous Democracy and Human Rights Impact Assessment

Recent trends in international law now recognize that business enterprises have a responsibility to respect human rights throughout their operations. Human Rights Impact Assessments (HRIA) identify potential positive and negative impacts of a business enterprise through consultation and dialogue with all stakeholders. Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) highlights the fundamental importance of consultation and good faith negotiation with indigenous peoples about projects that affect their land, resources and cultural heritage. The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) is an important standard to promote financial transparency and ensure that communities benefit from the significant revenues generated by resource extraction. Together, these standards focus on informed consultation, participation and transparency as necessary protection of indigenous lands.

Both the Environmental Review by Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB), and an Inuit Impact and Benefits Agreement (IIBA) negotiated by Qikiqtani Inuit Association (QIA), require Inuit to be informed and consulted under terms defined by the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (NLCA), Canada’s Supreme Court and the indigenous peoples rights standards in Canadian and international law. Canada formally supports all these standards; however, across long-standing language and cultural barriers, none is easy to carry out. Through DID, Inuit adapt ‘deciding together’ to the challenges of 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. Starting in May 2012 DID media tools inform, consult and assist Inuit to make decisions together in the seven impacted Inuit communities, while at the same time LKL International carries out a Human Rights Impact Assessment looking at the positive and negative impacts of the proposed mine in terms of international human rights standards and best practices. Inuit consensus is presented publicly online through IsumaTV [www.isuma.tv/DID], through local radio and TV channels in all Nunavut communities and submitted formally to the regulatory process through the multimedia HRIA.

Digital Indigenous Democracy is not ‘anti-mining,’ it is ‘pro-law.’ Both Canadian constitutional and international law now define the ‘moral and constitutional obligation to consult’ as a reasonable obligation by governments and transnational corporations seeking to develop projects on indigenous lands. These rights are further reinforced by the NLCA which requires ‘public participation’ and ‘consultation’ of ‘Inuit’ (that is, ‘people,’ not only ‘Designated Inuit Organizations’). Inuit – people – must be consulted meaningfully, after having been adequately informed in language they can understand, for the legal standard imposed on a review process to be met. DID’s role in informing Inuit adequately, so they can be consulted meaningfully, is designed simply to bring the Baffinland review process into legal compliance with Canadian and global standards today.

NIRB begins public hearings on BIM’s Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) July 16, 2012 in Iqaluit, Igloolik and Pond Inlet, leading toward a recommendation to Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources as early as September 2012, with a final cabinet decision on the project soon after. In this frame of urgency, DID’s multimedia experiment together with the HRIA allow Inuit to participate meaningfully in public hearings and decision-making during the year ahead, bringing what appear to be ‘nostalgic’ Inuit values onto the main stage of 21st century current events, affecting not only Inuit but the interconnected planet we all occupy. We call this experiment Deciding Together: Angiqatigingniq Internet Network (AIN), a gift from the past to the future.

Deciding Together: Angiqatigingniq Internet Network (AIN)

DID launches Angiqatigingniq Internet Network (AIN) in four Inuktitut-language media activities that improve community radio, local-channel TV, professional filmmaking and high-speed interactive internet across the region of low-bandwidth communities. Each activity gives Inuit tools to gain knowledge and talk together, locally and regionally, about the Baffinland proposal, NIRB review, Inuit Impact and Benefits Agreement (IIBA) and ongoing deal-making among BIM, QIA and the governments of Canada and Nunavut; and to adapt the process of angiqatigingniq to make decisions together on the most important current issues.

Deciding together, reaching consensus, gives Inuit communities much greater power and influence at the negotiating table. Using DID media tools, Inuit can communicate these decisions and how they made them, publicly and audio-visually, in Inuktitut and in translated versions all Canadians can understand.

1. Nipivut Nunatinnii (Our Voice at Home): Community radio online.
2. Inuktiturmiut (Our Own Language): Local TV channels connected by internet.
3. Angiqatigingniq (Deciding Together): Multimedia social network and Human Rights.
4. Qikiqtani Nunatinnii (Our Baffinland): Film, television, digital mapping, global internet.

• Nipivut Nunatinnii (Our Voice at Home) is a network of community radio stations connected by internet to improve Inuktitut knowledge, participation and decision-making about the Baffinland development. Community radio, playing continually in most homes at most times, is the strongest ‘social networking’ tool in Inuit communities, a billboard for announcements, complaints, storytelling, birthday wishes, electioneering, returning hunters offering fresh meat or parents telling their children to come home from wherever they are. Nipivut Nunatinnii will upgrade equipment and staff training, and connect community radio stations to the internet in Igloolik, Pond Inlet, Hall Beach, Arctic Bay, Clyde River, Kimmirut and Cape Dorset. Live radio streaming gives people online access to local radio from any community and allows all seven Baffin communities to communicate better with each other on issues that impact the whole region. Starting May 7, 2012 in Igloolik, Nipivut Nunatinnii will produce a weekly two-hour call-in talk show to give Inuit more information in Inuktitut on important issues related to Baffinland and an opportunity to call-in, comment and discuss them: how the public hearings will work and who can appear, what impacts and benefits have been negotiated so far, what jobs and training opportunities are proposed, what are Inuit rights and Human Rights under the NLCA and Canadian constitutional law, how does BIM propose to protect walrus, wildlife and priceless archaeological sites at Steensby Inlet’s port site, how to enforce benefits and what happens if a mine closes, and other subjects. Three teams of outside consultants will contribute essential independent information to Inuit – a ‘second opinion’ to BIM’s Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) ¬–through weekly episodes of Nipivut Nunatinnii online: one, led by Dr. Frances Abele, professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University Centre for Innovation; a second team led by Dr. Ian Mauro, Canada Research Chair in the Human Dimensions of Environmental Change at Mt. Allison University; and a third led by Lloyd Lipsett of LKL International, heading the legal team conducting the Human Rights Impact Assessment. Combining the interactive engagement of community radio with the focused discussion format of CBC’s Cross-Country Checkup or NPR’s On Point, Nipivut Nunatinnii online allows Inuit to participate from anywhere in the region or country. As the project develops, and other communities build capacity, local call-in talk shows will be hosted in all of the seven impacted communities.

• Inuktiturmiut (Our Own Language) installs internet-connected local community TV channels in all seven impacted Baffinland communities as well as Iqaluit, Nunavut’s capital and headquarters of many of the organizations most involved in the Baffinland Review Process. Using an IsumaTV MediaPlayer (MP) as a local internet server, audio/video media files play from IsumaTV at high-speed even in low-speed communities with limited bandwidth. Films and videos that normally take forever to load from Youtube or other media websites on a slow internet connection, now load from IsumaTV at high speed wherever MPs are installed. Linking an IsumaTV MP to a local community cable TV channel allows broadcasting 24/7, direct to home televisions, Inuktitut films and videos archived on IsumaTV, or new videos uploaded locally. Local managers select 24/7 video playlists from more than 3000 choices already on IsumaTV, and then switch to live local broadcasting whenever the channel wants to go on the air with a live show. For the past eight months Channel 51 in Igloolik and Channel 14 in Pangnirtuq have provided 24/7 Inuktitut TV to home viewers. IsumaTV/DID expands this service to all seven Baffinland communities plus Iqaluit, starting summer 2012. Local TV news programs will keep Inuit informed and up to date on the environmental review process, filings by Baffinland, legal issues and public hearings scheduled by Nunavut Impact Review Board to start in summer 2012. Video highlights of the NIRB hearings will be played back daily on live local TV shows throughout the summer.

• Angiqatigingniq (Deciding Together) is an improved social networking website starting on IsumaTV/DID in Fall 2012. The new site works interactively like Facebook but is specifically designed for exchanging audio/video media files more easily in slow-speed communities without frustrating delays. Inuit use Facebook today writing almost exclusively in English, even between Inuktitut-speakers. This undermines the widely-held goal of Inuktitut language preservation, and contributes to loss of language at a rate more accelerated than ever. DID serves as a bridge between digital social networking tools like Facebook and analogue oral media like local radio and TV. Combining these in a resourceful adaptation to slow internet service in remote communities, oral-language Inuit can listen and watch local radio and TV, write to each other on Facebook and ‘talk’ in oral Inuktitut using webcams or iPods on DID. Angiqatigingniq (Deciding Together) will collect Inuktitut-language interviews, commentary and oral histories within the framework provided by LKL International for conducting the Human Rights Impact Assessment. DID allows human rights assessors the rare opportunity to ‘listen in’ to ongoing threads of interactive conversation and consensus decision-making on issues raised by the Human Rights review.

• Qikiqtani Nunatinnii (Our Baffinland) is a separately financed feature-length documentary film and interactive multimedia Atlas by Zacharias Kunuk bringing together elders, hunters, families and youth to record Inuit knowledge and points of view on Foxe Basin and Steensby Inlet, the areas most affected if BIM builds its deep-water port on the proposed Steensby Inlet site. Kunuk will lead his Inuit cast and crew on two filmmaking and hunting expeditions during the summer 2012. The first expedition in July films walrus hunting in Foxe Basin as practiced by Igloolik hunters for four millennia and collects oral histories of traditional knowledge from hunters and families about the relationship between Inuit and walrus throughout history. Interviews also record Inuit hunters’ points of view on the impact of development activity observed on marine wildlife in the region so far, and their expected impacts of daily super-tanker shipping through Foxe Basin. A second expedition in August travels to Steensby Inlet with a southern archaeologist and four families who have used and continue to use this region as part of their traditional hunting territory for 4500 years: visiting camping sites and ruins, walking the roads Inuit traveled to harvest caribou, wolves, arctic char and snow geese and collecting oral histories from elders who lived and hunted in the area as children with their parents and grand-parents. Footage from Our Baffinland will be presented on Channel 51 in Igloolik and community TV channels in other Baffin communities, and released in Spring 2013 as a ninety-minute film for theatres and a two-part mini-series for global TV audiences. Our Baffinland oral histories and storytelling, on the land travel and documentation, public hearing testimonies, related scientific data and background information will be georeferenced and presented in an interactive digital online Atlas that will facilitate a multi-media “geonarrative” for the overall project. This website will be produced in collaboration with Dr. Fraser Taylor, Head of the Geomatic Cartographic Research Centre (GCRC) at Carleton University, one of the world’s leading centres for interactive mapping combining geographic information systems (GIS), multimedia, video and other scientific data. This interactive Atlas of the region will be available online to the public, to schools in Nunavut and worldwide for teaching Inuit culture, language and history, as well as the current state of environmental regulation and review of natural resource development in Canada’s north. Stay tuned: www.isuma.tv/DID, Facebook/isumaTV, Twitter@IsumaTV, info [at] isuma [dot] tv.
 

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23 July 2012

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