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  •  Igloolik | ᐃᒡᓗᓕᒃ

    Igloolik | ᐃᒡᓗᓕᒃ

    by: IsumaTV

    Igloolik is a Low Bandwidth High Cost internet community. Internet service is 150 times behind southern Canada in cost-per-MB. To overcome this handicap DID installs local server Mediaplayers to deliver high speed media to slow speed users, and broadcasts our internet films and videos to home TV.



  • British Columbia First Nations

    British Columbia First Nations

    by: IsumaTV

    From the Council of the Haida Nation:

    "Haida people have occupied Haida Gwaii since time immemorial. Our traditional territory encompasses parts of southern Alaska, the archipelago of Haida Gwaii and its surrounding waters.

    Today, Haida people make up half of the 5000 people living on the islands. Haida reside throughout the islands but are concentrated in two main centres, Old Massett at the north end of Graham Island and Skidegate at the south end.

    The Haida Nation collectively holds Hereditary and Aboriginal Title and Rights to Haida Territories and the cultural and intellectual property rights of the Haida Nation.

    All people of Haida ancestry are citizens of the Haida Nation. Every Haida citizen has the right of access to all Haida Gwaii resources for cultural reasons, and for food or commerce consistent with the Laws of Nature as reflected in the laws of the Haida Nation.Our culture is born of respect, and intimacy with the land and sea and the air around us.

    Like the forests, the roots of our people are intertwined such that the greatest troubles cannot overcome us. We owe our existence to Haida Gwaii. The living generation accepts the responsibility to ensure that our heritage is passed on to following generations."

    At the moment we are working in the Haida communities of Skidegate and Old Massett. If you want this type of project in your community, or to join the BCFN network, please contact us at 



  • Haida Community Hub

    Haida Community Hub

    by: IsumaTV

    The Haida community page is dedicated to telling stories from the Haida perspective. Working in the communities of Skidegate and Old Massett, this page was possible through the Haida Script Development Project, a collaboration between the Council of the Haida Nation, the UBC School of Regional and Community Planning, and NITV (Nunavut Independent Television Network).

    Scroll below find all content (video, text, audio) uploaded directly to the page, organized by date of the upload.



Recent Uploads

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

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

    by: samcc

    channel: 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 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


    Let your voices be heard!

    Nipivut Nunatinnii Our Voice at Home Igloolik Community Radio Online +1.867.934.8080 or 8082 or




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

    Mining and caribou - What is a "significant impact"

    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.



  • Baffinland community hearings – Who are the community representatives?

    Baffinland community hearings – Who are the community representatives?

    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"



  • “I’m upset about those who are opposed to the mine,", May 27, 2012

    “I’m upset about those who are opposed to the mine,", May 27, 2012

    by: samcc

    channel: News

    Full story at May 27, 2012. “I’m upset about those who are opposed to the mine. I want the mine to go ahead so people have money.” From Augustine Taqqaugaq’s new porch, you can see all of Igloolik laid out in a rough chronological order along the shore by date of development from south to north. Taqqaugaq lives in the newest, most northerly house. Looking out over the water, a two-toned canvas; a straight white line demarcates the boundary between the blinding white of the snow from the dull white of the sky. Taqqaugaq moved into government housing only this year after 14 years in a power-less shack on Igloolik point, a camp outside of town.

    “I’m upset about those who are opposed to the mine,” he says. “I never had money, so that’s important. I want the mine to go ahead so people have money. For me, I’ll never work at the mine—I have no education—but probably through royalties I will see some money.



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

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

    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.



  • IMPORTANT NEWS – New talks of land and resource devolution

    IMPORTANT NEWS – New talks of land and resource devolution

    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:, 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')



  • Q&A with international human rights lawyer Lloyd Lipsett,, May 24, 2012

    Q&A with international human rights lawyer Lloyd Lipsett,, May 24, 2012

    by: samcc

    channel: News

    Full story see May 24, 2012. Q&A with international human rights lawyer Lloyd Lipsett. On May 23, the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) granted intervenor status to international human rights lawyer, Lloyd Lipsett, on behalf of IsumaTV’s Zacharias Kunuk. Lipsett will conduct research with stakeholders (the seven affected communities, representative Inuit organizations, territorial and federal government regulators, the companies, Baffinland and ArcelorMittal and environmental and sociological experts) in the [...] see more at



  • Plans for a new iron ore mine near Sanikiluaq

    Plans for a new iron ore mine near Sanikiluaq

    by: samcc

    channel: News

    The mining company Canadian Orebodies has announced an exploration program this summer to find iron ore at Haig Inlet and the Belcher Islands. They have three different sites they want to open.



  • "The mine had already started before they started talking about it." May 21, 2012

    "The mine had already started before they started talking about it." May 21, 2012

    by: samcc

    channel: My Father's Land

    DID News Alert “The mine had already started before they started talking about it. So what do you do? The decision has already been made.” see more at

    May 21, 2012. A floor-to-ceiling wall of pelts guards the entrance to the Igloolik Elders’ centre. The air is thick and sour with a mix of curing fish and seal meat, fox fur and a caribou skin stretched out on a wooden frame in front of the hall coat closet. Where the shoes normally go, there’s a slick, [...]




  • Haida Television

    Haida Television

    by: Haida

    Local server Media Players broadcast films from IsumaTV’s website to home viewers 24/7 by local TV. Call or Facebook your Station Manager to comment or add any film or video you want to watch. COMING SOON. Contact



  • IKCC Screenings

    IKCC Screenings

    by: IsumaTV

    Book Screenings

    Book screenings, rent or buy copies of Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change from our distributor Vtape. Contact Wanda at +1.416.351.1317 or email



  • In memory: Mariano Abarca Roblero memoria

    In memory: Mariano Abarca Roblero memoria

    by: samcc

    *Para el Español, haga clic en READ MORE*

    Last year in the evening of November 27th 2009, prominent anti-mining activist and community organizer Mariano Abarca Roblero was murdered in front of his home in the Chiapas town of Chicomuselo. He is survived by a wife and four children.

    Roblero and his group, Dos Valles Valientes, had been protesting the development of a Barium mine in Chicomuselo. Roblero and others opposed the development of the mine, run by Canadian based Blackfire Explorations, because its use of scarce local water sources had polluted the waters around the community causing harm to people and livestock. Furthermore, houses in the community were being damaged (crumbling walls especially) by the constant noise and vibration from large trucks heading to the mine at all times of the day and night.

    Mariano Roblero and colleagues had been threatened many times by certain members of their community and employees of the mine for their opposition to this project. Roblero had previously been kidnapped, arrested and detained by police dressed in civilian clothing after Blackfire management had demanded his arrest for a blockade he had organized on the main road to the mine, costing the company a mere 120 000 pesos (or roughly 9000 dollars). He had also had been threatened by two Blackfire employees, who said they were going to “fuck him up in a hail of bullets” if he did not stop protesting against the mine, and was, according to a Blackfire employee, on a list of people Blackfire management wanted to hurt.

    Currently three people are in jail for Roblero’s murder, and the Barium mine has been shut down. This tragic event highlights the problems that often arise when foreign mining companies, with profit on their minds and no interest in the condition and opinion of local peoples, decide to exploit areas they have no connection to. It also shows how the arrival of multi-million dollar companies (who often bribe and favor those supporting them) can split a community in two, causing tension and division between those who are in favor of the project and those who are against it. Sometimes, as was the case in Chicomuselo, this loss of community unity leads to violence and grief.

    In remembrance of Mariano Abarca Roblero’s death, IsumaTV is creating a channel on the topic of mining in Mexico and Latin America as a whole. We invite everyone who has information (audio, video, text, articles, links) they believe is important on either Roblero’s specific case, or anything relating to mining in South America or on Indigenous lands to please post on this channel. There will also be a place on this section where people can communicate with each other through comments and messages.

    Additional information on mining can be found on the channel “Show me on the map: discussion on mining on Aboriginal lands” in which there is also an article on Roblero’s death, and it’s companion website

      El año pasado, en la noche del 27 de noviembre de 2009, el destacado activista anti-minero y organizador comunitario Mariano Abarca Roblero, fue asesinado en frente de su hogar en Chicomuselo en el estado de Chiapas, México. Dejando atrás a cuatro hijos y a su esposa.

    Roblero y su grupo, Dos Valles Valientes, habían estado protestando por el desarrollo de la compañía minera Barium en Chicomuselo. Roblero y otros se oponían al desarrollo de esta mina, administrada por la sede canadiense de Blackfire Explorations, porque el uso de las fuentes de agua potable a nivel local había contaminado el agua a los alrededores de la comunidad; causando daño a las personas y al ganado. Además, las casas de la comunidad estaban sufriendo daño (las paredes se estaban cayendo a pedazos) por el constante ruido y la vibración de los enormes camiones que se dirigían a la mina a todas horas durante el día y la noche.

    Mariano Roblero y sus colegas había sido amenazados varias veces por miembros de la comunidad y empleados de la mina por su oposición a este proyecto. Roblero anteriormente había sido secuestrado, arrestado y detenido por la policía (vestida de civiles) después de que la administración de Blackfire hubiera solicitado su arresto por haber organizado el bloqueo del camino principal hacia la mina. Acción que le había costado a la mina $120,000.00 pesos (aproximadamente $9,000 dólares). También había sido amenazado por dos empleados de Blackfire que le habían dicho que “lo iban a chingar con un granizo de balas” si no paraba de protestar contra la mina y, de acuerdo a un empleado de Blackfire, estaba en una lista de gente a la que la administración de Blackfire quería dañar.

    Actualmente tres personas se encuentran en la cárcel por el asesinato de Roblero y la compañía minera Barium ha cerrado sus actividades. Este evento trágico pone luz sobre los problemas que acontecen a menudo cuando compañías mineras extranjeras, enfocados en las ganancias y sin interés en la opinión y en las condiciones de vida de la comunidad local, decide explotar áreas con las cuales no tienen ninguna conexión. También muestra cómo la llegada de compañías mineras multimillonarias (que muy a menudo sobornan y favorecen a quienes los apoyan) pueden dividir a la comunidad en dos, causando tensión y división entre aquellos que están a favor del proyecto y aquellos que están en contra. Algunas veces, como en el caso de Chicomuselo, esta pérdida de unidad comunitaria conlleva al dolor y a la violencia.

    En memoria de la muerte de Mariano Abarca Roblero, IsumaTV ha creado un canal con el tema de compañías mineras en México y América Latina en general. Invitamos a todas las personas que tengan información (audio, video, texto, artículos, enlaces) relacionada con el caso de Roblero o con cualquier tema relacionado a la minería en América Latina o en tierras indígenas, que suban información a este canal. También habrá una sección en este canal en el que las personas podrán comunicarse por medio de comentarios y mensajes.

    Para información adicional en minería puede referirse al canal “Show me on the map: discussion on mining on Aboriginal lands” en donde hay también un artículo del asesinato de Roblero; y, también al sitio web





  • IsumaTV Ecuador

    IsumaTV Ecuador

    by: Gabriela Gamez

    -- English follows---

    Todo acerca de la participación de IsumaTV en Ecuador en el "X Festival de Cine y Video de los Pueblos Indígenas" organizado por CLACPI y CONAIE en octubre de 2010. Desde la conferencia y el taller hasta los encuentros del día a día.

    The complete story about IsumaTV's participation on the "10th International Film + Video Festival of the Indigenous People" organized by CLACPI and the CONAIE in Ecuador on October 2010. From IsumaTV's conference and workshop to the daily experiences. 



  • Kingulliit The Next Generation Blog

    Kingulliit The Next Generation Blog

    by: IsumaTV

    Kingulliit The Next Generation Blog is a Related Channel to the site Kingulliit The Next Generation. This related channel documents activities in 2010 and 2011 to move Inuktitut-language multimedia into a new generation of production and distribution through new media and new internet technologies. Starting November 2010, Inuit filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk leads a team to Nunavut communities to show how IsumaTV Hi-speed MediaPlayers boost slow internet to high-speed for over 2000 films on Kunuk also screens in each community his newest documentary film, Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change, by downloading it from the internet using a Hi-speed MediaPlayer. Kunuk travels with Paul Quassa, former president of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., Canadian rock-star Lucie Idlout and Nunavut filmmaker, David Poisey, to introduce the potential benefits of faster internet for watching over 720 films in Inuktitut among a total of 2000 Inuit and Aboriginal films in 41 languages worldwide. John Hodgins, IsumaTV Technical Manager, installs the Hi-speed MediaPlayers in schools, libraries, youth centres or other locations where people can gain access to IsumaTV’s collection, and where local community videos can be uploaded to the worldwide website. This blog follows the process of their travels and results. Please join us to upload comments, suggestions, videos, photos or other materials relating to bringing Inuit and Aboriginal media out of the past and into the digital future.



  • Multimedia and Human Rights

    Multimedia and Human Rights

    by: IsumaTV

    Today's legal obligation to "Inform and Consult" with indigenous people regarding the development of their land must be met in a language people understand using the best technology available.

    Audio and video interactive new media allow oral spoken indigenous dialects to be the main language used to inform and consult.

    The Digital Indigenous Democracy multimedia Human Rights Impact Assessment delivers indigenous media by internet in a Human Rights legal framework to concerned parties in order to help make informed and collaborative decisions.

    This demonstrates the value of new media in regulation of resource developments hoping to meet 21st century constitutional and international standards of Human Rights. 

    For example of this work currently happening in Nunavut, click here

    For more information contact




  • NITV (Igloolik community-TV 1995-2007)

    NITV (Igloolik community-TV 1995-2007)

    by: Zacharias Kunuk


    Check out NITV QUEBEC

    Nunavut Independent Television Network (formerly called Tarriaksuk Video Centre), based in Igloolik, Nunavut, is Canada's first artist-run media centre located in a remote Inuit community. Founded in 1991, NITV's mandate is to encourage and support the creation of artistic, community-based media productions that serve the objectives of self-representation and cultural/linguistic preservation by adapting Inuit oral traditions to modern media technologies. Specifically, NITV aims to expand local access television in Igloolik and link other Nunavut communities through NITV on IsumaTV 3.0, by developing the use of Internet-TV (IPTV) to increase the production and distribution of Inuktitut-language and other Aboriginal programming. NITV is one of the founding members of IsumaTV [], a collective multimedia internet 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 3.0 internet 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 CMF financing from the Aboriginal Fund Envelope. More information at




  • Skidegate Radio

    Skidegate Radio

    by: Haida

    Call in

    Share your perspective live via phone or Facebook!


    Comment on our page

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  • Transmediale


    by: Gabriela Gamez


    On January 28 2009, Zacharaias Kunuk delivered the annual Marshal McLuhan Lecture to the Berlin Transmediale live on IsumaTV from Iqaluit to the lecture hall in Berlin, including an interactive Q & A.




Recent Uploads

  • Ningiuq


    by: Carol Kunnuk

    channel: Igloolik | ᐃᒡᓗᓕᒃ

    In 2009, Rachel Uyarasuk, elder of the Inuit community of Igloolik (Nunavut), evokes the ancestors whose name she received at birth. She explains how this transmission ensured their return among the world of the living.

    A film by Christin Merlhiot

    France, 2014, 11 minutes, animation

    Inuktitut with English & French subtitles





  • DID in the News!

    DID in the News!

    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.




  • Zacharias Kunuk with Lloyd Lipsett, Formal Intervention, NIRB Technical Hearing, July 23, 2012, Igloolik, Part 2/2 1:18 English Version

    Zacharias Kunuk with Lloyd Lipsett, Formal Intervention, NIRB Technical Hearing, July 23, 2012, Igloolik, Part 2/2 1:18 English Version

    by: IsumaTV

    channel: My Father's Land

    Zacharias Kunuk with Lloyd Lipsett, Formal Intervention, NIRB Technical Hearing, July 23, 2012, Igloolik, Part 2/2 1:18 English Version. Zacharias Kunuk concludes his and Lloyd Lipsett's presentation calling for up to date media technology and an Interactive Multimedia Human Rights Impact Assessment.




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