Northern Public Affairs

Volume 1 Special Issue 2013

Building our future together DAVE RAMSAY Co-managing the future? HAYDEN KING The Northern economy: Lessons from industry DON BUBAR Economic development: Striking the right balance STEPHEN KAKFWI The economy, governance, & social suffering STEPHANIE IRLBACHER-FOX Dechinta Bush University Student Plenary: A report COLE SMITH & DARCY LEIGH Resource wealth: Opportunities & challenges DIANA GIBSON Pathways to homelessness JULIA CHRISTENSEN northernpublicaffairs.ca

PATHWAYS TO PROSPERITY
The Northern Governance & Economy Conference

Northwest Territories Premier BOB MCLEOD on devolution & economic prosperity An interview with TOMMY PALLISER on Inukjuak’s innovative Unaaq Men’s Association FRANCES ABELE on challenges in understanding the new Northern economy

“The decision to sign the Agreement in Principle is ours, and ours alone.”
— Tłı̨chǫ Grand Chief Eddie Erasmus, after announcing that the Tłı̨chǫ Government would be a signatory to the Devovultion Agreement in Principle, Feburary 28, 2013.

Northern Public Affairs
Special Issue 2013

FEATURES
LETTER FROM THE EDITORS Pathways to prosperity MESSAGE FROM THE CO-CHAIRS Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox, Willard Hagen, & Stephen Kakfwi OVERHEARD Statement by NWT MLA Daryl Dolynny NORTHERN VOICES Devolution & economic prosperity Premier Bob McLeod Building our future together Minister Dave Ramsay Beyond health care Dr. Anna Reid Economic development Stephen Kakfwi 5 7

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ARTICLES
GOVERNANCE Co-managing the future? Hayden King EDUCATION Dechinta Bush University Student Plenary Cole Smith & Darcy Leigh ECONOMY The Northern economy: Lessons from industry Don Bubar ECONOMY Challenges in understanding the Northern Economy Frances Abele 27 ECONOMY Resource wealth: Opportunities & challenges Diana Gibson 43

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SOCIETY The economy, governance, & social suffering 48 Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox THE ESSAY Pathways to homelessness Julia Christensen IN CONVERSATION Raising-up hunters & protectors once again: The Unaaq Men’s Assocation Stephanie Irblacher-Fox & Tommy Palliser 51

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Northern Public Affairs
Volume 1 Special Issue 2013

Guest Editors Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox Hayden King Founding Editors Joshua Gladstone Sheena Kennedy Jerald Sabin Advisory Board Frances Abele (Cantley, Québec) Joanne Barnaby (Hay River, Northwest Territories) Kenn Harper (Iqaluit, Nunavut) Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox (Yellowknife, Northwest Territories) Mary Ellen Thomas (Iqaluit, Nunavut) Valoree Walker (Whitehorse, Yukon) Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory (Iqaluit, Nunavut) Copy Editors Kyle Kirkup Layout Design Jerald Sabin

Northern Public Affairs is made possible by the generous support of the Northern research community.

Supporters

Aurora Research Institute (Aurora College)

Nunavut Research Institute (Nunavut Arctic College)

Carleton Centre for Community Innovation (Carleton University)

Yukon Research Centre (Yukon College)

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Letters should be sent with the writer’s name, address, and daytime phone number via email to northernpublicaffairs@gmail.com, or by mail to Northern Public Affairs P.O. Box 517, Stn. B, Ottawa, ON CANADA K1P 5P6. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and may be published in any medium. All letters become property of Northern Public Affairs and will not be returned. VOLUME 1, SPECIAL ISSUE, March 11, 2013. NORTHERN PUBLIC AFFAIRS (ISSN pending) is published three times a year by Northern Public Affairs. SUBSCRIPTIONS: Visit www.northernpublicaffairs.ca/index. NORTHERN PUBLIC AFFAIRS IS A TRADEMARK OF NORTHERN PUBLIC AFFAIRS. COPYRIGHT ©2013 NORTHERN PUBLIC AFFAIRS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. PRINTED IN CANADA.

FEATURES

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Photo credit: Morris Neyelle.

Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, circa 1980.

LETTER FROM THE EDITORS

Pathways to prosperity
Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox & Hayden King, Guest Editors

Photo credit: Morris Neyelle.

hat a conference! It was the type of gathering where conversations at breaks were about polar bear hunting or the utility of Facebook in advancing discussion about social policy. In fact, those were also some topics on the formal agenda of the conference! So the conference was unique, to say the least. Unique not only in content, but also structure — bringing together community members, political and business leaders, and academics — rare connections made in a format that in retrospect is absolutely critical to a “big picture” understanding that the Pathways to Prosperity: Northern Governance and Economy Conference attempted to develop. This special issue of Northern Public Affairs represents our efforts to distill and crystallize the conversations emerging from this unique and educational conference. Broadly disseminating the conference results through NPA seemed an obvious partnership: the magazine provides a much — needed forum for analysis, discussion and debate on issues that occur in, or affect, the North. The content of this special issue focuses on elements of the “big picture” insights about many large-scale processes currently unfolding, such as the transformation of governance institutions and the even more rapid transformation

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of the economy. However it was the personal — the human — dimension, that caught our attention and that we’ve also included here. For all of the North’s dependence on a resource extraction economy and the potential benefits it may bring, the lived experience in the NWT seems to be this: those benefits are not felt in a sustained, positive way in the small communities outside of Yellowknife. We heard about the atrocious housing conditions, people without the cash to feed their children, schools that are dilapidated and understaffed, parents demoralized and desperate: for jobs, for a house, for a break. The NWT’s resource dependence has created a boom and bust economy. And it is likely that people will suffer. Even in this period of boom and excitement surrounding largescale resource extraction projects, there is the very real possibility that little will change with respect to the desperate circumstances we see in small communities. Yet, there are alternative possibilities. Flowing from these personal stories was a corresponding theme of resilience and community action: community members talking about their situation and what they are willing to do about it. We heard about the aforementioned Facebook pages established to highlight housing (and related) chalNorthern Public Affairs, Special Issue 2013 5

A scene from the Sahtu, Northwest Territories, 2012.

lenges. We heard about community efforts to create telecommunications infrastructure. We heard about Dene, Gwich’in and Kasho Got’ine efforts to build economic and cultural independence, and about a land-based university focused on decolonizing education and reinforcing connections to the land. People are doing what they can. These are ordinary people faced with extraordinary hardships and obstacles. Their responses are as creative as they are inspiring. But they could use help. Political leaders and other officials might put safeguards in place — tested, common sense, doable safeguards. These might include a permanent stabilization fund; innovation funding programs that have only one criteria - communities addressing their needs in their own ways; revisiting royalty rates; and fixing our system of governance. All of the above, and more, were solutions identified at our Conference and could go some ways to helping those alienated from the benefits of the current boom. We’ve included some of these novel ideas in this special issue of Northern Public Affairs. Generally this Issue details problems, innovations, solutions, and many, many options for policy makers — and

voters — to think about and maybe even act upon. While the Issue makes ample room for articles about managing the Northern economy, jurisdiction over resources, land claim settlements, and so on, it also focuses on the often overlooked but critically important human dimension. The implication of this, as one of the articles in this issue notes, is that it might be time to re-evaulate what we consider “prosperity” in the North.◉ Dr. Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox is a Research Associate with the Institute of Circumpolar Health Research in Yellowknife and also holds appointments as an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Public Health and the Department of Political Science. She is a Research Associate with the Canadian Circumpolar Institute at the University of Alberta; and a Research Associate at the Stefansson Arctic Institute, Iceland. Hayden King is Anishinaabe and Assisant Professor of Political Science at Ryerson University.

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NORTHERN GOVERNANCE & ECONOMY CONFERENCE

Message from the Co-chairs
Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox, Willard Hagen & Stephen Kakfwi

Photo credit: Northern Economy and Governance Conference.

he Northern Governance and Economy Conference was held in part to bring together the diverse players essential to the health and future of our economy, here in the Northwest Territories. Academics, community activists, government officials, students, and Indigenous representatives were brought together to talk about the relationship between governance and social and economic wellness. Over three days the participants covered topics as diverse as the environmental and social impacts of fracking to the implications of devolution and regulatory reform for the future of the NWT economy. Discussions were punctuated with keynote

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speeches that touched on issues such as economic development, social determinants of health, education and Indigenous youth, and policy implications of resource-based economies. Seeing all of this through the eyes of Indigenous peoples living in the small, often fly-in communities of the Northwest Territories forced participants to think about these issues in different ways. Frances Wolki from Paulatuk, who started a Facebook page advocating for safe and affordable housing in her community, bring forward some of the challenges community people are now facing. The housing situation is getting desperate, food is often too expen-

Co-Chairs Willard Hagen, Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox, and Stephen Kakfwi in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, 2012.

sive to buy in communities where unemployment and poverty is rampant, and the impacts of resource extraction projects threaten to drive up living costs even more while also interrupting wildlife migrations and consequently the ability for people to go out on the land to feed their families. As Co-chair Willard Hagen mentioned in his opening remarks, wage earners provide the much needed resources to purchase hunting supplies. One working person can support four other families. Of course, considering

The conference has started a conversation. It has led to a heightened awareness that we hope shape policy choices for the long-term benefit of the people of the Northwest Territories.

this reveals a paradox. In some cases wages to support hunting may come from the very resource extraction projects that irrevocably change migration routes (often long after projects have been shut down and companies have moved on). During his talk, co-chair Stephen Kakfwi called for a return to policies of compassion, where communication and relationships are the foundation of decision making and where major decisions shaping governance and the economy are ones where all governments in the Northwest Territories, Indigenous and public, are working toward shared priorities in a cooperative and respectful way. In part, he said this requires standing up for the people and their interests. The reality is that this may not always align with business. However at the same time, it is important to recognize that in many cases industry is working on improving the relationship. Both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal businesses are engaging in innovative and respectful approaches to meeting the stated interests of communities regarding economic development and control over its direction. Equity stakes in projects, impact benefit agreements, and training programs are all efforts that conference participants had opportunities to discuss using recent examples in the NWT. Finally, co-chair Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox noted that innovation is key to a prosperous future in the North and must also be coupled with what she iden-

tified as the need to target the sources of the social suffering prevalent in communities across the Northwest Territories. She suggested that policies predicated on colonization — state control and decision making being privileged over the rights and authority of Indigenous peoples — will continue to produce suffering, no matter the efforts to combat social ills through other means. These sentiments were echoed by the President of the Canadian Medical Association, Yellowknife physician Anna Reid, who spoke about the critical link between social determinants of health and economic prosperity: they are indivisible. For conference participants, the discussion and various panel presentations over the three days in Yellowknife provided an overview of current research on critical issues affecting the North. Moreover, the insights and experiences of community members hopefully forced those in attendance to re-think both the approaches to policy-making in the North as well as the potential impacts of social and economic initiatives over the long term. The conference has started a conversation. It has led to a heightened awareness that we hope will shape policy choices for the long-term benefit of the people of the Northwest Territories.◉ Dr. Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox is a Research Associate with the Institute of Circumpolar Health Research in Yellowknife and also holds appointments as an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Public Health and the Department of Political Science; Research Associate with the Canadian Circumpolar Institute at the University of Alberta; and Research Associate at the Stefansson Arctic Institute, Iceland. Willard Hagen is of Gwich’in ancestry and was born in Tsiigehtchic and raised in the Travaillant River area. He completed his formal education in Wildlife Management in Inuvik. Mr. Hagen established Aklak Air in the late 1970s and has been a bush pilot and owner/operator for 30 years. Stephen Kakfwi served as the ninth Premier of the Northwest Territories (2000-2003), and as Dene Nation President (1983-1987).

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Northern Public Affairs, Special Issue 2013

OVERHEARD

Statement by NWT MLA Daryl Dolynny

Photo credit: Northern Public Affairs.

On October 19, 2012 Mr. Daryl Donlynny (Range Lake) spoke about the Northern Governance and Economy Conference during his Member’s Statement.

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hank you, Mr. Speaker. Last week in Yellowknife I had the pleasure of attending the Northern Governance and Economic Prosperity Conference that brought together Indigenous Northern government, business leaders, policymakers, social activists and economists under the theme Pathways to Prosperity. The premise of the conference was to reflect on Northern political institutions that could change to better adapt to various governance authorities while balancing the social and economic challenges. This was a tall task, but I must praise the work of the conference co-chairs, Mr. Willard Hagen, Dr. Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox and our former Premier Mr. Stephen Kakfwi for an outstanding job. Both our Premier and Minister Ramsay had keynote addresses to the conference delegates. One key line that resonated well by Premier McLeod was: “We want a territory where strong Northern gov-

ernments work together in the best interests of all people of the Northwest Territories, while exercising their own authorities and respecting each other’s jurisdiction.” I commend the Premier for his consistent and strong message on behalf of the 17th Assembly. I was also taken back by the size and the scope of the conference topics such as social suffering, managing and creating capacity, fracking, resource management and economic wellness. It was clear that the overarching theme of finding pathways to prosper was indeed befitting, given the economic setbacks faced by many in the Northwest Territories. One particular session I attended was called “Can territorial government foster economic wellness?” Particularly interesting was the premise that one could measure our economy by virtue of its wellness or social wellness. In essence, these governments that strive for strong social wellness behaviour had a much better capacity for achieving a stronger economic future; a simple message but a very meaningful outcome. Finding ways to balance amidst poverty, political development and economic opportunity is no small feat. Yet, I believe this conference captured quite nicely all the major roadblocks at work while keeping a lens on prosperity. Mr. Speaker, again, my congratulations for all the hard work behind the scenes in preparing for such a large-scale and successful conference. The delegates have all returned home and I know that many of them are using their newly minted tools for a better Northwest Territories. Thank you.◉

Northwest Territories Legislative Assembly, October 2012.

NORTHERN VOICES

Devolution & economic prosperity
Premier Bob McLeod hank you, I would like to welcome you to this conference on Northern governance and the economy on behalf of the Government of the Northwest Territories. I am pleased to see so many people here with an interest in the long term economic and social well-being of the people of the Northwest Territories. We live in 33 communities spread over several regions. We share the territory with seven regional Aboriginal governments. We all have our own mandates, priorities and interests unique to each of our groups. Sometimes our individual priorities align with each other and sometimes it is more difficult to find consensus on specific issues. No matter where we live or what group we represent, we all want to see a prosperous, self-sufficient territory that provides opportunities for all Northwest Territories residents in their communities and regions. We want a territory where people are healthy and educated and free from poverty and addictions. We want a territory where Northerners make the decisions about the things that affect us. We want a territory where our environment is protected and a strong economy provides the financial resources we need to fund programs and services, look after our land and care for our residents. And we want a territory where strong Northern governments work together in the best interests of all the people of the Northwest Territories, while exercising their own authorities and respecting each other’s jurisdiction. And we can have these things. The Northwest Territories has the potential to be a prosperous, self-sufficient territory that is a net contributor to the Canadian economy. The Conference Board of Canada recently reported that Canada’s Northern territories will lead the country in economic growth over the next two years. The Northwest Territories’ economy is forecast to grow by more than seven percent in 2012 and 2013 — well above the Canadian average of two percent. With development of the Mackenzie Gas Pipeline, the Conference Board predicts that our GDP will rise to $9.6 billion by 2020. We have a wealth of mineral potential. Spend10 Northern Public Affairs, Special Issue 2013

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ing on mineral exploration was up by 30 percent last year and is expected to grow again. There are seven projects currently in the works, including Avalon Rare Metals’ Thor Lake project, which is the largest rare earth deposit outside China. Together, these seven projects could attract more than $2 billion in new investment and add over 2000 new jobs in the Northwest Territories. We export $2 billion in diamonds annually and have seen increased production at Diavik and Snap Lake. With Gahcho Kue on the horizon and global demand for diamonds in China and India strong, we can expect this sector to remain an important part of the Northwest Territories economy. And of course, there is our oil and gas sector. Approximately 16.2 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 1.2 billion barrels of oil have already been discovered in our territory. This is only a small part of our estimated potential of 81 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and nearly 7 billion barrels of oil. In addition, there are substantial offshore reserves of oil, natural gas and natural gas liquids. Less than a year ago, the federal government issued 11 exploration licenses in the Sahtu representing $534.2 million in work bids for this world class play. And since 2008 industry committed to spend $2.1 billion to develop offshore leases in the Beaufort Sea. Our government also continues to support the development of the Mackenzie Gas Project, a project of national significance that could contribute $68 million to the Northwest Territories economy, $86 billion to the Canadian economy and create over 200,000 person years of employment. The proposed Mackenzie Valley Highway will realize the long-held goal of connecting Canada from sea to sea to sea. It would open up our communities and help promote the development of a diversified and sustainable economy along its route. We think this project will benefit the people of the Northwest Territories and have already committed money to begin work on the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk portion of the highway, in partnership with the Government of Canada. Yet while we are a territory of tremendous opportunity, it is our unique Northern irony that we also face tremendous challenges. In spite of this

Photo credit: Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories.

The Honourable Bob McLeod potential wealth, the people of the Northwest Territories still struggle with unemployment, poverty, housing and infrastructure challenges and high cost of living. These are challenges that we need to address if we want to realize our potential and set ourselves on the pathways to prosperity that this conference is examining. Economic development and social development go hand-in-hand. A prosperous territory is a territory that has the resources to fund the programs that will help our people realize their own aspirations and to live in dignity. Working to create a strong, diversified and sustainable economy that provides op-

portunities and benefits to all our residents in their communities and regions is a key goal for the Government of the Northwest Territories. Development of our natural resources has the potential to improve the lives of our residents and make the Northwest Territories a “have” jurisdiction, but it must be managed properly. We need to make sure that our people are the primary beneficiaries of development in the Northwest Territories and we need to make sure we are able to control and mitigate potentially negative impacts. Our experience shows us that this is possible. In recent years, the Government of the Northwest Territories has worked hard to ensure that resource development in our territory creates benefits for our people. We have negotiated socioeconomic agreements with the diamond mines that have helped ensure that our residents enjoy a share of the benefits of development. We have supported the negotiation of impact benefit agreements with local Aboriginal communities. Development of our resources can be one of the pathways to prosperity for our territory. And that means that development must be sustainable. It must be consistent with Northern priorities and values. And development must be managed by Northerners for Northerners. Getting management right means getting governance right. We need political and regulatory institutions that give the people of the Northwest Territories a real opportunity to make decisions about the things that affect them. We need to find ways to work together with Aboriginal governments to identify shared priorities and create a consensus on how we move forward in the best interests of our residents. And, most importantly, we need to secure Northern control over the public lands and resources that form the basis of our future wealth and prosperity. As we consider how to create a prosperous future for ourselves, I think it is important that we also look to our past. Understanding how our political institutions have evolved will inform our vision for the future governance of the Northwest Territories. For years, territorial affairs were governed by a Commissioner in Ottawa and an appointed Council of advisors who were federal government employees. It was not until 1975 that all members of the council were elected by Northwest Territories residents. The Council was officially renamed the Legislative Assembly at this time. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner began to transfer
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more of their responsibilities to elected Members of the Executive Council, until — in 1986 — the Commissioner turned the Chair over to the then-Government Leader. While our government became truly responsible to an elected Assembly in 1986, the powers of that Assembly were still limited to specific areas. Control over education, health care, forestry and highways have been devolved to the Government of the Northwest Territories over the years since 1986. The last major authority to be devolved is by far the most important to us — and has proven to be the most difficult to attain. Unlike the provinces and Yukon, the people of the Northwest Territories do not control their own public lands and resources, including rights in respect of water. Decisions on whether and how to develop public lands and resources in the Northwest Territories are still made by the Government of Canada. Resource royalties from that development flow straight to Ottawa, rather than directly benefiting the people of the Northwest Territories. While the Government of the Northwest Territories has assumed responsibility for all other areas of province-like jurisdiction, responsibility for lands and resources, including water, remains beyond our grasp. We believe the transfer of this responsibility from Canada to our government is overdue. Unless we have devolution, decisions about how Northern lands and resources are developed will continue to be made in Ottawa. We may have a voice in the decision-making process, but being one of many voices is not the same thing as being the ones who make the decision. Without devolution, we can never be sure that decisions to develop Northern land and resources will be consistent with Northern priorities. We will not be able to ensure that we, the people who live here, are the ones who benefit the most from those decisions. Devolution of lands and resources, including rights in respect of water, to a more local, responsible and accountable territorial government will result in decisions that better reflect the priorities and goals of the people of the North. Devolution will be the key to ensuring that development in the Northwest Territories is controlled by Northerners and is in the best interests of all our residents. For more than ten years now, the Government of the Northwest Territories has been working with the regional Aboriginal governments to negotiate a devolution agreement with Canada. Four out of seven Aboriginal governments in the Northwest Territories have joined our govern-

ment and the Government of Canada in signing the Devolution Agreement-in-Principle first signed in January 2011. We are having active discussions with the remaining three Aboriginal Governments. Negotiations are now nearing their end and we look forward to concluding a final agreement on devolution shortly. The transfer of responsibility for public lands and resources from Canada to the Government of the Northwest Territories will be a significant development in the history of Northern governance. In some ways, devolution will mark the beginning of a new phase in the continuing story of political evolution that has characterized the history of our territory. After devolution, the Government of the Northwest Territories will be one of several governments in our territory with an interest in how Northern lands and resources are managed, protected and developed. Regional Aboriginal governments will have their own interests and priorities, as well as jurisdiction over their own lands. As part of our devolution negotiations, we have committed to formalizing an intergovernmental relationship that will allow the Government of the Northwest Territories and Aboriginal Governments to work together on land and water management. This will let us work co-operatively together in a way that respects our individual jurisdiction, but also recognizes that we have many common interests as Northern governments, while making sure we serve the best interests of all our residents. While we understand and respect that some Aboriginal governments do not feel that they can sign the AIP and participate in the devolution process now, this does not mean we cannot work together in other areas. Co-operation has long been a tradition in the North. In a harsh environment with few people, you need to be able to pull together and rely on your neighbours for survival. Working together has always been the way Northerners have done things and it continues to be the way that the Government of the Northwest Territories does business. We lead the country in ongoing and formal engagement with regional Aboriginal governments. We are the only jurisdiction in Canada to have government-to-government relations with our Aboriginal governments and it is reflected in all our activities and operations. These activities all reflect our ongoing commitment to collaborative decision making and engagement with our Aboriginal governments. This commitment was underscored this past June with

the release of our Aboriginal Engagement Strategy, Respect, Recognition, Responsibility, which sets out eight principles of engagement that our government is committed to:
• We recognize and affirm the Aboriginal and Treaty rights of Canada’s Aboriginal peoples in the first principle. • We recognize the inherent right of self-government as an existing Aboriginal right under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. • We commit to building mutually respectful government-to-government relationships. • We recognize all existing Aboriginal Right Agreements and commit to using them as the basis for engagement with Aboriginal governments. • We respect the diverse governance structures of Northwest Territories Aboriginal governments and we will be open in engaging with the different governments and communities that exist within each region. • We commit to building responsible and accountable government-to-government relationships that are responsive and flexible.

There are also principles with respect to sharing information and knowledge, helping to build capacity, enhancing our government’s participation at annual general assemblies and other important events, and establishing regular formal meetings with each Aboriginal government in the Northwest Territories. In our eighth and final principle, we continue our commitment to working with Aboriginal governments to ensure responsible stewardship over Northwest Territories lands, water and air. We are determined to create conditions for success that work to the benefit of all Northwest Territories residents. We are actively negotiating and settling land claims, and creating certainty of rights and process for Aboriginal people. I am not going to stand here today and say that we have all the answers. The evolution of governance in the Northwest Territories is very much a work in progress. We will continue to look for new and innovative approaches that will help us build a strong and prosperous future for our residents based on strong working relationships with Aboriginal governments, community governments, non-governmental organizations, business, and industry. I hope your discussions are productive and I look forward to hearing more about them at the conclusion of your conference.◉
Premier Bob McLeod is the twelth Premier of the Northwest Territories. He has served as MLA for Yellowknife South since 2007.

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Photo credit: Morris Neyelle.

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Spring.

Photo credit: Morris Neyelle.

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Northern lights, 2012.

NORTHERN VOICES

Building our future together
Minister Dave Ramsay

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ood afternoon to all of you here today and thank you for the invitation to speak on this last day of the conference. We have a world of opportunity within our grasp — now, more than ever, is the time to pave the way to that opportunity, or the “Pathway to Prosperity” as this event is so aptly themed. This week, we have had an opportunity to hear from many people — respected Aboriginal leaders, community role models and people from various levels of government. We have also had the opportunity to learn from an academic perspective, and the case studies they have shared with this group are a valuable way for us to learn from each other and important to consider when working together to move our economy forward. How appropriate it is to have a conference about governance and the economy in the North. Here — more than anywhere else — they must be considered together. Especially so in light of our overwhelming resource potential and ongoing land claim and self-government processes. Here, where the authority to make decisions about the way public lands and resource revenues are managed is still beyond our grasp. When considering governance and the economy, a host of questions comes to mind:
• What resources do we develop, and how do we ensure they are developed sustainably? • How do we continue to have a healthy economy after diamonds? • What dollar value do we give our traditional lands and harvesting, and how does it compare to the pay cheque that comes with a wage economy? • How do we consider everyone’s input to reach a consensus that will be mutually beneficial? And is there a middle ground that can be found? • How do we find the best ways to work together to devolve decision making from the federal government? • What long-term objectives do we have for our economy, our people and our future?

These are tough questions that will require tough decisions — decisions that we need to make in order to fully realize our true economic potential. Sound governance will be the key. But government and the GNWT is only one element of this
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evolution. We need only to look around this room to see all of the different players that must contribute to the sound governance of our Territory. By definition, good governance is participatory, consensus oriented, accountable, transparent, responsive, effective and efficient, equitable and inclusive, and follows the rule of law. That is why it’s so important that all of you are here today — representing such a broad range of interests and providing feedback and input on where we are going and how we can get there. We have heard that the first lesson in sound governance is to know your objective — what do we want to achieve and how can we achieve it? As the GNWT Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment, I can tell you that the same is true of the economy. So what is the vision or the goal that guides our investment, our capacity building and our agenda for economic development? Knowing that will guide and focus our decision making — and in turn — provide a context in which to evaluate these decisions. The overarching vision of the 17th Legislative Assembly is to have strong individuals, families and communities sharing the benefits and responsibilities of a unified, environmentally sustainable and prosperous territory. In terms of the economy, we have set the goal: to establish a diversified economy that provides all communities and regions with opportunities and choices. We have set about to do this — in part — by working with our partners to ensure responsible stewardship through our land and resource management regime, by making sound strategic infrastructure investments and by supporting the growth of businesses and industries that will work to diversify our economy. That is why we are leading the development of an Economic Development Strategy. A sustainable economic development strategy will give us the opportunity to keep pace with the incredible growth potential that our territory has, to ensure we are positioned to guide and manage this investment and growth, and to use it to build capacity in our com-

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, netus vivamus, felis sem vestibulum, in lobortis ligula vel amet. A feugiat ullamco ut aliquam eros malesuada, aliquam sodales ligula, dui blandit consectetuer ut eu velit, laboris mauris officia enim etiam. Vel rhoncus pharetra, placerat rutrum pretium urna mi elementum amet, consequat elit penatibus vestibulum nibh suspendisse suspendisse, platea facilisis pellentesque hymenaeos nec feugiat. Nisl quis sed hac quis tristique et, dolore dolor mattis lobortis. Sed sociosqu praesent est ridiculus. Pede nunc eleifend hendrerit, sed nulla etiam magna, quam imperdiet quis et, habitasse accumsan ultricies magna, amet non curae leo pede. At non tempus ante hymenaeos pede, ac egestas dolor maecenas, ante vitae augue in. Rutrum suspendisse neque lectus morbi non malesuada. Ut habitant, accumsan vitae voluptatem orci commodo nec feugiat. At nam volutpat, mi bibendum quis, magna phasellus pulvinar vivamus lobortis dolor, odio in dolor urna, mauris quis et sapien sit. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, netus vivamus, felis sem vestibulum, in lobortis ligula vel amet. A feugiat ullamco ut aliquam eros malesuada, aliquam sodales ligula, dui blandit consectetuer ut eu velit, laboris mauris officia enim etiam. Vel rhoncus pharetra, placerat rutrum pretium urna mi elementum amet, consequat elit penatibus vestibulum nibh suspendisse suspendisse, platea facilisis pellentesque hymenaeos nec feugiat. Nisl quis sed hac quis tristique et, dolore dolor mattis lobortis. Sed sociosqu praesent est ridiculus. Pede nunc eleifend hendrerit, sed nulla etiam magna, quam imperdiet quis et, habitasse accumsan ultricies magna, amet non curae leo pede. At non tempus ante hymenaeos pede, ac egestas dolor maecenas, ante vitae augue in. Rutrum suspendisse neque lectus morbi non malesuada. Ut habitant, accumsan vitae voluptatem orci commodo nec feugiat. At nam volutpat, mi bibendum quis, magna phasellus pulvinar vivamus lobortis dolor, odio in dolor urna, mauris quis et sapien sit.

Photo credit: Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories.

The Honourable Dave Ramsay.

munities and self-sufficiency among our people. This strategy is an investment in our economy as much as it is an investment in diversification. Yes, we have a wealth of resource potential, but we also need to expand our tourism sector, explore additional opportunities for small businesses and consider how traditional activities such as hunting and trapping contribute to our economy. Care will be taken to ensure the strategy is responsive to changing economic circumstances in the territory, creates an increased awareness of business opportunities in all regions of the NWT, and recognizes the need to maintain sustainable development best practices. It will also take into account that some communities in the NWT live and prefer a traditional lifestyle. For these communities, the focus of the strategy will be on self-sufficiency, such as finding ways to reduce imports — mainly fuel, increase local food production and to maintain and improve local housing and other community services. Also, we recognize that while we have a wealth of resources, our economy is often dependent on market forces beyond our control and vulnerable to boom and bust cycles. With this in mind, we are also working to expand the nature and scope of our resource development with a Mineral Development Strategy. Mineral exploration and development has driven our economy and presented us with unprecedented opportunities for investment, employment and business development. This has been especially true for our Northern Aboriginal communities. In fact, the mineral development sector employs hundreds of NWT residents and results in more than half a billion dollars in annual purchases from NWT businesses. A mineral development strategy will guide decision-making for mineral development in the future. It will provide a framework to ensure our mineral resources continue to be developed in a way that benefits NWT residents, ensures development is sustainable, and upholds our commitment to protect the environment. We must find the right balance between our need for development and our protection of the environment in which we live. Our approach so far has been to maximize the benefits of our resource development by building business capacity in our communities, corporations and businesses, and investing in the education and skill development of our youth who will eventually guide its growth. We have had success in these areas, but we need a long-term plan.
18 Northern Public Affairs, Special Issue 2013

A long term plan for mineral development will demonstrate certainty and stability during this time of devolution negotiations and transition and serve to increase industry confidence and exploration expenditures in our region. We only need to look at the activity going on in the Sahtu region to get an idea of what happens when development occurs. Employment is at an all-time high and businesses are seeing their highest profits in years as a result of industry exploration and local spending. This initiative complements our work on a comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. And, like the work we are completing on that project, the development of this strategy will be a collaborative effort. For both strategies, we will work closely with our partners and incorporate input from Aboriginal governments, communities, industry, small businesses, the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, the NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines, the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, the Northern Aboriginal Business Association, the NWT Chamber of Commerce, the NWT Association of Communities, and NWT residents to ensure their long-term success. This extensive engagement process will ensure that all voices are heard and that these strategies can work as a guide for all regions across the territory. Many of you here today will be actively involved in the development of these strategies to ensure they are balanced and responsive to the needs of the people we serve. We also know that infrastructure is essential for economic development — infrastructure to support economic growth, infrastructure to prepare for natural resource development, and infrastructure to connect our communities and increase access to essential goods and services. The Government of the Northwest Territories is committed to improving the lives of NWT residents through strategic infrastructure investments. I would like to provide you with some details on a few strategic infrastructure projects underway aimed at achieving this territory’s full potential. As I said at the opening of the new Colville Lake airport earlier this week, economic opportunities accompany infrastructure development. Investing in infrastructure stimulates job creation and makes our economy more competitive in the long term. As we speak here today, the finishing touches are being put on the Deh Cho Bridge. This will be the largest piece of transportation infrastructure in the NWT. The historic opening will herald a new era of all-season access connecting the economic potential

on both sides of the river. build the economic capacity of our Territory and Another key piece of infrastructure is the pro- its people. If we acknowledge that improving the posed Mackenzie highway. Premier McLeod men- quality of decision making is essential for economtioned this during his address at the beginning of ic development, then developing governance of this this conference, but its importance cannot be over- scope and significance will be a true test of our colstated. Once constructed, the Mackenzie Valley lective abilities to continue to provide the leadership Highway will run all the way from Alberta to Tuk- our territory needs. toyaktuk, and will be the first all-weather road to the None of us can do it alone. Instead we need to Arctic Ocean. The Mackenzie Valley The North needs development. Our social reality dictates that we all-weather highway project will need to provide an economy on which to establish a vibrant and susenable our territory to grow stronger tainable North. And, obviously, this development must be governed by and become more the people of the NWT. As much as we recognize zero development self-sustaining. is not an option, zero Northern control is not an option either. The highway will strengthen connections between our communities, significantly reduce the cost of apply this common economic objective and uncover doing business in the Mackenzie Valley, and increase our respective roles in governance. This includes the the opportunities for resource development in our federal government, Aboriginal governments, the Territory. It will facilitate other strategic infrastruc- Government of the Northwest Territories, industry ture projects, such as the Mackenzie Gas Pipeline and nongovernmental organizations. and the installation of a fibre optic cable, which The North needs development. Our social realwill share a common corridor with the highway’s ity dictates that we need to provide an economy on proposed alignment. Residents along the highway which to establish a vibrant and sustainable North. route will experience better access to essential ser- And, obviously, this development must be governed vices, increased mobility, a lower cost of living and by the people of the NWT. As much as we recognize increased economic development opportunities. zero development is not an option, zero Northern In a similar vein, Investments in the Inuvik-Tuk- control is not an option either. toyaktuk highway will help to support sustainable dePremier Bob McLeod’s words on devolution velopment in the region, including oil and gas, and really ring true. Only when issues affecting Northmining projects. The Inuvik-Tuk highway points to west Territories residents are decided and dealt with a future in which our residents can expect to reap in the territory, can the people of the NWT have a the benefits of increased development in currently greater say in the decisions required to move develremote regions, supported by reliable, year-round opment forward. As I noted at the Sahtu exploration road access. readiness session a few weeks ago — and using the No wonder it is characterized by the federal gov- words of my colleague, Mr. Norman Yakeleya — ernment as a “project of national significance” and the best way to guide our future is to be at the table. important to the country’s position on security, sovI hope this conference has given us an underereignty, and economic development. standing, an opportunity, and the motivation to furIn addition to these infrastructure investments, ther develop a governance structure where we all we are also investing in energy improvements that have respective yet complementary roles to play. will provide lower-cost and environmentally friendly Working together, I’m confident that we will unpower to our residents and our businesses - lowering lock the immense potential of our territory and clear the cost of living for our residents and making in- the path to prosperity. vestment in the Northwest Territories more feasible Thank you.◉ and more attractive. This is the thinking behind what we as a gov- Minister Dave Ramsay is Northwest Territories Minister of ernment are doing to strengthen and diversify our Industry, Tourism and Investment and Minister of Transportation. economy — and to promote sustainable economic He has served as MLA for Kam Lake since 2003. growth in our communities and across the territory. We all have respective responsibilities to help
Northern Public Affairs, Special Issue 2013 19

NORTHERN VOICES

Beyond health care: Healthy communities begin with listening
Dr. Anna Reid

Photo credit: Canadian Medical Association.

I

n August, the Canadian Medical Association held our annual General Council meeting in Yellowknife. It was quite historic for us as it was the first time in the 145-year history of the CMA that we held our annual meeting in the Northwest Territories. Close to 800 delegates, guests and members of the media made the trek up here. It was an astounding success, in large part thanks to the fantastic hospitality of the community and entire territory. Mounting an event like this was not without its challenges, but I think it was really useful for physicians from down south to actually understand the kinds of challenges Northerners face on a daily basis. The challenges posed by distance, harsh climate, lack of educational opportunities, income disparity — these are barriers not just to one-time business conferences like our General Council, but to longterm prosperity and also to health. Yet there can be no pathway to prosperity without a healthy population. For several years, the CMA has been on a drive to transform our health care system. Recently we have expanded this focus on transforming the system to also encompass the social determinants of health. Today I would like to talk about some of the barriers to good health, the social determinants of health, and what we can do to address them. While recognition of the social determinants of health is nothing new, there appears to be a growing appreciation of the impact on health outcomes of

broader societal factors, such as housing, food security, employment, education, income, clean air and water. In fact, most of these determinants have a far greater impact on health outcome than the health care system itself, which ranks way down the list. Following a passionate discussion at General Council on the role that physicians can play in helping address all of these factors which make people sick in the first place, the CMA is planning action in a number of areas. These include incorporating formal teaching in medical schools on health equity; providing leadership training for students and young physicians and teaching them how to become advocates for their patients; and developing tool kits for practising physicians on how they can advocate for patients in their practice and how they can start to advocate at the community level. We are also urging the federal government to view all of its cabinet policy decisions through the lens of their impact on health — what we would call a Health Impact Assessment framework. This is an approach that is already being used in several other countries. Sadly, Yellowknife is as good a place as anywhere in Canada to see the impact of health inequities on our health outcomes. Every day in the emergency department I see patients in desperate circumstances, lacking housing, affordable nutritious foods, and

Dr. Anna Reid, Canadian Medical Association President, 2012.

both adequate income and education. Many of these issues are a legacy of colonialism and the residential school system. Many of them are also tied to mental health and addiction issues, but that is only part of the story. Last year, a group of physicians met with Tom Beaulieu, the NWT Minister of Health and Social Services, to discuss health issues in the North. What Minister Beaulieu spoke almost exclusively about was jobs and housing and what immense challenges they are in Northern communities. There is no point talking about a health care delivery system if we do not address these other issues. Just consider a few facts about the housing situation here in the NWT. The NWT has the highest percentage of households in Canada with houses in need of major repairs — double the national average. A worker at minimum wage in the Northwest Territories makes about $1,200 per month after taxes, while a one bedroom apartment in this city costs $1,300 per month. More than five percent of women in the Northwest Territories are homeless, and in smaller NWT communities up to half of households have an income of less than $30,000 a year. What does all of this have to do with health? In a word, it has everything to do with health and certainly physicians see the correlation each day. The evidence goes well beyond the anecdotal. In a poll conducted for the CMA this summer, only four in 10 Canadians earning less than $30,000 per year described their health as very good or excellent compared to seven in 10 of those earning $60,000 or more. This was a 30-point gap; whereas only three years ago the gap between the two income groups was 17 percentage points. Further, nearly half of respondents with household incomes of $30,000 or less reported spending less time, energy and money sustaining their health as the economy slowed compared with 20 percent of those from households with incomes of $60,000 or more. As we all know, Aboriginal health outcomes are by a long shot the worst in the country. There are huge costs attached to these disparities, most of all human suffering and wasted potential, but there are also costs to our social safety net and our health care system. A report last year from the National Council of Welfare citing research from the Public Health Agency of Canada, said that about 20 percent of health care spending in Canada can be attributed to socio-economic disparities. It noted that a homeless person in Calgary, for example, can run up $42,000 in annual costs at emergency shelters. Should that

person end up in a psychiatric hospital or prison, the cost goes up to about $120,000. In contrast, if we gave that homeless person access to supportive housing and social services it would cost between $13, 000 - $18,000 a year — what a savings and what a change in that person’s quality of life. We know that one of the great equalizers in life is early childhood education and development and from this I mean from birth to age five, before we hit the school system. Unfortunately, Canada lags far behind in this important area of investing in human capital, which is so vital to developing a capable and productive workforce. You might be wondering why, as the president of an association representing 77,000 doctors, I am talking about poverty, housing, education and early childhood development. I say, how could I not? If we care about our patients, how could physicians not be concerned about the factors that are causing people to be ill in the first place? How, as leaders in our communities and members of a privileged profession, could we not speak out for a better and healthier society? Turning a blind eye is not why I became a doctor. The medical profession has been accused of being patronizing towards patients, often rightly so. I am hopful things will start to change. More and more of us regard our relationship to patients as more of a partnership. However, we still have a long way to go. We need to learn how to listen to our patients even if they articulate in ways that we do not clearly understand. To paraphrase Sir William Osler, who was one of the greatest physicians in the history of medicine, “Listen to the patient and he will give you the diagnosis.” From Osler’s teachings, I understand that beyond the details of physical complaints, we need to listen to the patient’s whole story. When a patient arrives at our door we need to find out whether that person is poor, is educated, has a home with healthy food to eat. We need to concentrate on wellness and preventative health and not just disease. As a team-based effort, this conference bringing together Aboriginal leaders, business people, public servants, and health and education experts, reflects the fact that problems are best solved in a collaborative manner and this holds just as true in health and health care as it does in economic matters. Health care transformation will only come about with the active participation of all levels of society — it is not just a government issue. Each and every one of us has a role to play.◉
Dr. Anna Reid is Canadian Medial Association President. She is the first CMA President from the Northwest Territories.
Northern Public Affairs, Special Issue 2013 21

NORTHERN VOICES

Economic development: Striking the right balance
Stephen Kakfwi

T

oday I will talk about my own view and approach to being a citizen in the North. Perhaps I can give some suggestions as to the tools and type of culture I think we need to deal effectively with our economy, whether it is an economy driven by oil and gas or mining. Also to turn our minds to the impacts that our relationship with Ottawa and lack of relationship with industries will have on our people. First of all, I think I have to say it is my wish that we do not become another little Alberta. There, it is extremely difficult to see where the interests of oil and gas companies, and the interests of the government, begin and end. The interests of our people here in the North and the interests of the oil, gas and mining companies are not the same. We have to stop pretending that they are. You could end up looking at a situation where in 30 years places like Fort Good Hope, where I am from, will still have high unemployment, be heavily socially impacted and all the oil and gas will have been siphoned out. One constant in a resource based economy is that the oil and gas people will come and try to take the oil and gas to make as much profit as possible— that is what they do and they do it quite well. We as citizens have a different role. Our job as citizens is to tell our governments, our representatives, and our leaders that if they allow resource industry companies to take the oil, gas and other resources: at the very least, make sure that the people get something out of it. There is always a fear that we will receive nothing. I remember being a chief negotiator for Fort Good Hope for a brief year dealing with the impact of the proposed Mackenzie Valley Pipeline. I was pushing for some resources to go to the Aboriginal governments along the pipeline right of way. I maintained that if we are Aboriginal governments then surely it is not stretching it to say that if lowly municipalities have the right to levy a property tax, then surely, Aboriginal governments have that power. I argued for recognition that such power is concurrent with that of the government of the Northwest Territories, that Aboriginal governments should levy a property tax if we want to. Well, the knives came out and hysteria started along the lines of “Steve is

going to single-handedly kill The Mackenzie Valley Pipeline!”. They thought I was asking too much. The pressure became unbearable and Fort Good Hope asked that I stay home. That was the end of my contribution. I do not have any regrets about it, I am glad that I stood up and pointed out that we are not getting anything out of the Mackenzie Gas Project and we should get more. My view was that if we are not going to benefit, then, perhaps, it should not happen. Look at the diamond mines for example. I had to deal with those as a government Minister back in the 1990s. My approach then was the same as my approach now: I always ask what the solution is, what do we have, what are our strengths. One strength we have in the NWT as governments is the relationships we have amongst one another. Those relationships were very strong starting in the 1970s and into the 1980s and 1990s; however, I am not sure that it is continuing to evolve. Despite that, I view our relationships as the strongest tool I think we need to cultivate as a Northern people, to maintain a distinct evolving culture for us as Northern people. Being different from everywhere else in Canada we have that capacity to draw on the diversity, differences and huge spaces between our people, whether you are Inuvialuit, Inuit, Gwich’in, Metis, someone from Fort Good Hope, Trout Lake or Lutselk’e. Drawing on all of those creates strength. One of the things that mark our history are the times when our people overcame the differences we had. We overcame our differences as Dene and Metis people with the Inuit and it was our leaders who led the Canadian First Nations to change the Constitution of Canada. It is because of people like John Amagoalik and Georges Erasmus and many other leaders were able to understand how to bridge differences and network. When it came to dealing with the diamond mines, the Premier at the time, Don Morin, and many of our leaders said if we are not going to get anything out of it, let us leave it in the ground. The diamond companies said if we asked for too much they may not open the mine. Strong and tough leaders stood up despite that threat —maybe there was a few people who said that the diamond mines are good for us and just go with it without asking for

22 Northern Public Affairs, Special Issue 2013

Photo credit: Morris Neyelle.

too much, but I do not remember those people at all. I tend to forget them. They get run over and forgotten. It is the people who stood up that I remember. Because our leaders were strong and united, worked with the Tlicho, Deh Cho, Metis, MLA’s, Ministers, the Premier—everyone was on-side and we got the diamond mines to agree to something that we should use as a benchmark. That included a certain amount of the contracts for activities such as construction, operation and maintenance of the diamond mine, catering — a share of these should go to Northern and Aboriginal businesses. We insisted that a percentage of people hired to work at the diamond mine should be Northern and Aboriginal people. There was a lot of hysteria, screaming and yelling, but at the end they agreed to do it because we stood together and stood our ground. You are going to have fracking going on in the North and oil and gas offshore. We need leaders who have the ability to say what is good for the Gwich’in and Inuvialuit must also be good for the Sahtu, Tlicho, Deh Cho and Metis. We need leaders who want to ensure everyone is taken care of—the unemployed, the homeless, single families. We have a culture, maybe it is not as strong as it used to be, but we had a culture where we embraced everyone and

took care of them. With the recent discussions with devolution, I was asked by the government of NWT to help them but I said I would not tell them that it is a good deal because I am not sure that it really is. What I did tell them is that the Gwich’in, Sahtu, Deh Cho and [Tlicho] should all do it together. They should work on it together and move toward it together, not be divided. Unfortunately, it did not work out that way. The Sahtu signed the devolution agreement in principle, and it is a matter of time before other organizations start to move toward that as well. That for me is unfortunate because if we do not maintain that value and cultural norm where we do not move until we have taken care of everybody and accounted for everyone’s interests, then we will do it to the homeless, the poor, the weak and the disabled. Maybe we will be flexible, but I do not know. My view, and I have always said to my children, is that I hope if you get into the world of politics and leadership you take a gentler and more compassionate route than I did. Politics in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s was brutal at times, but in reflection I think I grew up at a time when we were raised and cultivated by the old leaders to know what was happening in Aklavik, Trout Lake, Fort Smith, Fort Providence and Wekwee-

Liard River, date unknown.

ti. We had to think about how things would affect people throughout the Northwest Territories, not just in Yellowknife or our home community. Being a leader is not about saying that you represent Fort Good Hope and that is all you care about. We need to cultivate a corporate, governmental and Aboriginal leadership that works on taking care of everyone. Before you make decisions you check with your neighbours and the other regions. You do not have to agree; however, you should take it into account. I

If there is no development or jobs there will be poverty and lack of hope. Fracking is going to bring hundreds of millions of dollars of development into Sahtu, but I am not sure that it is sustainable environmentally. We need to know that and make that choice.
think that is going to be key because we are going to be facing the oil, gas and mining companies and we are facing the Federal government every day. They have proposed the devolution deal and for those of you who have read it, you also know they outlined their terms and conditions. For instance, they have agreed for us to manage the oil and gas, but there has to be a consolidation of power and decision making into one resource management board. Do we have to take it—what is the choice? If we do not take it, they will manage things anyway. If you go to the oil and gas companies you need strong leaders and leaders who know how to negotiate these deals and say if there is oil and gas activity in the Delta, offshore and in Sahtu we want a certain amount of money to go to Northern and Aboriginal contractors in those areas, just as we did with the diamond mines. Otherwise, as I said, 20 years from now Colville Lake will still be Colville Lake; Good Hope will still be Good Hope: nothing will have changed except the source of wealth and prosperity will be gone and the people will have nothing to show for it. We need to set targets, goals and expectations by deciding what we want and making that a priority. I think it is realistic and reasonable, but I do not think it has ever been done with oil and gas companies. As far as I am concerned I look south and think it is the oil and gas companies that run Alberta. You never once hear the Alberta government saying we represent Albertans and Albertans’ interests are differ24 Northern Public Affairs, Special Issue 2013

ent from the oil and gas industry, from the tar sands and the fracking companies—never. It is almost like there is a blend: what is good for Imperial Oil and all of these oil companies is good for Alberta, and the government toes that line. That is my view of it and I think there will always be a social impact. If there is no development or jobs there will be poverty and lack of hope. Fracking is going to bring hundreds of millions of dollars of development into Sahtu, but I am not sure that it is sustainable environmentally. We need to know that and make that choice. Everything we do depends on the sort of leaders we have. I do not know many of the leaders that represent us today and I do not know how well they work together. I know that the last four years I was a Premier, I met an MLA who was elected to the legislature and was going to vote on laws and money for every community in the Northwest Territories—33 communities. That MLA had never been outside Yellowknife, not even to Detah or Ndilo. Now, how do you like that? I was so astounded that I laughed and, sorry to say, ridiculed that MLA. That is what happens to us, we do not know who we elect nor give them the tools to govern wisely. We need to teach our young people and leaders, tell them that they should travel and get to know people in the communities because that is what makes the difference. That is my contribution to the discussion we are having this week. I think it is our strong culture of cooperation that will bring us together and that has brought us safely through some tough decisions in the past. We have succeeded when we have done things together, when we have been methodical and compassionate, whether it was the Canadian Constitution, the negotiations with diamond mines and even division of the Northwest Territories. We have done it because we have been clear, had strong leaders that stood up for our interests and knew how to be compassionate enough to take care of everybody.◉ Stephen Kakfwi served as the ninth Premier of the Northwest Territories (2000-2003), MLA for Sahtu (19872003), and as Dene Nation President (1983-1987).

ARTICLES

GOVERNANCE

Co-Managing the future? Indigenous peoples and land use planning in the North
Hayden King

Photo credit: Morris Neyelle.

cross the North, the concepts of land use planning and co-management are common features of discourse on land claims, resource development and economic activity generally. While for many years these collaborative institutional arrangements have been the purview of government bureaucrats, industry and land claim negotiators, they have increasingly emerged as salient features of Northern political and economic affairs. Indeed, with recent moves towards devolution in the Northwest Territories, community members from Yellowknife to Inuvik are learning that the future of the land is increasingly being determined by decisions made within surface rights, water or regional land use boards. Such committees, populated by technocrats such as lawyers and land use planners are necessary features of decision-making over lands and resources. However, planning as it has and continues to be practiced, can actually restrict the involvement of lo-

A

cal commuities and particularly Indigenous peoples within decision making processes. Indeed, bureacratic absorbtion and exclusion of culturally-rooted perspectives on relationships with the land challenge genuine participation. Moreover, in documented examples of land use planning in the North, from the first Northern planning commission in Nunavut to co-management boards in Yukon and the most recent legislation for Northern Ontario, there is much failure to incorporate local and Indigenous knowledge. Each provides a lesson for future planning boards, in the NWT and elsewhere. ◉◉◉ The Emergence of Indigenous Land Use Planners A practice very much originating in southern Canadian cities and provinces, land use planning

Caribou, 2012.

has been slowly adopted in the North. It remains an ambiguous concept here — it does not resemble the zoning bylaws of municipalities or the regulatory features of provinces that traditionally accompany planning. Instead, it is often complicated by an abundance of federal and territorial legislation—as well as various classifications of land, gradual devolution, increasingly influential conservation and industry lobbies, and perhaps above all, land claims settlements. Amid this complexity, a plethora of institutional arrangements have been established: working groups, negotiating tables, wildlife boards, impact-benefit or participation agreements, and so on. In some cases there are regional land use plans (at various stages of completion) attempting to guide and inform many of these processes. Most of these organizational efforts are spearheaded by federal, territorial, and provincial governments hoping initiate a system for designating land use and allotting resources. According to AANDC, planning aims to accommodate conservation, development, subsistence hunting, and a general notion of sustainability.1 Indigenous peoples became a part of this emerging practice with the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement (JBNQA) in the early to mid 1970s. With the realization that the Cree and Innu had a significant interest and legal right to lands and resources they had traditionally occupied, the Crown had no choice but to include them in the “management” of those lands and resources. The idea was further elaborated with interpretation of Section 35 through decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada, such as Guerin (1984) and Delgamuukw (1997), followed by the Haida (2004), Taku (2004), and Mikesew (2005). More recent cases continue to elaborate on the degree of power Indigenous peoples exercise in land use and resource management decision-making processes. This has continued to compel the Crown to include Indigenous peoples in these processes. In fact, nearly every comprehensive land claim agreement since 1975, includes a mechanism for collaboration on land use planning or co-management. The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) labelled this phenomenon “claims-based co-management.” The RCAP defined these regimes as “collaborative institutional arrangements whereby governments and Aboriginal parties enter into formal agreements specifying their respective rights, powers and obligations with reference to the management and allocation of resources within a particular area.”2 The standard formula unfolds as follows: Indig-

enous peoples surrender most of their territories for financial settlements, usually distributed over a number of years; fee simple title to a fraction of their traditional territories; and some degree of management authority over both Indigenous-“owned” lands and formerly occupied, now Crown, lands. And yet even after surrendering, in many cases 90 percent of the surface and 99 percent of the subsurface rights for this management authority, a meaningful role for Indigenous peoples in managing lands and resources does not always materialize. ◉◉◉ Bureaucratic and Philisophical Barriers In Nunavut, a jurisdiction that has attempted comprehensive land use planning (LUP) through a Planning Commission, there are five planning boards. In Yukon, there are eight, in the NWT another seven. And whether these are Surface Rights Boards, Development Assessment Boards, or Heritage Resources Boards, participating Indigenous peoples have to organize and express themselves in ways compatible with the institutional structure of these bodies - the language, concepts, rules, and procedures required by Canada and territorial governments. There are special training sessions and educational initiatives - all of this “catching-up” a tremendous undertaking - indeed, a common refrain is how Indigenous peoples lack the necessary capacity to engage. So common is this problem that outside consultants are often brought in to serve as community representatives. These phenomena demonstrate the lack of power Indigenous peoples exercise in the process from the very outset - they enter into land use planning at a disadvantage while industry, governments, and conservation organizations already speak the same language (the political, social, legal and economic discourse that requires fluency in budgeting, work plans, tenure arrangements, contracts, intergovernmental relations, and so on). This leaves the burden of change and understanding on Indigenous peoples. Interestingly, in contrast, there is very little time and effort on the part of Canadian appointed officials to learn Inuk or Tlingit ways (though a Northern colleague informs me that the opposite is often true in the NWT— that sometimes territorial bureaucrats here have been “Dene-tized”). Beyond nominal absorbtion, the regimes have been structured to create a very visible power imbalance. While Indigenous representatives comprise 50 percent of most boards, and may even serve as
Northern Public Affairs, Special Issue 2013 27

Chairs, each of the five planning boards in Nunavut only have the power to make recommendations to the Minister of AANDC for approval or rejection. In Yukon, while comprehensive land use plans are not yet in place, the situation is similar with planning boards answering to the territorial government. And in Northern Ontario, community land use plans are actually subject to Ministerial discretion. Now, not only do the bureaucratic land use regimes of the present force Indigenous peoples into an alien system of management that limits their decision making power, the process also encourages them to surrender their values and indeed, their cultural perspectives on land and resource use in favor of Western or Euro-Canadian notions of development, conservation and science. Again, this may seem ironic given the rhetoric of “co-management”, even more so with the supposed “integration” of Indigenous philosophy and knowledge into land management practices. But integration is problematic when land use planners assume that this knowledge can be distilled as simply another data set to be incorporated into the already accepted way of doing things: bureaucratic, scientific, reductionist, technical, and compartmentalized. But the reality is that Indigenous knowledge is an independent source of knowledge, which if considered seriously, would fundamentally clash with the current logic of land use planning and resource management decision making. An example from a meeting of Ruby Range Sheep Steering Committee in Yukon: Indigenous hunters advocated the end of the “full curl rule”, which allowed hunters across the region to take sheep that were old, hence the full curl of the their horns. The concerned Native hunters argued that these full curl sheep were actually the most important to the overall sheep population because they have a role as teachers; “it is from them that the younger rams learn proper mating and rutting behavior as well as general survival strategies.” The scientists on the committee reviewed the literature and disagreed. The rule remained.3 Or there is the contentious catch and release fishing policy also in Yukon, which contradicts Indigenous beliefs that its disrespectful to give back gifts. We could likewise be talking about polar bears in Inuvialiut lands or Belugas in Southeast Baffin; Indigenous conceptions of animal behavior or animals as sentient, intelligent and social, are often dismissed by officials as unscientific. This extends beyond wildlife and science to other aspects of land use planning: dividing the land into zones, extracting minerals which give the land its essence, even
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the very concept of management can be contrary to Indigenous perspectives. Marc Stevenson provides an example of how this dismissal also equates to superiority. In a meeting of the Beverly Caribou Management Board, where the board was attempting to determine caribou herd numbers, Canadian officials advocated the use of aerial surveys. However, the Native representatives were hesitant to use the technique, as photos would invariably fail to catch the entire caribou population and the data would be skewed. To prove the effectiveness or the aerial survey, a government biologist asked the skeptical representative to guess at the number of caribou in a particular aerial photograph. The uneducated speculations were all far off the mark, which, in turn, supposedly reinforced the validity of these methods and counteracted the concerns.4 ◉◉◉ Planning Failures, from Nunavut to Ontario Much of the argument made here is backed by evidence found in land and resource management plans that exist throughout the North. In particular, the lack of actual control or power Indigenous peoples can exert in either land use planning or co-management has been seen in older planning regimes of Nunavut as well as more recently in Ontario. Out of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (NLCA), came the Nunavut Planning Commission (NPC) with a mandate to oversee plans for the territory. The NPC acts as the arbiter of development—effectively, a gatekeeper. However, since its’ creation over ten years ago, the Commission has seemingly lost its way, approving a number of controversial projects that blatantly deviate from the two land use plans in place. Not surprisingly, residents of Nunavut have a problem with this. Late last year, a Nunatsiaq News editorial quipped, “because of a long series of foolish blunders, most committed within the past 10 years or so, no reasonable person can now claim that the environmental protection system laid out within the land claims agreement is capable of inspiring public confidence.”5 The issue was two significant projects, Areva Uranium’s Kiggavik Project, a plan to extract 3,000 tonnes of concentrated yellowcake uranium annually for 17 years, at multiple open-pit and underground mining sites 80 kilometres west of Baker Lake, and Baffinland Iron Mines’ Mary River Project, which would extract 18,000 tonnes of high-grade iron ore annually for 21 years, 160 kilometres south of Pond

Photo credit: Morris Neyelle.

Inlet. Both projects violated the NPC’s Inuit influenced land use plans, the former for threatening caribou and the latter for proposing shipping corridors, and yet both were ultimately approved.6 Inuit have surrendered 90 percent of their territory and 99 percent of their subsurface rights for input on these plans. Yet, in the end, they are still alienated from decisions about development that will significantly affect them. It seems clear that land use planning in Nunavut is neither empowering Inuit nor giving them decision-making authority. Certainly, Inuit serve on the NPC, but they have only half of the positions and the senior policy advisor for the organization lives in Yellowknife.7 In addition, if the NPC ever makes a negative conformity determination, the minster has the power to exempt whichever proposals he deems important enough to do so, despite Inuit objections. The situation in Ontario shares the theme of disempowement but is also much different. In contrast to territorial planning, the case in Ontario is not claims-based but crisis-based. Throughout the past decade conflict over recent development has seemingly proliferated, notably in Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, where band Chief and Council resorted to blocking the landing path of float planes

with their small boats. But with the recent discovery of chromite deposits throughout 5,000 square kilometres of Northern Ontario rock, which has been called “the most promising mining opportunity in Canada in a century.”8 Ontario has attempted to address the conflict and clear space for planning and development with the Far North Act. The Act, also known as Bill 191, is designed to bring Ojibwe and Mushkego peoples into the land use planning process. In fact, the stated purpose of the Act is to provide “land use planning in the Far North that directly involves First Nations in the planning.” The rhetoric is impressive, really. In the actual legislation, the term “First Nation” is mentioned 55 times in 24 terse sections.9 Yet, the trend described above regarding the illusion of power is maintained. Ontario drafted the Act without Mushkegowuk input, scheduling consultations unilaterally and on short notice so when invited, Mushkegowuk counld not attend. In fact, so contentious is the Far North Act that the Nishnawbe-Aski Nation (NAN), the political body representing 50-odd First Nations, has condemned it. Former NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy stated on the eve of the bill’s passage, “We will do everything we can to prevent this legislation from passing, but if Bill 191 is

Deline, 2012.

passed in spite of our opposition NAN First Nations will not recognize the legislation and will move to exercise full and exclusive jurisdiction over our territory.”10 NAN is strongly opposed to the encroachment and usurpation of jurisdiction in their territories. Under treaties 5 and 9, First Nations believe they have the right to govern themselves and the lands they have occupied since time immemorial. Yet, the Far North Act presumes to set aside 225,000 kilometres for conservation without input from NAN; to divide the Far North territory into two zones, against their opposition; and to give control of the land use planning process entirely to the Ontario government—even community land use plans are subject to ministerial approval. In addition, many projects are excluded from land use planning, including the construction of transmission lines, mineral staking and exploration, and already-approved plans. In fact, the minister “would have authority to determine additional activities that may proceed before a community-based land use plan is in place.”11 Again, that leaves ultimate authority with the government and potentially eschews local people’s desires. As the Bill was being passed in September 2010, Northerners were protesting on the steps of the legislature. ◉◉◉ New Directions in Land Management? While this overview is far from comprehensive, it indicates challenges and certianly cause for concern. Indeed in the slew of co-management and land use planning regimes across the North, Indigenous peoples are expressing their discontent: government-imposed hunting bans have been repeatedly violated from the NWT to Labrador; blockades in response to exploitative development seem to multiply by the year in British Columbia and Ontario; individual First Nations routinely launch court cases and appeals against companies, provinces, and territories, and vice versa. In a 2009 study of Little Salmon/ Carmacks First Nation, David Natcher found that 83 percent of community members surveyed believe they will have considerably less access to land in the future.12 Yet there does seem to be some hope. A few unique examples can provide direction. The Northern Tutchone Council has rejected land use planning as it is traditionally practiced and is working on a system where traditional law, called Doo Li is applied to land use in their territory — they are also attempting to make it compatible with territo30 Northern Public Affairs, Special Issue 2013

rial systems by developing enforcement regimes and public education.13 The Haida in B.C., after an incredible battle with the provincial government have done a similar thing with their land use vision called Yah’guudang, which actually gives priority to cedar, salmon and black bears, over people.14 The Ojibwe in NW ON have established the Great Earth Law and have been partially successful at getting corporations to sign on to its land use planning principles; otherwise, they are not welcome in the region.15 So while it would be irresponsible to default on opportunities to make sensible decisions about development and conservation in some systematic fashion, it would likewise be irresponsible to do so at the expense of genuine participation. What the communities mentioned above have done, and what others can potentially do, is critically reflect on the process as it is being designed and implemented (whether it be in the Peel River area, the supposed forthcoming Nunavut wide plan or the new NWT regulatory regime) and leverage the power required to correct the institutional power imbalance and insert the values that we know are essential to our relationships with the land and the diversity of creatures that we share it with.◉
Hayden King is Anishinaabe and Assisant Professor of Political Science at Ryerson University.
Footnotes 1. Indian and Northern affairs Canada, Northern Land Use Guidelines: Administration Framework (Ottawa: Indian and Northern affairs Canada, 2008). 2. Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, Vol. 2: Restructuring the Relationship (Ottawa: Indian and Northern affairs Canada, 1996), Part 2, Chapter 4, “lands and resources.” 3. Paul Nadasdy, “The Politics of TEK: Power and the ‘Integration’ of Knowledge,” Arctic Anthropology, 36, 1-2 (1999). 4. Marc G. Stevenson, “The Possibility of difference: rethinking Co-Management,” Human Organization, 65, 2 (summer 2006), 167—80. 5. “Nunavut’s radioactive issue,” Nunatsiaq News, Editorial (December 29, 2008). 6. Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation, “development Proposal for the Mary River Project” (Toronto: Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation, March 2008), 1. 7. NPC, “Our Team,” NPC. Obtained from: www.nunavut.ca/en/ about-commission/our-team. 8. “Don’t let Mines Pre-empt Natives” Toronto Star, Editorial, March 10, 2010. 9. Ontario, Legislative Assembly, “Bill 191,” Far North Act, 2010, Government of Ontario. Obtained from: www.ontla.on.ca/web/bills/bills_detail. do?locale=en&BillId=2205 10. Nishnawbe aski Nation, Bill 191, News Release (NAN, July 22, 2009). 11. Ontario, Legislative Assembly, “Bill 191.” 12. David Natcher, Clifford Hickey, Mark Nelson and Susan Davis, “Implications of Tenure Insecurity for aboriginal land use in Canada,” Human Organization, 68, 3 (Fall 2009). 13. David Natcher and Susan Davis, “Rethinking devolution: Challenges for Aboriginal resource Management in the Yukon Territory,” Society & Natural Resources, 20, 3 (March 2007), 271—9. 14. Louise Takeda and Inge Ropke, “Power and Contestation in Collaborative ecosystem-Based Management: The Case of haida Gwaii,” Ecological Economics (2010). 15. Grand Council of Treaty #3, “Laws and Policies,” Grand Council of Treaty #3. Obtained from: www.gct3.net/ grand-chiefs-office/ laws-and-policies/.

DELINE

Photo credit: Morris Neyelle.

Herring net in winter, 2012.

EDUCATION

Dechinta Bush University Student Plenary: A report
Cole Smith & Darcy Leigh
“We had huge prosperous moments where we were super excited about the riches we had collected—the cranberries or the Labrador tea,” -Dawn Tremblay

This article is a report from the Dechinta Bush University student plenary at the Northern Governance and Economy Conference. Dechinta Bush University is a land-based, university accredited program in Chief Drygeese Territory (Akaitcho), Denendeh. Dechinta combines ‘bush’ and ‘academic’ ways of teaching, learning and researching. Students presented at the conference as part of their final assessments for the 2012 semester and as a way of connecting what they had learned with leaders and communities across the North. In their presentations, the students drew on their diverse experiences and perspectives. Prior to the panel, however, they worked together to agree a collective message and to develop their individual presentations collaboratively. In this report, therefore, we establish a conversation between the students, through the panel, while also including quotes from an absent student in recognition of every student’s contribution to the Dechinta community. ‘We’, the authors, are a Dechinta student from the U.S. (Cole Smith) and a Dechinta facilitator from the U.K. (Darcy Leigh). ◉◉◉ articipants in the Northern Governance and Economy Conference spent three days discussing the question of how to achieve prosperity, sustainability and wealth creation in the North. As business, government, academic and community leaders set out “pathways to prosperity”, they repeatedly asserted the importance of youth. On the final day, students from Dechinta Bush University’s fall semester intervened in this discussion, asking: What does it mean for the North to be prosperous, to be sustainable and to be wealthy? What sort of a future do Northern young people want to be a part of ? Dawn Tremblay summarized: “I challenge each and every one of you to reflect on your definition of prosperity, governance and economy and how it is the same or different than other people’s in this room and throughout the conference.” Drawing on their experience at Dechinta, the rest of the students

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articulated their versions of prosperity, sustainability and wealth and challenged the assumption that wealth is rooted in the material. Instead, they emphasized local, land-based Indigenous knowledge; healthy families and communities; and ongoing personal and institutional decolonization. Higher education and strong leadership are, they argued, key strategies for constructing this pathway to Northern prosperity. Brooke Hope opened the panel by putting knowledge and learning at the centre of a re-imagined vision of prosperity: a prosperous North is one in which people are connected with each other and the land, through land-based Indigenous knowledge. Education in the North is therefore more than the provision of and qualification for jobs, Brooke explained. Northern, Indigenous and land-based knowledges are all a part of self-knowledge and self-determination for Northerners, Indigenous as well as non-Indigenous. For Brooke, this happens through learning and continuing her cultural traditions. Dene youth, she argued, must learn about Dene ways, land and history from Dene elders. Kristen Tanche added: “As the saying goes, ‘You do not know who you are until you know where you come from.”. Learning and knowledge must originate in the North and be for Northerners, by Northerners and oriented to the North. Kristen Tanche and Dawn Tremblay, two Northern students who had studied in Southern universities, both reported the absence of learning that is relevant to the North in those settings. When it did appear, Dawn Tremblay noted, Southerners taught it. Kristen Tanche described how learning from Northern instructors had made her Dechinta experience meaningful and deepened her understanding of where she is from. For all these reasons, Northern, Indigenous and landbased knowledge is central to prosperous and strong Northern land, people and communities. Dene ways of learning, on the land, are intergenerational, and therefore necessary to creating strong, healthy families. Strong, healthy families are, in turn, integral to Northern prosperity. The students gave a range of examples of land-based Dene

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Photo credit: Northern Public Affairs.

learning and teaching across generations. Doris Sewi explained, “The way I was raised, my father taught me hunting... He brought me on the land since I was a little girl and ever since. I also learned my mother’s land skills, so I learned both men and women’s skills. I captured my cultural and traditional ways...I teach my children about our culture and language; that is important for them because I want to keep it going and continue with our history.” Doris Taneton told the story of how learning from her father, on the land, has inspired her in her work as a language instructor and community researcher, working with all generations in her community and guided by Elders. Doris Taneton also emphasised the role of landbased learning at Dechinta in creating these family connections: “When you actually learn hands-on activities such as cutting fish or making dry meat, you can have your children with you. The parents and children can observe and learn. It is a great way for children to learn as well. They listen and parents can be with their children and learn together.” Doris explained that by encouraging parents to bring children, Dechinta provides necessary space for mothers to become leaders. Land-based learning therefore creates and strengthens connections between people — within families, within communities and between generations. Strong families and communities are

central to the Dechinta students’ vision of prosperity. Land-based knowledge not only connects people with each other, but with the land and the environment, through experience. Conventional academic knowledge disconnects people from the land and knowledge from experience. As Cole Smith, the only Southern student, explains: “.... a lot of my culture was about disconnection and isolation. I come from an educational tradition of a State University where I studied environmental studies in the Building of Natural Resources inside a room without any windows. We never went outside.” Land-based learning, “is about is re-establishing relationships and making those connections again. This knowledge that we are connecting with is knowledge that is rooted in what it means to live on the land and be on the land… It means to connect with knowledge that is rooted in the land.” Jeanetta Prodromidis gave an example of how this happens for her: “When we live within the context of society, it is extremely easy to externalize the costs of our activities. For example, when I flush a standard toilet, I don’t think about where the water and its waste goes after the flush; I only know that they are gone, and that they are no longer my problem. When living off the land, though, no such externalization occurs, and it is necessary to take

Dechinta students present at Northern Governance and Economy Conference, Yellowknife, October 2012.

full responsibility for the material waste.” Jeanetta Prodromidis also explained that hunting and using traditional medicines are ways of connecting with the land and living sustainably: “When trying to be sustainable by living off the land, I felt disconnected from these chains: I was entirely aware of both the consequences of my actions as well as the conditions which made my existence possible. To me personally, trying to be sustainable by living off the land, I was aware of my interconnectedness with others than ever before.” In all these ways, learning and living on the land are necessary to a prosperous and sustainable Northern future. Although they argued throughout the panel for a re-centring of Northern, Dene and land-based ways of knowing and being, the students did not reject Southern or academic knowledge outright. Instead, they argued that strong leaders and strong communities know “both ways” - in order to be “strong like two people” (Brooke Hope, using a phrase and concept from the Tlicho Dene in Allice Legat’s book, Walking the Land, Feeding the Fire). Kristen Tanche emphasized how having two sets of tools made her strong: “We all agreed that learning both worlds is significant. We all agreed that by combining traditional knowledge and academic knowledge, we were stronger people. Strong people create a strong foundation for society.” She explained that “[one]..must not only read and watch, but experience and live what is being taught. This dual system of learning provides students with balance and harmony within their education.” A prosperous North is therefore a North in which people are connected to each other, to family and to community - all through the land - and where they have tools in both worlds: “[this] starts with myself, then family, then community and so on until we are strong like two people” (Brooke Hope). For the Dechinta students, traditional leadership is necessary to achieve this alternative vision of prosperity. Stacy Sundberg described how her family, her culture, and her experience at Dechinta, and living on the land all combined to inspire her to become a leader. At Dechinta, she explained, the students rotated leadership responsibilities; each person coordinated daily learning activities as well as communicating and scheduling with elders, instructors and students. These leadership duties were oriented to the group rather than the individual and, for Stacy they also involved learning from her people on her traditional territory. She went on to quote a collective statement by the Dechinta students: “Strong leaders are rooted in tradition. They are honest, patient and funny. They know who they are; they
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know their traditions and their culture. They draw on those traditions as tools for the present and future,” (Dechinta students’ collective statement). As Brooke Hope explained, leaders are not limited to business or government: “Being in Dechinta I found myself and being on the land reminded me of the importance of people, culture and the land. Seeing everyone here as a leader, not just as student/teacher, but we all have knowledge to share.” The students placed their stories in the context of decolonization. Decolonization, they argued, is necessary for a prosperous and self-determining North. Dawn Tremblay said that as a non-Indigenous Northern student, this was part of her motivation for attending Dechinta. For Dawn, Dechinta helped to “crystallize the colonial history,” and further “encouraged establishing meaningful and respectful relationships.” This helps to reconfigure relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, on both societal and interpersonal levels. This process, she explained, is decolonization. Dawn quoted a statement written collectively by the Dechinta students: “Practicing self-determination and decolonization rocks. Self determination and decolonization cannot be learned from a book or granted by the state. They must be experienced and practiced in all processes of teaching and learning. Every person, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, has the right and responsibility to self-determine and de-colonize in their own way on an individual and collective level.” Bringing together all these stories, Cole Smith concluded the panel: “What prosperity means to us… is healthy families, healthy communities and healthy land. Prosperity means honest and strong leaders who are grounded in traditional values that have helped communities thrive on this land for centuries. We are talking about a thriving knowledge-economy, not a resource-driven economy. We are talking about ways of knowing and the economies of ways of knowing that can produce critical Northern thinkers that can engage policy and engage decision-making from a Northern perspective. Prosperity to us is related more to social, environmental, and cultural well-being than it is to profits and development. To us, this is what will sustain the North.”◉
Cole Smith was a student with Dechinta Bush University. He lives in Portland, Oregon. Darcy Leigh is a doctoral candidate in Politics and International Relations at University of Edinburgh.

ECONOMY

The Northern economy: Lessons from industry
Don Bubar he resource industry, particularly the minerals industry, offers tremendous opportunity to create wealth in the North. The Northwest Territories represents one of the most mineral-rich jurisdictions anywhere on Earth with its vast diversity in mineral resources, as well as hydrocarbons. Further, the mineral deposits found in this area are among the very best quality found anywhere in the world. The diamond mines are a good example of that, as well as Pine Point’s lead-zinc operations. I think Avalon Rare Metals’ discovery at Thor Lake, with the Nechalacho Rare Earth Element deposit, will be another example of a truly world-class resource providing new opportunities for wealth creation in the NWT. I also believe there is a tremendous opportunity for Aboriginal peoples to take full advantage. I would like to see Aboriginal peoples participate in this industry to a much greater extent than they have in the past. It is absolutely essential for the long-term health and sustainability of the industry that we have participation from the communities around which we are working. In most of Northern Canada, especially here in the NWT, those local communities are Aboriginal communities and we need their active participation in the industry. Not just to provide labour and services, but ultimately becoming proponents of mineral development; that is, having companies that they own and operate as explorers and developers in finding the next mines for the NWT. In order to do that, we need to build more capacity in all of the communities, which starts with education. Also, we need to start to facilitate more of an entrepreneurial culture in those communities. It is a very entrepreneurial industry at the exploration stage and we need more Aboriginal entrepreneurs to emerge in those communities to provide the leadership required to build companies of tomorrow and be proponents of new mineral development in the North. Given the inherent mineral wealth that we see in the North, the level of investment is nowhere near what it really should be. It should be about 10 times what it is currently, at least if based purely on the opportunity that is represented by the rich mineral endowment of the area. The issue is around the regulatory process. The Northwest Territories

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needs a stable and predictable regulatory process for environmental reviews and permitting. This does not exist right now. Companies need to know that when they invest capital there is some predictability to what is required and how long it will take before they can get a new project permitted. That is not the case here currently and therefore capital is going elsewhere where there is more predictability. This is a very important priority for the NWT going forward. There is an enormous opportunity in this hot commodity market. It is sometimes referred to as the super cycle. The super cycle is still on and there are some dips in the cycle from time to time (we are in one right now) but there is no question that with the growing world population and emerging middle-class in Asia and elsewhere, that there will be an increasing demand for resources and new production of non-renewable materials going forward. Moving on to what Avalon is doing, we have this rare earth element project named Nechalacho, 100 km southeast of Yellowknife in an area known as Thor Lake. The rare earth elements (REEs) play a significant role in today’s technology-driven economy. The REEs are key enablers of a lot of new technology, especially clean technology. We are talking about elements such as neodymium, dysprosium, europium, and yttrium—elements that many have not heard of since their high school chemistry class, but use every day in their hand-held devices, automobiles and household appliances. These elements are becoming increasingly more important and the Nechalacho deposit is one of the most richly endowed in these critical raw materials. Avalon is planning to develop a secondary processing facility, also in the NWT, to take the mineral concentrate from Thor Lake and further concentrate the rare earths. This is a significantly new development for the North. Traditionally, concentrates are produced and shipped out for processing elsewhere. For the first time, we are proposing to build a secondary processing facility in the NWT at a site in the Pine Point area on the south side of Great Slave Lake. The reason why we selected that area is because it is a brownfield site. It was the historic site of lead-zinc mining operations by Cominco in the 1960s through to the 1980s. It does have grid hydro
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power available to it from the Taltson dam and an existing transportation network to move the material to the rail head at Hay River for shipping south for further refining. Having two sites means we have had to engage with quite a few different communities in the Northwest Territories. In relation to our project, we have been engaging with the Lutsel K’e Dene First Nation, the Deninu K’ue First Nation, and the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, but they are not the only interested parties in this project. The K’atl’odeeche First Nation near Hay River are interested because of the potential business opportunities originating from that area. There are also the North Slave Métis, NWT Métis Nation, and the Tłichǫ Government whose settled land claim overlaps with the Yellowknives’ Chief Drygeese Territory. One of the challenges a company like ours faces when entering into the Northwest Territories to do mineral exploration and development is understanding who our neighbours are, what their relationships are and how to develop working relationships going forward. It takes some time to sort out the landscape, but we have been quite patient about it. We started very early and had many meetings with Chiefs, Councillors, Elders and other community members to introduce them to what we are doing. We try to allow for a lot of question and answer periods to help community members understand, and we listen to their concerns and try to act on them. We recognize it takes time to build relationships and trust, so we started early to ensure we had more than enough time before making major investment decisions on going into a construction phase. It is important to engage with communities early and often. The biggest mistake that companies make in exploration and development is not going to the community early enough to explain what is being proposed and the potential opportunities. We make this point frequently to our industry peers. Often it is difficult to get that dialogue going, but we encourage companies to persevere and don’t give up after the first unanswered phone call. Once you get the relationship going and you are working on the ground, it is very important to just continue dialogue and engagement. You have to ensure communities are always informed on what is happening on the ground. Also, we encourage other companies to provide employment opportunities to the extent possible during the exploration stage, work with local contractors and find opportunities for Aboriginal business to participate and provide services, as well as provide access to training. We participated in a
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training program with the Mine Training Society, Aurora College and Foraco to train Aboriginal youth to work on diamond drills as helpers, which is an important part of the exploration process. No other company had ever done that before at the exploration stage, so we were proud to have had that opportunity and it was quite successful. There were a dozen graduates, several of whom are still working in the industry. NWT regulations require that companies have a first aid responder in a remote campsite like ours. When we first started, we had to bring people from all across Canada to perform this role. It did not make any sense that there were no people in the North that could provide that service. It was simply a matter of providing training so people here could obtain those skills and do it. We organized that training program and ever since we have been able to source first aid responders in the local communities here. We have employed a lot of labour at times, with up to 50 percent of our camp staff being Aboriginal at some times. We have been providing contracting opportunities as well, including an airstrip at the Nechalacho site two years ago that was built by Det’on Cho Corporation; a $2,000,000 contract. In exploration you do lots of drilling and need to put the drill core in boxes. They are just simple wooden trays that you put the drill core samples in. Initially we were bringing them in from Winnipeg and reasoned that there ought to be someone up here that could build these boxes. Some folks in Fort Resolution agreed with us and started a new core box business and have been supplying us with our core boxes ever since. We have done some $300,000 worth of business with the Deninu K’ue Development Corporation. Recently, we have been working hard to finalize formal agreements, we call them Accommodation Agreements, with our Akaitcho Dene community partners. One of the agreements is complete and two are close to finalization. This summer we finalized an Accommodation Agreement with the Deninu K’ue First Nation. The headline in the paper described it as an Impacts Benefits Agreement (IBA), the more common term for these partnership agreements, but it has some differences with the traditional IBA-type agreements. The main one is we are offering equity participation in the project to these communities. It is a small minority interest, but we think it is a very significant way for the First Nations to participate. It means they have an actual ownership interest in this resource. It is not a simple revenue-sharing model offering cash transfers, but it is

an actual ownership interest in the project. What we are asking them to do is become an active partner in the project to both share in the risks and share in the rewards of successful development. Equity participation provides an opportunity for active involvement in the industry from which the community can learn and leverage into other business opportunities and more actively influence industry best practices in managing environmental impacts. I believe the industry is now moving towards this model. The traditional IBA model that involved fixed payments on an annual basis, unrelated to the scale of an operation or future profitability, is yesterday’s model. Tomorrow’s model is an equity participation model and Avalon is the first Company to introduce it here in the North. So it has taken us some time to educate the communities as to what it is about and why it is advantageous in the long term. It is different, so it is taking quite a while to do, but I think we are going to get there in terms of it being accepted as tomorrow’s partnership model between mineral exploration companies and First Nations. Lastly, going forward in the future, we have made a commitment to corporate social responsibility and being a good partner in the community. We have produced a sustainability report that details our commitments to environment and social responsibil-

ity and how we are going to report on performance against those commitments. This is the type of report that is more typically produced by larger corporations and not so much by small or medium-sized enterprises such as Avalon, but we feel it is important to do it at this stage to demonstrate sustainability as a core principle of the company. We believe the whole industry is going this way with everyone starting to recognize the importance of embracing the principles of environmental and social responsibility. We wanted to show some leadership for our peers in the industry by taking this step now. We also think it will serve us well in developing our business down the road as more and more customers around the world who use the rare earth elements will insist that producers of this material operate in a sustainable way and demonstrate it to them before they will commit to business. That is the growing reality and so by getting in front of it we are opening more doors for building our business and developing new markets for our products going forward.◉
Don Bubar is Present of Avalon Rare Earth Metals.

COMING SPRING 2013: FORTY YEARS AFTER CALDER
Forty years ago, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in Calder that Aboriginal title existed in Canada prior to colonization and outside of colonial law. This groundbreaking event, together with an increasingly active Aboriginal political movement, forced the federal government into the present phase of treaty-making. Since 1975, twenty-four agreements have been signed with First Nations, Inuit, and Metis nations across Canada, and many of these are in the North. In honour of these significant milestones, Northern Public Affairs will dedicate its next regular issue of the magazine to a far-reaching discussion of contemporary treaty implementation.

ECONOMY

Challenges in understanding the emerging Northern economy
Frances Abele

I

n the Northwest Territories, people from many walks of life seem to share a vision of how the future should unfold. They imagine an economy organized so that natural resource development provides necessary jobs and business opportunities while providing essential revenue to both the government of the Northwest Territories and Aboriginal governments and organizations. Such development should be contained, controlled and paced in such a way that it does not destroy too much of the land. Northern societies should have time to adjust and prepare for the changes that development brings. Aboriginal land rights must be respected. Northern businesses and workers should realize not only short term gains but long-term benefits from economic development in their territories, and so should Northern society as a whole. This vision of the best possible Northern economy is the result of nearly forty years’ search for ways to balance non-renewable resource development with care of the land and protection of the harvesting economy. Northerners have often done their thinking about this from an awkward position, compelled to focus on public discussion of single mega-projects, mines or pipelines, making decisions in a “now or never” near-crisis situation. But there have also been moments of research and reflection, during which decision-makers searched for a model of balanced development that would benefit all of the peoples and communities of the north. Major milestones have been the 1970s inquiry into the construction of a pipeline in the Mackenzie Valley (the Berger Report), the work of the 1980s Special Committee on the Northern Economy (SCONE) and the Northern Oil and Gas Assessment Program (NOGAP) research projects, and in the 1990s and 2000s, the West Kitikmeot Slave Study (and updates), and the many hearings and deliberations concerning mines and pipelines that culminated in the far-sighted report of the Joint Review Panel on the Mackenzie Gas Project, Foundation for a Sustainable Northern Future (2010). If these research and discussion opportunities have provided Northerners with the opportunity to come to a consensus on the future they hope to build, there remain many challenges in understand-

ing how to achieve their vision. What specific measures (policies, programs, agreements, practices) will bring Northerners the future that they envision, and allow them to avoid dangers such as yawning disparities in social well-being, environmental degradation, and instability? Northerners’ deliberations on their economic future have been largely centred on their region: Aboriginal rights, protection of the land, as well as the need to perfect suitable regional institutions, to wrest control of economic levers from the federal government, and to achieve balanced mitigation of cumulative impacts. These concerns have resulted in major institutional reforms, including what many people hope will be a viable institutional basis for strong Aboriginal societies thriving in a healthy multicultural territory. Many of the new institutions and practices are still evolving, and surely some will in the end prove to be effective. Necessarily, the focus has been on territorial arrangements, and the relationship between territorial interests and the federal government. While these matters rightly have occupied centre stage, though, it is evident that near exclusive focus on territorial matters and relations with the federal government is insufficient in a time when the opportunities and economic challenges facing territorial residents are global, and massive. Increasingly, the economic prospects of the Northwest Territories depend upon international financial markets and international demand for Northern resources. These markets are volatile and they are utterly independent of what Northerners may choose or desire. This creates a significant challenge for economic development planning. How much choice do people in the North really have? There are no simple answers to this question. Everywhere in the world, natural resource dependent economies face three large challenges. The first of these is often referred to as the boom and bust cycle: how should societies respond to the extraordinary volatility in the demand for resources, and the related fluctuations in the availability of development capital? Both booms and busts bring their own destructive forces: booms make some wealthy but they also encourage waste. For both governments and in-

38 Northern Public Affairs, Special Issue 2013

dividuals, sudden surplus revenue is easily dissipated, leaving little of lasting value behind. During busts, which often come on suddenly, local businesses and workers suffer a loss of spending capacity, and so do the public coffers. The social impact of booms and busts can be cumulative, though not much is understood about how to ensure that what accumulates is beneficial to the variety of ways in which Northern peoples make their living. The second challenge, which has received a fair degree of attention in the Northwest Territories, is how to determine what might be called carrying capacity: how much pollution and disruption of wildlife can or should be tolerated? These determinations are becoming more complex, given the increasing strain on the Northern environment due to the changing climate and airborne pollutants released elsewhere. As is well recognized, making the right choices concerning environmental impact is crucial for human well-being, particularly in a territory where harvesting the living gifts of the land are still integral to many people’s livelihoods. The third challenge concerns the distribution of the wealth generated by resource development: how can these revenues be collected and shared so as to improve the circumstances of everyone, weighing against social inequality rather than enhancing it? Very commonly, in other parts of the world mineral wealth has brought more rather than less inequality. It is not automatic that an economy built upon natural resource development will benefit all members of the society; for this to be the case, positive measures (and a steady hand) are necessary. People in the Northwest Territories have significant advantages as they confront these challenges. Northern economies have the stabilizing benefits of public sector expenditure levels characteristic of a prosperous country; in contrast to what is the case in many mineral-dependent economies elsewhere in the world, governments in Canada can and do deploy public expenditures strategically for social and economic purposes. They have affordable access to credit and they may rely upon the resilience of a relatively large national economy itself buoyed by abundant natural resources in virtually every region of a large country. Northern communities are also stabilized by access to the important base of country food and the other sources of well-being that Northern lands provide; people who rely partly upon har-

vesting for sustenance are less vulnerable to markets than those who do not. Both of these important stabilizers have the protection of a well-developed regulatory system that relies upon public participation to mediate among various interests. Finally, Northerners have a society in which cooperation and mutual aid are highly regarded, embedded in

How much choice do people in the North really have?
social practices well-established long before industrial transformation of the north began. These are all substantial assets. Of course, both the public sector and the harvesting economy are now intricately linked to natural resource development, and growing more dependent upon it as that sector grows. As Northern governments and institutions become independent of federal transfers for their expenditures (as a result of land claims agreements and devolution), they will become more dependent upon tax revenue from natural resource development. Harvesting now requires a substantial cash subsidy, whether the source be wages or public sector transfers of various kinds; many people now seek employment in part so that they can continue to afford to provide food for their families from the land. The very circumstances that permit Northerners a certain level of independence and choice tie them ever more tightly to global market forces. In this respect, the circumstances of Northerners converge with those of people living in the rest of Canada, whether one considers the deindustrialization of Ontario and the compounding impact of the 2007-8 global financial crisis there, or the long petroleum-fuelled boom in Alberta. All have their source in global markets. Considering the importance of the factors that I have just been reviewing, it seems important that there be wide public discussion of possible ways and means. One would wish for discussion that was informed by the integration of community-based research — infused with local knowledge and values — with regional, territorial and Canada-wide macroeconomic analysis and assessment. There is in fact very little of this going on, and little public discussion of how to approach the three challenges that increasingly reliance upon resource development will bring. In part this silence seems to be a result of the
Northern Public Affairs, Special Issue 2013 39

absence of permanent convening institutions and the crippling absence of a Northern-based university or network of think tanks. Northwest Territories news media seem largely to have set aside broader economic questions. There is also a failure of the Canadian research community as a whole to devise means to effectively disseminate the knowledge they do generate, with some important exceptions. Above all, there is simply a startling lack of research interest in the largest questions facing Northerners today. As a rough measure, consider the list of licensed research published by Aurora Research Institute. They report licensing over 5,000 research projects between 1974 and the present. Of these, most are natural science studies. Less than one-quarter fall into the domain of social scientific research, including health research and traditional knowledge. The situation is worse concerning the questions that I have been discussing here. Research that will help us understand the dynamics of the Northern economy — at the community, regional or territorial level — comprises less than 4 percent of all research that was licensed. Certainly some research, particularly macroeconomic research, is conducted with-

out a license, and so may have escaped my notice. But a scan of published articles in Arctic and The Northern Review, Northern publications of record in Canada, does not contradict these findings. Clearly, if Northerners are to find ways of realizing their vision of the best possible economic future for their region, action is needed on a number of fronts. There is an urgent need for more policy-relevant research and especially, public debate about findings. The news media and researchers alike need to do a better job of making use of what research has been conducted, so that the analyses published by such bodies as the Joint Review Panel on the Mackenzie Gas Project and the West Kitikmeot Slave Study Society are widely understood and publicly discussed. And, perhaps most importantly of all, Northerners and Northern scholars must begin the work of understanding how to ensure that the integration of the north into the world economy can be done on the best possible terms for Northern residents, and for Canada.◉ Dr. Frances Abele is Professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University.

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NORTHWEST TERRITORIES

Photo credit: Hideyuki Kamon.

Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories, 2009.

NORTHERN GOVERNANCE AND ECONOMY CONFERENCE

Photo credit: Northern Public Affairs.

Above: Plenary session; Below: Arlene Hache at the registration desk, Yellowknife, October 2012.

ECONOMY

Resource wealth: Opportunities & challenges
Diana Gibson Editor’s note: This is a transcript of Diana Gibson’s presentation at the Northern Governance and Economy Conference iscovering resources in your province or territory can be the equivalent of winning the lottery, but can there be too much of a good thing? This question of the challenges of resource wealth has been explored in a wide body of academic literature under the paradox of plenty or the resource curse. The most obvious cases are places like Sierra Leone or Liberia and blood or conflict diamonds. Oil in many African countries is also commonly associated with erosion of democracy, corruption and conflict. There is certainly a stark contrast between these examples and developed and more democratic economies such as those of Alberta or the NWT. However, Alberta and the NWT still pale in comparison to Norway for resource development that benefits current and future generations. This article will look at Alberta as a case study of the resource curse and the paradox of plenty. It will then turn to look at how Norway has avoided a number of those traps. Finally, it explores where the NWT sits and what can be done to maximize the return to people in the territories and minimize the risks. ◉◉◉ The Paradox of Plenty According to Terry Karl, who teachers at Stanford University, common key challenges associated with resource wealth in the literature on the ‘paradox of plenty’ include: • Boom and bust economy • Inequality • Less reliance on taxes • Less democracy • Regulatory capture This article will explain each of these in turn and then look at how the three case studies compare by these measures. Boom and bust economy Resource booms are not cheap. The cost of living is usually driven up dramatically, population influxes put pressure on existing infrastructure and social services, industry requires more infrastructure, housing becomes scarce, housing prices and rents go up, and land prices rise. For people on fixed incomes or in low-wage jobs outside the resource sector, these changes can actually erode their income and housing affordability, making them worse off. The reliance on commodity prices in a resource dependent economy can also mean increased volatility, as those prices are prone to large fluctuations. Inequality The gap between the haves and havenots often widens with resource wealth. The dynamics of the boom-bust economy can mean that the rich become richer and the poor poorer. Resource extraction is still a male dominated business with few women represented in the higher wage jobs or at the executive level. Thus, a resource boom also often widens gender inequality. Another form of equity impacted is that of intergenerational inequity. Governments with resource wealth have great temptation to use the wealth for increased spending or lower taxes, both of which may help their short-term political futures. The next generation is often given short shrift. Less reliance on taxes Resource wealth comes with a high risk that governments will use that wealth to cut taxes to gain short-term election advantages. This is tied to the risks of volatility and vulnerability to external shocks as it increases the reliance on resource revenue for ongoing expenditures. Less democracy Lower taxation reduces government reliance on the citizenry and undermines democracy. As per the common refrain: there is no representation without taxation. The effect of both oil and mineral wealth in impeding democracy has been found to be robust. According to Thomas Friedman’s First Law of Petropolitics, the higher the average global crude oil price rises, the more free speech, free press, free and fair elections, an independent judiciary, the rule of law, and independent political parties are eroded.
Northern Public Affairs, Special Issue 2013 43

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This can be reflected in low voter turnout, long-reining demagogues or political regimes, lack of free speech, and the centralization of decision-making powers. Regulatory capture As governments cut their taxes, they become increasingly beholden to resource extraction corporations. This often leads the erosion of balance and accountability in the regulation of the industry. Both environmental regulation and monitoring become watered down and biased in favor of industry. ◉◉◉ Alberta: Illustrating the paradox of plenty Alberta has high average incomes and lower unemployment compared to the rest of Canada. Certainly for those in the resource economy, and many outside of it, life looks good. However, average incomes mask differences. A 2007 Leger marketing poll at the height of the boom in Alberta asked Albertans, “Are Albertans benefiting from the boom?” The majority said, “Yes.” Then the poll asked, “Are you benefiting from the boom?” The majority said, “No.” And 17 percent said they were worse off. Obviously, the resource boom is costing many Albertans more than it is giving them.
Figure 1

Boom/Bust Volatility A 2010 report by the C.D. Howe Institute disclosed that Alberta has the most volatile government revenues, with the most predictable of results: “Volatile revenues can lead to the inefficient provision of government services” and “stop-go” fiscal policies. Inequality Alberta’s income is very unequally distributed. Alberta has the richest rich and the poorest poor in the nation. Alberta’s top one percent have the highest average incomes in the nation. Half of Alberta’s households have a full 82 percent of total household income. Though the province has fewer people living in poverty than in other provinces and territories, those living in poverty are in much deeper or more intense poverty. Alberta has the highest percentage of working poor and children using a food bank in Canada. Alberta also has the largest gender gap in wages in the nation. Intergenerational equity also suffers in Alberta. Alberta’s Heritage Fund has stagnated since it was established. Between 1987 and 2006 the fund lost value. In 2012 it is still faltering while the rainy day fund has evaporated into budget deficits driven by artificially low taxation levels. Taxes Alberta has cut taxes dramatically, and uses almost all of its resource wealth to fund current ex-

Source: Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers data as extracted by Regan Boychuk and published in “Misplaced Generosity: Extraordinary profits in Alberta’s oil and gas industry.” Parkland Institute, University of Alberta, November 25, 2010

penditures. This makes the economy quite vulnerable to external shocks. The province has by far the lowest taxes in Canada and amongst the lowest in North America. This is a self-reinforcing mechanism with the dependence of the province on resource extraction. Corporate tax cuts, have meant that corporate profits more than doubled their share of Alberta’s economy from 1989 to 2012. While corporate profits are up, social spending is down. From 1989 to 2008, Alberta’s spending as a portion of GDP shrank 40 percent while corporate profits more than doubled their share. Studies have shown that Alberta has also foregone over a $100 billion in revenues just by failing to meet its own royalty capture targets. Royalties are not a tax. They are the value of the resource to the public. Like a steel manufacturing plant has to buy steel, it is the price oil and gas companies pay for the resource. Former premier Peter Lougheed had a target of capturing 35 percent of royalties, Ralph Klein modified that to 20 percent then it was eliminated all together. As Can be seen in Figure 1, the province was capturing just a little above 10 percent in 2010. Democracy Voter turnout is a key indicator of democracy. In 1993, Alberta’s voter turnout was just over 60 percent but by 2008 it had fallen to an all time low of 40.6 percent. Although it did pick up to 57 percent in the most recent contested provincial elections. For contrast in 1935, turnout was 82 percent . Regulatory capture Alberta spent ten times more on drilling incentives than on the entire environment ministry. At one point the government was spending more on marketing and advertising its oil and gas sector than on monitoring and regulating it. The role of whistleblowers in Alberta is another indicator of regulatory capture and the erosion of democracy. They face much more than being ignored- from denying science to defaming scientists. The most glaring example is that of the Energy and Utilities Board hiring spies in 2007 to infiltrate a landowners organization and report back to them and the proponent. There are many other examples. Scientists Peter Lee and Dr. Kevin Timoney published a scientific report in 2009, that dared suggest that “physical and ecological changes that result from oilsands industrial activities” are “detectable.” Data that has since been corroborated and shown to have been conservative by other studies. A Section Head at Alberta Environment accused them of lying and fudging the data. The Attorney General’s Office

subsequently issued a retraction and an apology. Dr. John O’Connor raised flags about unusual cancers in Fort Chipewyan, downstream of the oilsands industry. The Alberta government consistently denied the findings, while Alberta government employees quietly “assisted” Health Canada in pursuing charges against O’Connor at the Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons. The college eventually rejected all of those charges and the Alberta Cancer Board ultimately released a study confirming higher-than-expected levels of rare cancers. In summary, Alberta certainly fits the bill for Terry Lynn Karl’s paradox of plenty: a petroleum boom that produces poverty, inequality and a crisis of democracy.. ◉◉◉ Norway: the Exception Oil is on the decline, passed peak but the Norwegians have a lot to show for it. Norway has about $600 billion in the petroleum fund, strong economic growth, and low levels of inequality. Norway has used a very different approach to developing its oil and gas. This includes: • Stable economy • Less inequality • Savings for the current and next generation • Higher taxation • Higher royalties • Higher social spending • More democratic with higher voter turnout Boom-bust economy The Norwegian economy has a large tax base, a large public sector, and is not dependent on resource revenues for in-year budget expenditures. Thus, it has avoided the boom bust nature of resource dependent economies. Norway entered the last recession later than Alberta and most OECD nations, had the shallowest dip, and came out with the highest consumer confidence in the OECD. Norway has also avoided Dutch disease by keeping the resource money out of the economy. The vast majority of resource revenues are put into a stand alone ‘Pension Fund’ that is invested outside the country in ethical investments. Norway also heavily focused on value added so that they are selling refined products not oil. This would be similar to the NWT selling diamond rings not diamonds. High Taxes Norway is considered a high tax jurisdiction and did not use its resource wealth to cut
Northern Public Affairs, Special Issue 2013 45

taxes. It also has one of the highest spending to GDP rations in the OECD. According to OECD data Norway also recovers a higher percentage of the rent. Norway leaves companies with 22 percent of net revenue, while Alberta allows companies a take of 53 percent . Since the 1970s, Norway as a matter of policy has collected between 70 percent and 80 percent of the resource wealth generated from their oil industry through

Without the right social and tax frameworks, it can mean an erosion of an already compromised existence for many. It is critical to ensure that there is a solid framework in place to protect the people against the risks of the resource curse and ensure that if the development goes ahead, it is for the benefit of all, not the few.
public ownership, corporate taxes twice as high as Canada’s, and a special tax on oil profits. Norway also required that foreign companies train Norwegian workers, transfer proprietary technologies to their state-owned oil company Statoil, and in some cases even hand over producing oil platforms free of charge after a predetermined period. Democracy Higher taxes and a larger public sector have meant a stronger democratic tradition in Norway. Norway ranks as the world’s best-governed nation according to the Democracy Index. Inequality By many measures, Norway is a place of less inequality. It is routinely ranked number one in the world on the Human Development Index, and is the best country in the world to be a mother. Regulatory capture Norway is ranked number three in the world on the Environmental Performance Index (Canada is thirty-seventh, behind Nicaragua, Albania and Colombia). ◉◉◉ The Northwest Territories Like Alberta, the NWT has high average incomes, and a fast growing economy. The Northwest Territories is somewhere between Alberta and Norway on the resource curse spectrum. Boom/bust volatility There are reports ofHousing shortages, and a growing infrastructure deficit, which is currently estimated at $3 billion over the next five years. Budget document states that in46 Northern Public Affairs, Special Issue 2013

creased costs that challenge the Territory at every turn. In 2012 I budget documents, the government says “We are investigating the possibility of a Revenue Stabilization Fund, similar to that in other provinces, to more actively manage sharp increases and decreases in revenues.” This was recommended to the government years ago but has not yet been done. It would mitigate some of the volatility associated with resource dependence. Inequality The NWT is not nearly as unequal as Alberta in that the top one percent is not quite as rich. However, the threshold to get in to the top 1 percent is the third highest in the nation, indicating that the top 1 percent are very wealthy. At the other end of the income spectrum, not just those on fixed incomes but the working poor are being negatively impacted by the booming economy and high cost of living. This is especially the case in housing affordability and housing quality. First Nations communities are concentrated at the lower income levels and see the largest levels of inequality. At the Fortune minerals hearings in Behchokö, a First Nations member of the Tlicho said, “Diamond mining just puts money into the pockets of people from the South and brings differences for our families and communities between haves and have-nots.” Intergenerational equity is also an issue in the NWT. The legacy Heritage Fund is dormant, despite the fact that there is no need to wait for devolution. It could be implemented immediately with the introduction of a resource tax. This could capture over $100 million in revenues annually. Devolution is not a silver bullet. Alberta has control of resource revenue and saves almost none. Devolution will also mean that the federal government will not be giving the same kind of transfer payments to the territory. Taxation There are revenue options that are not being pursued in the NWT today. A resource tax was one of the key items not yet taken up. A look at provincial and territorial tax brackets shows that there are six jurisdictions with a tax rate that is higher for the top income tax bracket than the NWT. This leaves plenty of room for higher tax

rates. This does not include the coming changes: Quebec’s personal combined top marginal income tax rates could spike to as high as 55.22 percent as well as the new Ontarian tax bracket on those whose taxable income exceeds $500,000 and the surtax of 56 percent . Democracy Voter turnout has been falling in the NWT. Voter turnout in the most recent territorial election was the lowest in the territory since 1999, which is the earliest year Elections NWT has data available. About 57 percent voted in 2007’s election, compared to 69 percent in 2003, and 70 percent in 1999. Regulatory capture There are big challenges with regulatory capture in a smaller jurisdiction with such high stakes mining. Industry, Tourism and Investment minister Dave Ramsay said: “Any investment in the NWT is a good investment.” This is clearly indicative of a direction that does not include saying no to a project where the environmental and social stakes are too high. Devolution would only increase these pressures at the national level, the diamond industry is a smaller player in a larger mix of industry interests? At the territorial level, the government is dealing with a much smaller number of companies and the power dynamics are different. Also, there are already elements of regulatory capture at the federal level. The federal government has been directly interfering by pressuring regulatory boards to speed up timelines on behalf of the corporations.

The centralization tendencies of the resource curse can be seen in the NWT where regional structures are under pressure. For example, the regional co-management land and water boards that are in the nascent stage are under review with pressures for them to be centralized. ◉◉◉ Conclusions Alberta is a clear cautionary tale. The NWT is vulnerable and it will be important to ensure that systems are put into place to continue to monitor and manage against the paradox of plenty. It is clear Minister Ramsay was wrong — any resource development is not necessarily a good thing. Without the right social and tax frameworks, it can mean an erosion of an already compromised existence for many. It is critical to ensure that there is a solid framework in place to protect the people against the risks of the resource curse and ensure that if the development goes ahead, it is for the benefit of all, not the few. At the Fortune minerals hearings in Behchokö, over 40 community members spoke about alternative futures for their community. It is also important to be open to and build these alternative futures for communities and the Northwest Territories Even if the resources extraction goes ahead, it is finite and will run its course.◉ Diana Gibson is President at PolicyLink Research and Consulting, Director at The Firelight Group Research Cooperative, and former Director of the Parkland Institute.

Visit northernpublicaffairs.ca for more news & analysis from across the North.

SOCIETY

The economy, governance, & social suffering
Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox
“One job can feed four families. If one person is working he can support others to buy gas, nets, go out on the land. One job means a lot in the small communities of the NWT.” — Willard Hagen, Gwich’in aviator and current Chair of the Mackenzie Valley Impact Review Board

Social Suffering in the Northwest Territories aving income to share from one wage-economy job can support others to go out on the land and hunt and fish, an activity that is becoming critically important as food prices rise and housing crises grow in many of the small communities in the NWT. While Yellowknife boasts the highest average household income in the country, the Indigenous populations of places like Paulatuk are living in crises anchored in poverty and the hopelessness specific to colonial conditions. Colonization creates what is known as social suffering: a paradigm drawn from the work of anthropologists and sociologists seeking to account for ways in which government policies and decision making results in massive traumas on a collective scale within targeted populations. Essentially the theory posits that in cases where populations have undergone trauma on a collective scale — war, genocide, colonization — the logical outcomes include social suffering on a collective scale. Colonial traumas range from historical events such as residential school and forced removals and relocations, for example, to ongoing law and policies such as the Indian Act, which continues to lead to dispossession of lands and resources, systemic racism, and ongoing social consequences — where peoples’ cultures, families, communities and autonomy were targeted for erasure and destruction. In the NWT, many think that land claims have helped to address and to some extent mitigate impacts of colonization. Others see land claim agreements as part of the suite of colonial policies that continue to focus on removing Indigenous peoples from the land and alienating them from decision making over their traditional territories, resources, rights, culture and way of life. In the final analysis it seems that even in regions where there are land claims, there is still significant social suffering in the
48 Northern Public Affairs, Special Issue 2013

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forms of poverty, low educational attainment, high incidences of disease, and a variety of other conditions that have been called “third world” by a Adrienne Clarkson, during her term as Governor General of Canada. If we look at living conditions of Indigenous peoples around the world, it is evident that there are two common elements. The first is diversity: different climates, ecosystems, spiritualities, ways of life, languages. The second is that despite these dramatic differences, where Indigenous peoples have experienced colonization, wherever we go in the world we see common manifestations of social suffering. Colonized peoples the world over share a similar pain. This is where the explanatory power of the social suffering paradigm helps us to make sense of common responses in peoples who are oceans apart: wherever there are populations traumatized by colonization, the outcomes are invariably similar. The suffering apparent in NWT communities is not the fault of the people who live there. It is not about them, who they are, their cultures, languages, skin color, or some innate inability to conform. It is not about any of that. Rather, the result of this suffering is the deliberate and sustained policy choices of successive governments that continue to marginalize and dispossess Indigenous peoples of their lands, and so their spirituality, culture and way of life resulting in profound psychological and material impacts. Those policy choices create circumstances where the root causes of suffering are reinforced rather than removed. And when government provides assistance to communities, its policies are directed in ways that do not change the fundamental circumstance that give rise to suffering. Instead the programs and services offered are meant to deal with the symptoms of those policies. Such programs focus on initiatives relating to education, training, addictions treatment and more. While they are needed and necessary, there is also a glaring absence - government does not go beyond providing band-aids to the wounds that its’ own policies inflict. In this way the state positions itself as a savior while in reality it continues with policies perpetuating suffering. So the expectable outcome is that suffering will continue. It will

continue despite land claims agreements, despite self-government deals, despite jobs and training offered by resource extraction projects. What the social suffering paradigm tells us is that until government policies and actions resulting in suffering are changed, the trend will continue. These policies currently manifest in alienating Indigenous peoples from their land through removing control over lands and resources and restricting their decision-making power over their present and future. ◉◉◉ The Economy and Social Conditions The implications of social suffering for the economy in the NWT are far reaching and to some extent require an economic development approach that cannot escape the necessity to have social responsibility at its core. If that approach does neglect social responsibility, it does so at its own peril. Approximately one-third of the NWT Gross Domestic Product is contributed by the resource extraction sector: oil, gas and mining. The resulting economic development has some positive economic impacts: it creates jobs and a tax base, inspires educational attainment and represents a real potential for the material improvement in the lives of many people who live here. However in the Northwest Territories, about half of the population is Indigenous: Dene, Metis ,and Inuvialuit. Scattered over an area of more than a million kilometers, the vast majority of Indigenous peoples live in small, isolated communities far from each other and far from Yellowknife, the seat of our territorial government. These are the places where evidence of suffering is most stark: dirt roads are lined by small, modest homes, many overcrowded and in need of major repair. In these places the jobs are few and many families eat only because family members can still hunt and fish for subsistence. Yet this is a practice that has been hampered in areas such as the Tlicho Region, where it is widely believed that a ban on caribou hunting — a cultural and nutritional mainstay of the people — is a direct result of migratory routes being sacrificed to the diamond mines that now claim that land. This picture is as accurate in the “unsettled” regions as in those where land claim settlement agreements have been reached. In fact, in some communities it is impossible to tell from the look of things if its residents are beneficiaries of a land claim or not. One thing that land claim agreements did man-

age to secure was the creation of a resource management system legislating local involvement in decision making over lands and water use. In many communities in the NWT such involvement is critical because many Indigenous peoples still live on the land. It is also critical because in many of those communities the costs of food and housing are prohibitive for significant portions of the population. Being able to hunt and fish at a level required to sustain the bulk of an extended families’ food consumption is non-negotiable. A mine or extraction project forcing caribou away from their usual migration routes could prove devastating on social, cultural and economic levels, as has been the case for communities in the Akaitcho and Tlicho regions. So a recent unilateral proposal by Canada to do away with regional land and water boards and concentrate decision making power within one “super-board” (centrally located in Yellowknife) is viewed as gutting the heart of NWT land claims, and at the same time, the relationship between Canada and the land claim signatories. This is due in no small part to the reality that Canada is removing decision-making power from the people who must bear the brunt of resource extraction’s negative impacts. There is also the psychological impact of having to watch this decision-making authority transferred to yet another Yellowknife-based institution, far from the reality on the ground. Canada argues regulatory reform is necessary to foster economic investment; that the regulatory process in the NWT is too complex. However seasoned observers, including mining interests, have instead pointed to Canada’s own failure as a serious cause for concern. Decisions on projects languish on the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada’s desk. Moreover, offices at AANDC, which should be peopled with officials charged with moving initiatives forward, remain empty under government hiring freezes. Board appointments are delayed until suitable partisan appointees can be found, who then cause delays in or jeopardize environmental assessment hearings through their ideological grandstanding. These same observers note that the regulatory reform process is not broken in the NWT; it is simply unfinished. The Dehcho and Akaitcho need land claim agreements completed in order for the corresponding regulatory system to be completed. After all, it is those agreements that would create the mechanisms for planning, consultation and decision-making with Indigenous peoples. However instead of resourcing those processes and moving forward, rumors abound that those very tables are to be cut under an unrelated exercises taking place within
Northern Public Affairs, Special Issue 2013 49

AANDC (the federal government has announced it will be cutting “unproductive” negotiations tables — some feeling that “unproductive” is a euphemism for failure to acquiesce to federal negotiating positions). ◉◉◉ Impacts of the Big Picture The trend toward centralizing power at the expense of communities and land claim governments that have established political conventions for sharing power through land claims is a theme prominent within current devolution negotiations in the NWT. The devolution deal will transfer administrative authority over lands and waters to the Government of the Northwest Territories. In those talks, some Indigenous peoples have been represented, and some not. As the details of the agreement leak out it is becoming apparent that devolution will involve the GNWT taking on land claim responsibilities from Canada. It is also apparent that the resources required for undertaking that work will also be transferred to the GNWT, specifically in Yellowknife. Authority that may come to the GNWT (or may stay in Ottawa — at this time it is not clear) is the power to approve or reject resource extraction projects. It is expected that in addition to regulatory reform changes that centralize power in Yellowknife based institutions, the environmental assessment decision making under the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act will either stay in Ottawa or shift to Yellowknife. It seems that under devolution, Indigenous communities will have decreased power over decision-making, and waning influence over how lands and waters in their territories are used. Related to this is what is known as the Resource Revenue Sharing (RRS) Agreement attached to the devolution deal. Canada’s main intent seems to be on keeping rather than sharing. Under the RRS terms, the GNWT can keep up to 5 percent of the Gross Expenditure Base, or about $60 million of resource royalties coming from the NWT. This “keeping” approach on the part of Canada ensures that resource extraction activity will work in conjunction with the power imbalance in the territory to produce a solid foundation for inequality and governance instability. Combining this process with an outdated, 19th century resource royalty regime that sells NWT resources more cheaply than anywhere else in North America, it is widely expected that a cash-strapped GNWT will be pre-disposed to approving resource extraction projects despite evident negative environ-

mental, social and economic impacts. Simply put, the GNWT will need to maximize desperately needed resource revenues available to it under the RRS agreement. Canada and the GNWT both have a variety of policy instruments at their disposal to both alleviate sources of suffering and to establish an approach to devolution and resource revenue sharing that would promote economic and social wellness. Such instruments have been evident at various moments in the past (and in different contexts). Examples include the entrenchment of power sharing as the basis of governance through resource management regimes as per the political conventions developed under the Dene claims; the establishment of a social impact fund, as was the case with the Mackenzie Gas Project, where all impacted regions would access funding to address specific impacts in accordance with their own needs; building in measures to establish a Permanent Fund as Alberta did with its resource royalties under Premier Lougheed; the imposition of profit taxes on resource extraction companies as Governor Sarah Palin did in Alaska to ensure the people of that state benefited from high oil prices; and Stabilization Funds, employed outside of North America, that make funds available in ways that “smooth out” the boom and bust tendencies of resource based economies. The sad truth is that things do not have to be the way they are in the NWT. Approaches to shaping the territorial economy must begin with a NWT government prepared to fight for the interests of the people, and to preserve and foster strong relationships between the different regions and competing interests. When the going gets tough, it is relationships that carry a territory as diverse as the NWT through difficult times. In the current climate, where social suffering is rampant, and devolution and regulatory reform are being shaped largely by the interests of those faraway and narrowly impacted, relationships — between governments, regions and people - are unraveling. The Government of Canada would do well to consider that its approach to opening up the North for business is seriously destabilizing it well into the future, economically, socially and politically.◉
Dr. Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox is a Research Associate with the Institute of Circumpolar Health Research in Yellowknife and also holds appointments as an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto Dalla Lana School of Public Health and the Department of Political Science. She is a Research Associate with the Canadian Circumpolar Institute at the University of Alberta; and a Research

50 Northern Public Affairs, Special Issue 2013

THE ESSAY

Pathways to homelessness: Rural-urban migration & housing insecurity in Yellowknife and Inuvik, Northwest Territories
Julia Christensen

Photo credit: Julia Christensen.

ince the late 1990s, homelessness in Northwest Territories urban centres has been a significant public concern. The emergence of visible homelessness in places like Yellowknife and Inuvik seemed to coincide with a resource development boom, however the nature of homeless peoples’ experiences point to contributing factors that are much more complex. At the Northern Governance and Economy Conference in Yellowknife, “Pathways to Prosperity”, housing insecurity and homelessness were repeatedly cited by presenters and conference attendees alike as significant obstacles to real and meaningful “prosperity” in the territory. Yet these obstacles are unevenly experienced by Northerners. For example, homeless men, women, and children in the territory are disproportionately Indigenous: anecdotal evidence suggests that between 90-95 percent of the visibly homeless population is Dene, Métis, or Inuit (Christensen 2011; Falvo 2011). Housing needs are also highest in small, Northern settlements where

S

populations are predominantly Indigenous, which suggests that homelessness and housing insecurity disproportionately affect Indigenous Northerners in Northern settlement communities. These disparities point to a geography of uneven development (Smith 1994) that threatens to further entrench socioeconomic disadvantage, particularly between urban and rural places. This structural disadvantage, though challenging for all Northerners detached from the urban hubs of socioeconomic opportunity, is particularly dire for Northerners who experience additional social vulnerabilities to homelessness, such as people in crisis. In my research (Christensen 2009, 2011, 2012), I have found that while the homeless population is growing in Northern urban centres like Yellowknife and Inuvik, many of the homeless men and women in both urban locales originate from smaller, rural Northern “settlement” communities. In my presentation to the “Pathways to Prosperity” conference, I

Inuvik, Northwest Territories, 2011.

examined the specific role of Northern rural-urban dynamics in a different kind of pathway: pathways to homelessness. However, while the current Northern economic landscape suggests deepening divides between large and small communities, we must also consider the growing socioeconomic disparities within large and small communities as well. ◉◉◉ Northern settlement and housing A geography of socioeconomic unevenness between Northern rural settlements and Northern urban centres tends to widen through resource extractive industries and urbanization (Abele 2006). Yellowknife and Inuvik both grew in large part through the development of a non-renewable resource industry, as well as expansion in federal and territorial administrative activity. Meanwhile, most Northern rural settlement communities are instead the result of the Canadian government’s resettlement policy of the mid-20th century, which was a deliberate effort to centralize previously nomadic Indigenous populations across Northern Canada (Wenzel 2008). As a result, many Northern settlement communities were not formed around a stable economic base, and a critical shortage of formal sector employment opportunities persists (Bone 2003; Collings 2005). Today, the uneven development of the Northern economic landscape is accelerated through major resource development projects, such as diamond mines and oil and gas development, where economic activities, including employment opportunities and private market housing, are concentrated in urban centres (Abele 2006). Similar forms of rural-urban disparity are reflected in the geography of Northern housing. While Yellowknife and Inuvik are two of only five Northwest Territories communities with functional private housing markets, much of the housing stock in Northern settlements is public or employee housing (GNWT 2010). Dependency on public housing is compromised by the high rates of “core housing need” in the vast majority of settlement communities. Core housing need is a term used by both the federal and territorial governments to refer to housing that does not meet adequacy, suitability, and affordability norms. In total, 35.5 percent of households experience core housing need in the rural settlement communities, with some communities reporting that as many as 77 percent of households are in core housing need (ibid 2010). These uneven economic and housing geogra52 Northern Public Affairs, Special Issue 2013

phies lay the foundation for growing homelessness in the territory, leading to a series of factors that encourage or necessitate rural-urban movement, particularly by community members who already face ‘compounded disadvantage’ related to trauma, family violence, the child welfare system, or intellectual disabilities (Pleace 1998). ◉◉◉ Rural-urban migration and pathways to homelessness in the Northwest Territories This article is based upon fieldwork that took place from 2007 to 2010 in Yellowknife and Inuvik, Northwest Territories. I am a non-Indigenous scholar, born and raised in the Northwest Territories, with many years experience as an advocate for homeless people in the territory. My relationships and familiarity with homeless men and women in both communities, as well as support providers, greatly facilitated this research. In total, I conducted 95 interviews with homeless men and women using a biographical interview approach to illustrate “the factors shaping a person’s movements in and out of homelessness” (May 2000, 615). I also conducted 55 in-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with representatives from the territorial and Aboriginal governments, representatives of non-governmental organizations, and support providers. In this article, I explore two main factors guiding the rural-urban migration of Indigenous Northerners at risk of homelessness, factors that connect to the many themes highlighted over the course of the “Pathways to Prosperity” conference: 1) the concentration of economic opportunities in Northern urban centres; and, 2) chronic housing need in small, Northern settlements. In a previously published article (Christensen 2012), I provide a more comprehensive assessment of the push-pull factors shaping rural-urban migration of Northern men and women at risk of homelessness. For the purposes of the conference, however, I wanted to focus in on the key economic and governance elements of Northern homeless geographies. ◉◉◉ Employment and educational opportunities in Northern urban centres The concentration of employment, education, and training opportunities in Northern urban centres provides a significant draw for all Northerners.

In both Inuvik and Yellowknife, employment prospects are a key contributing factor behind the rural-urban migration of research participants (Christensen 2012). The rise in industrial development, particularly in the areas of diamond mining and oil and gas exploration, make Yellowknife and Inuvik hubs for employment in the resource sector and related industries. Though moving for employment prospects is relatively common among the Northern population in general (Gardner 1994), a shared characteristic among homeless men and women is the particular type of employment they have access to: highly variable, often seasonal in nature, and often low paying (Christensen 2009). The resulting job instability exacerbates what is already a precarious housing situation for renters in Yellowknife and Inuvik. Employment security is also threatened by another common characteristic among research participants: a criminal record. A support provider in Yellowknife indicated that:
Most employers now use a criminal record as a screening tool. It is a huge barrier. You can apply for a pardon, but there is a very long wait (approximately five years) and generally people do not explore that option until they have an actual job offer on the table and of course by then, it just won’t happen fast enough for you to be able to take that job.

A series of changes in the employment policy landscape in the territory have had a particular impact on those at-risk of homelessness. This not includes the implementation of criminal records checks, but also of certification standards. The increased standardization around employment is linked closely to the nature of the territorial economy and the hiring policy changes introduced by industry, such as the diamond mines and oil and gas companies. These large companies require the businesses they hire on contract to share the same standards. This inflexibility contributes to a sense of ‘no more second chances’, particularly since it is in these industries that many homeless people seek work. Furthermore, most minimum wage, entry level positions in the service sector also screen for criminal records, preventing employment in those areas as well. The result is often a reliance on odd jobs or, in the case of some, selling carvings or other arts and crafts for a bit of cash. The uneven landscape of educational opportunities is an additional motivator for movement to Yellowknife and Inuvik. Adult educational and training opportunities, particularly those geared towards employment in resource development, tend to be concentrated in urban centres, and many are

financially supported by the industries in question. For homeless research participants, however, plans for education were often interrupted by homesickness, loss of housing due to poor grades or attendance, or relationship problems with a partner. Furthermore, a lack of adequate formal education and training contributes to job insecurity and low wages. Standardization around trades employment presents a significant barrier to men and women who are otherwise skilled but are unable to access the higher wages and more stable employment available if one has the necessary accreditation. As Merle, a man who has been staying at an emergency shelter in Inuvik on and off over the past five years says, “you need your schooling these days, you need your ticket to work in trades”. In the past, Merle said, he had been able to find good work as a carpenter, despite the fact that he had no formal training. This same flexibility no longer exists in Inuvik and Yellowknife, making it difficult to participate in the wage economy in any consistent way without formal training. Both Yellowknife and Inuvik are perceived by homeless research participants as places of economic and social opportunity, a perception that often motivates rural-urban movement. However, once in these larger urban centres, employment insecurity or obstacles in education and training programs, combined with life challenges such as addiction, contributes to many individual pathways to homelessness through their interaction with the exclusive, and sometimes punitive, housing and employment landscapes (Christensen 2009). ◉◉◉ Core housing need in Northern settlement communities While employment and education opportunities act as a pulling factor to Northern urban centres, core housing need in small Northern settlements often pushes men and women at risk of homelessness from their home communities. In many small, Northern communities, efforts to change or improve housing circumstances require leaving home in search of accommodation in larger centres, where housing options are more diverse. Close to half of all homeless research participants mentioned a lack of housing options in their home community as a reason behind their rural-urban move (Christensen 2012). However, though there is a larger number of public housing units and a more diverse private rental housing stock in Yellowknife and Inuvik, housing inaffordability, a lack of public housing for single
Northern Public Affairs, Special Issue 2013 53

adults, and an exclusive, low-vacancy private rental housing market present significant barriers to people at risk of homelessness (Christensen 2009). Overcrowding or a lack of privacy can exacerbate already strained relationships with family or friends. The desire to escape a negative situation was frequently described by research participants as a key motivator behind a rural-urban move. Monica, a young homeless woman in Yellowknife indicated that she moved to Yellowknife to leave a violent partner. At home, there was no alternative accommodation, nor did she feel safe staying in the community. In the end, the only suitable option was for her was to leave the community in search of housing in Yellowknife. Monica’s story touches on the gendered nature of rural-urban migration among those at risk of homelessness. For women, experiences of family violence as well as having children placed in foster care in Yellowknife were common factors behind rural-urban movement. Meanwhile, in Yellowknife and Inuvik, single adults are particularly hard hit by the limited amount of affordable housing. While public housing is available to some extent for families, it is very limited for single adults, which leaves them instead highly vulnerable to the fluctuations and whims of a private housing market. Private rental housing markets, on the other hand, are highly exclusive, discriminatory and effectively controlled by a small handful of rental companies, which exacerbates housing inaffordability and inaccessibility for homeless men and women. Single adults unable to secure rental housing must then turn to the emergency shelter, where many homeless men and women stay consistently for years. In light of the difficulties faced in larger centres vis-à-vis housing, employment, and social adjustment, several of these homeless men and women move back and forth from their home community several times, prompted by the high cost of living in larger centres, as well as additional social and economic barriers, combined with the high social cost of relocation away from home (Gardner 1994). However, the same factors that motivated the initial move away from home generally did not take long to emerge again. Core housing need, and the related strains on social relationships, was a frequent incentive for rural-urban migration in this study. When no alternative accommodation is available at home, or when there is a strong desire to distance oneself from troubles with family and friends, the push towards regional centres, with a greater diversity in housing options, is strong. However, the cost of housing in
54 Northern Public Affairs, Special Issue 2013

both Yellowknife and Inuvik, the stiff competition for private rental units, and the high demand for public housing units, collectively create a tight housing market that effectively shuts out many Northern residents (Christensen 2009). ◉◉◉ Pathways to homelessness? While rural-urban migration is common across Canada, it is intensified in the Northwest Territories by a geography where the relative economic disadvantage of rural settlements is exacerbated through the uneven geographies generated through resource-extractive economic development (Abele 2006). The absence of policy geared towards economic and infrastructural development in Northern rural settlements accentuates this disadvantage by passively encouraging movement to urban centres (Gardner 1994). Meanwhile, in Yellowknife and Inuvik, inaccessibility of public housing, high cost of living, housing inaffordability, employment insecurity, as well as the many temptations of urban life, make both locales challenging environments for those at-risk of homelessness (Christensen 2009). A Northern housing strategy, one that includes funding to not only replace or repair old housing units, but also to add to the overall affordable housing stock in small and large communities, is urgently needed in order to ensure all Northerners have a basic need like housing met. At the same time, there is a tremendous need for supportive housing programs that combine needed social supports, such as counselling or skills development, with social housing. Though economic and housing disparities guide rural-urban movement, the majority of homeless men and women in both Yellowknife and Inuvik mentioned trauma and substance misuse as additional and significant obstacles. Alongside the social factors that underscore experiences of crises and addiction, the geography of treatment options seems to further entrench the relationships between people in crisis, addiction, and homelessness. Though there is some formal mental health support available in small communities, addictions treatment services are very sparsely distributed across the territory. In total, there is only a 28-day residential addiction treatment program in Hay River and a two-week detoxification program offered in conjunction with the Salvation Army in Yellowknife. The need for both an expanded mental health program that addresses trauma, as well as ex-

panded addictions treatment services was repeatedly mentioned in interviews with both support providers and homeless men and women. Neither private nor government housing stocks on their own currently accommodate the needs of homeless men and women, which include supports related not only to trauma and addiction, but to domestic violence, lack of employable skills, and so on. All told, the housing spectrum for homeless single adults is tenuous and threadbare. The lack of adequate supportive housing is a particularly glaring gap in this spectrum and one that relates directly to the persistence of Northern homelessness. Any effective strategy aimed at alleviating Northern homelessness and building “pathways to prosperity” for all Northerners must be multi-faceted and encompass housing need alongside economic, institutional, social, and health needs as well. Effective policy strategies must also be rooted in a comprehensive understanding of the territorial geography of Northern homelessness: visible homelessness in Yellowknife and Inuvik is, in many ways, closely tied to socioeconomic conditions in small, Northern settlements. Therefore, interventions need to be developed that encompass both the rural and urban sides of the Northern homelessness spectrum.◉
Julia Christensen is a Trudeau Scholar, SSHRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Geography at the University of British Columbia, and a Research Associate with the Institute for Circumpolar Health Research in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. References Abele, F. 2006. Education, training, employment, and procure ment: submission to the Joint Panel Review for the Mackenzie Gas Project. Prepared on behalf of Alternatives North. http://www.alternativesNorth.ca/pdf/EmploymentTrainingEducationProcurement.pdf Bone, R. 2003. The Geography of the Canadian North. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Christensen, J. 2009. ‘Everyone wants to have a place’: homelessness, housing insecurity, and housing challenges for single homeless men in the Northwest Territories, Canada. In Proceedings, 14th International Congress on Circumpolar Health, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Yellowknife: Institute for Circumpolar Health Research. ----. 2011. Homeless in a homeland: Housing (in) security and homelessness in Inuvik and Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. PhD Thesis, McGill University, Quebec. ----. 2012. “They want a different life”: rural Northern settlement dynamics and pathways to homelessness in Yellowknife and Inuvik, Northwest Territories. The Canadian Geographer 56(4): 419-438. Collings, P. 2005. Housing policy, aging, and life

course construction in a Canadian Inuit community. Arctic Anthropology 42(2): 50-65. De Verteuil, G. 2005. Welfare neighborhoods: anatomy of a concept. Journal of Poverty 9 (2): 23-41. Falvo, N. 2011. Homelessness in Yellowknife: an emerging social challenge. Ottawa, ON: Social Economy Research Network of Northern Canada. Gardner, P. 1994. Aboriginal community incomes and migration in the NWT: policy issues and alternatives. Canadian Public Policy/Analyse De Politiques 20(3): 297-317. Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT). 2005. Homelessness in the NWT: Recommendations to improve the GNWT response. Yellowknife: Government of the Northwest Territories. ----. 2006. NWT Addictions Survey. Yellowknife: Government of the Northwest Territories, Health and Social Services. http://www.hlthss.gov.nt.ca/pdf/reports/mental_health_and_addictions/2006/english/ nwt_addiction_survey.pdf ----. 2010. 2009 NWT Community Survey: Housing Component. Yellowknife: Government of the Northwest Territories, NWT Bureau of Statistics. IIC (Inuvik Interagency Committee). 2003. Homelessness in Inuvik: Report to the Inuvik Homelessness Committee. Unpublished report. Inuvik: Inuvik Interagency Committee. ITK (Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami). 2004. Backgrounder on Inuit and Housing. In Housing Sectoral Meeting. Ottawa: Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami. May, J. 2000. Housing histories and homeless careers: a biographical approach. Housing Studies 15 (4): 613-638. ----. 2009. Homelessness. In The International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, eds. R. Kitchen and N. Thrift. Oxford: Elsevier. Nunavut Housing Corporation (NHC). 2004. Nunavut ten-year Inuit housing action plan: a proposal to the Government of Canada. Iqaluit: Nunavut Housing Corporation and Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. NWTHC (Northwest Territories Housing Corporation). 2009. 2009/10 Annual Business Plan. Yellowknife: Northwest Territories Housing Corporation. Pleace, N. 2003. Single homelessness as social exclusion: the unique and the extreme. Social Policy and Administration 32(1): 46-59. Smith, N. 1994. Uneven development: nature, capital, and the production of space. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press. Webster, A. 2006. Homelessness in the Territorial North: state and availability of the knowledge. Report prepared for the Housing and Homelessness branch, Human Resources and Social Development Canada. Ottawa: MaxSys Consulting. YHC (Yellowknife Homeless Coalition). 2007. Planning for Phase III of the Community Plan to Address Homelessness in Yellowknife. Yellowknife: Yellowknife Homelessness Coalition.
Northern Public Affairs, Special Issue 2013 55

IN CONVERSATION

Raising-up hunters & protectors once again: The Unaaq Men’s Association
Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox & Tommy Palliser naaq” is the word for harpoon in the Inuktitut dialect of the people of Inukjuak in Nunavik. A tool, that according to Tommy Palliser, the group’s Treasurer “is crucial for men to have. Without it you are stranded. You cannot survive.” Located on Hudson’s Bay, at the mouth of the Inuuksuak River, the fly-in Inuit community of Inukjuak (Inuktitut: ᐃᓄᒃᔪᐊᒃ) faces many of the same challenges as communities across the North. The community, with a population of 1,597 today, has a somewhat typical history for an Indigenous people: it is the site of a former fur-trading post and Anglican mission (in the 1950s it also became a source of Inuit for Canada’s High Arctic Relocation program). In more contemporary times, Inuuksuak faces increasing demand for resource extraction on their lands amid the backdrop of a colonial burden that includes poverty and the consequences of residential school. Inukjuak residents are now struggling with what seem to be the twin problems of cultural retention and economic development. Often seen as incompatible by outside governments and funding agencies that usually emphasize one or the other, a group of men in the community have proven that theory wrong. The activities of the Unaaq Men’s Association demonstrates that instead of being countervailing problems, economic and cultural strength can actually be twin pillars of social and economic wellness. In response to a series of tragic suicides by young men in the community during 2001, the women of Inukjuak put out a challenge to the men who would eventually form the Association. They went on community radio and asked us: “what are you going to do about this, how are you going to help each other?” Tommy Palliser grew up in Inukjuak and from early on knew that his choices were limited by the economic circumstances in that small community. By early adulthood, he also realized that his choices were further limited by not having extensive land skills. Enrolling in a two-year Heritage Training Program focusing on developing those skills on the land changed his life. Strengthening his cultural knowledge and abilities, and experiencing a profound personal transformation as a result, opened his eyes to the situation of other young men, who he
56 Northern Public Affairs, Special Issue 2013

“U

says “are schooled to live in the south, but we live in the North.” That realization prompted him to focus on efforts to provide youth with the tools and confidence necessary to live in the North and within their own culture. Tommy recounts the origins of the Unaaq Men’s Association as a response to an event that was symptomatic of much larger issues: hopelessness created in part by low attainment in both formal schooling and cultural knowledge. “The school system,” Palliser notes, “creates a dependency where that system is supposed to raise children. But the education they get does not fully prepare them to go into employment or business. And most are also not fully able to hunt or survive on the land.” The Men’s Associations answer to this problem focused on building skills and knowledge intended to both require and create wellness, organized around activities and projects that would also foster individual and collective economic benefit. Since undertaking their task, the efforts and achievements of the Association have been transformative for the community. “We started out with a budget of about $5,00010,000 a year, now we have revenues of $600,000 - 800,000 per year. The association has created full time jobs, promotes the traditional economy, employs Elders, and provides the opportunity for young men in the community to become strong in their cultural knowledge so that they can become strong leaders.” On any given day, men from the community are employed to lead skill-building workshops that are relevant and immediate for the men in their communities as well as their families. Elders teach tool-making: from harpoons (unaaq) to crossbows (qukiuttaujaq), snow knives (panaq) to kayaks, as well as the knowledge and acumen necessary to wield these tools with confidence and precision of technique necessary to propel the learner to achieving their goals. In another, more recent iteration of the tool program, the Association has started to employ men to produce wooden versions of the tools as toys for children. A small engine repair shop hosts three full-time small engine mechanics, complemented by a recycling centre whose manager will oversee the recy-

Photo credit: Tommy Palliser.

cling and reclamation of engine parts and building materials that would otherwise rot unused at the local dump. Another vital resource, especially for a community depending extensively on hunting and fishing using skidoos, ATVs, is an outboard motor repair service. While an ultimately unsustainable service when provided under a for-profit model, the Association deploys a combination of economic development funding and low-profit margin to keep the service afloat. In addition to providing mechanic services, the enterprise also makes shop space and tools available for locals to work on their own equipment. “We started out in a borrowed building. Now we have four buildings to work out of, and the space is available to local people to do their own building and repair work. We have also built shelters for camps and places on the land. The Elders especially appreciate this. At places for example like the soapstone quarry, it allows them to stay out overnight, to spend more time there together.” The economic benefit to the community is considerable. “Inexpensive skidoo maintenance is so important to people who go out on the land” Palliser adds. The association focuses and builds on the types of activities and services that work with the skills and interests of Inuit and which strengthen cultural and land connections. Building infrastructure supporting land-based activities at well-used locations near the community is one of the more visible impacts of the Association’s activities. In 2011 alone, six emergency shelter cabins were towed to regularly-used waypoints and camping sites on hunting routes surrounding the community. And the association has held a series of ongoing skill development workshops that build a basic set of skills and knowledge essential for land-

based survival and success. These have included GPS-based navigation training to complement landbased knowledge techniques; land and water based hunting and fishing (seal, goose, fish) excursions with adult and youth; First Aid training for remote and wilderness contexts as well as the work place; a soapstone collecting trip; kayak repair and tool building. The list goes on. The pride and sense of accomplishment the activities generate are felt in the wider community, as youth work closely with adult and Elder role models, and both men and women participate in skills development workshops, benefitting from the services provided by the association. According to Palliser, the other impacts of the men’s association may not be as visible but are likely being felt within the community. “A lot of the young men we work with, after a couple of years there is a change in them. They are more confident in themselves. They have more skills than when they started, for example they have new opportunities open to them if they are trained in First Aid or as guides and can put that together with the land-based and cultural knowledge they have gained.” Stephanie Irlbacher-Fox: You seem passionate about this organization. What inspired you to become involved and what keeps you focused? Tommy Palliser: I never desired working in the south. I knew I had the ability to excel in areas like business and looked at what jobs were available. I noticed that the one job in Inukjuak that might be interesting was the Northern Store Manager position. The managers were always changing. I thought that maybe I could do that. In college I went into the social sciences at first but nothing interested me

Members of the Unaaq Men’s Association, Inukjuak, Nunavik, 2012.

except business. I grew up without an Inuit father figure but had an adopted father since I was a child. Although I had uncles and cousins who would spend time with me — and I am grateful to them for teaching me — it was difficult to learn traditional skills, to get the full education of how to live on the land, to have regular experience of that. My family went through some tough times, and I was pretty young when I had to take on the role of provider. In 1994-95 I enrolled in what was then called the Heritage Training Program. It changed my life and was a dream come true to be connected with my cultural knowledge. The Elders were not easy on us. We would work at it six days a week. We would have to build igloos, and sleep in them. We went hunting for wolf, polar bear, and caribou. We had to live on our own on the land and that often meant struggle. It meant a lot to me to be intact with cultural traditions. Have you been surprised by the Men’s Association’s success? I am fairly surprised by its success. There are no other men’s associations of this kind in our region, Nunavut or the NWT. I’ve looked for other models for associations that have these kinds of goals and impacts in communities. We are breaking new ground and creating a new kind of entity that focuses on traditional activities but with a “modern” organizational structure that is actually creating jobs. But it depends directly on our hard work as board members and employees to make it work. Are there obstacles or disappointments? There are. In the beginning we had high turnover rates with employees. It was hard to retain people when we demand so much from them. We are trying to promote a traditional structure of the organization that is consistent with our culture, and the challenge is that we need people who have certain qualifications to do the work. So in the short term it is moving from hiring people who are not from the community in administrative roles toward hiring Inuit who have the skills to do that work. Over the long term the challenge is to keep the community involved. In the beginning we had challenges getting kids to wake up in the morning or finding proper clothes for them to withstand the -40C temperatures. Those are challenges we see over time are changing. Another challenge is to develop new projects and foster fresh ideas. For example we have a new focus on dog team training. That will be inter58 Northern Public Affairs, Special Issue 2013

esting for the next few years. We are also looking at ways to start promoting kayaking again. Right now manufactured kayaks are out of reach for most Inuit, but the kayak is an important tool for fishing. So we are looking into working on a program that will revitalize kayaking in a way that supports people being on the land. Such new developments also help to keep the community involved and supportive. What are the most significant economic and social impacts of the association? The small engine repair shop has been in operation for one year and that has had a big direct impact in terms of getting hunters and trappers mobile with skidoos, ATVs , and other small vehicles. If the community didn’t have the shop, people would have to depend on people working in small shacks or outside, which is pretty tough in the cold conditions of winter. The shop has created three full-time jobs and one part-time job. We also have taken on people who have been given community hours through the court system. These are mostly younger people, and in one case, we retained someone during the summer months as a helper. This was a positive experience to have older men working with and mentoring younger men. So to provide this service is rewarding not only financially but to be appreciated by the people because you are repairing their vehicles. In our first year we have repaired over 400 vehicles and the community is appreciative of that work. Why is keeping your culture at the forefront of progress essential? For obvious reasons, I guess! There has been so much change in such a short time. There is talk about Inuit losing culture and language and people worrying about that. The words used among the elders, for example, are in a more sophisticated language: they use more technical words that are tied directly to being on the land, knowing the land, and are used a lot on the land (how the weather is, driving dog teams, hunting). These kinds of technical words, especially relating to some cultural practices such as dog-teaming are not used so much anymore. We are noticing that because the language is not used in this way, its in danger of being lost. We want to make sure it survives. And the end result would be that no matter what change we see in technology, there will still be a resource in our community to keep the language, as well as the related activities, strong. If we don’t have that knowledge, language and land

connection, then we will just become Inuit living a southern way. Fortunately we are not at that point yet. There are people my age who have dropped out of school in grades 6 or 7 and they are living off the land. Some people would consider them failures for dropping out but the knowledge those individuals have is very valuable and will be more valuable as we face changes on our lands and in the world around us. It really depends on what values you have, and our Men’s Association, and our survival as a people, depends on holding as very important the ability to live off the land as Inuit and know and practice and pass on that cultural and land based knowledge. It is important for us to have these values alive and vital in our community to be able to move forward. What have you learned about yourself through this process and about your community? This has taught me that it’s okay to make our mistakes, and we must learn from them. That builds our character and self-esteem as men, and is essential to being a good community member and a good father. Fatherhood requires us to pass on our culture, traditions and values to our children. I have learned a lot from the elders who work with the Men’s Association. Just meeting with them and talking between our breaks has had a big influence on me. Seeing them gives me a strong sense of how I would like to be as an Elder myself. They know so much in terms of cultural heritage and living off the land. They also know their knowledge is valued by the whole community. This is in contrast to the schooling system that uses teachers from the south who teach our youth knowledge that is valued in and useful in the south. When you really look at our situation, valuing of Elders has diminished in part because of the formal school systems that have been put in place. We of course want the youth in our community to be able to function in the south, but we are still very much a Northern people and community. To balance that, the values and knowledge of the Elders should be taught first and foremost. Right now it seems like there are two conflicting values in our communities: there is school five days a week which leaves only one day to go out hunting and fishing (many cannot go on Sundays for religious reasons). It is really hard to pass on the cultural knowledge and values under these kinds of constraints where there is a strict structure, which applies both for work and for school. This is really something

that we have noticed working through our Association when trying to provide land-based activities and lessons. So we have evening courses from 6:00pm to 9:00 or 10:00pm. We will have after school courses for dog sledding starting in January so we are trying to work around the strict schedule. But what I would like to see is to have a four-day work-week or some arrangement that would help us be attached to our culture. There is so much change being pushed on to us (the race for our resources under the Government of Quebec’s Plan Nord a good example. In those initiatives there is not much recognition in terms of our need to live off the land. Our elders became experts out on the land because they have spent most of their time on the land. In contrast, our youth are growing up in the community and barely spending any time on the land. That is a big obstacle and creates the gap that we are trying to close. We are slowly becoming leaders in our own capacity to question the way things are and to promote valuing cultural knowledge and how it is developed: by being on the land. To our association this is the way to keep our Inuit values and culture strong in our community. Where do you see the Association in the next ten years? We have annual general meetings where we sit together to talk about challenges and issues. We are always aware of the threat to our language and culture. As each year passes governments seem to come up with new plans to extract and use our lands and resources. That is where our men’s association is leading the way in terms of developing our own association. We would like to see similar associations developed throughout the North and build a network extending to other areas and other cultures. It would be really interesting to see the way other Indigenous peoples practice their cultures and share knowledge: the Inuvialuit, the Dene. We believe this will develop more camaraderie with different nations and bring them together. With all the residential schools and what has happened to us as Indigenous peoples in the past, and what continues into the present, so much pain has been sustained among the Elders and within our nations. To unite them again through the men taking responsibility and organizing along the lines of valuing their traditional cultures and roles in their communities, that would build up our nations. That would be something I can see in the next ten years as we keep pushing toward our goals.◉

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DELINE

Photo credit: Morris Neyelle.

Charlie Neyelle, Spiritual Leader of Deline.

SPONSORS

The Northern Governance and Economy Conference was made possible by the generous support of these sponsors.

IDLE NO MORE

Idle No More demonstration in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, December 21, 2012. Photograph by Amos Scott.