It has become evident that natural resource development across the country has been playing a key role in the lives of many Canadians including Labradorians. Everything from the proposed XL Keystone pipeline development in Alberta that is strongly advocated by the federal government to the mining of uranium in Labrador. We are much more educated, politically active and involved throughout the civil society than a generation ago.
I live in a very different generation than my grandparents did, but it doesn’t make me any less Inuk. My grandparents hunted and fished in Northern Labrador for survival. They traveled with the seasons and eventually were relocated to settle in Nain with the influence of the provincial government and Moravian missionaries. Their relocation was influenced by institutions that had no understanding of their way of life and the same thing is happening today.
The Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, Kathy Dunderdale, has proclaimed that the environmental assessment on the development of the Lower Churchill project will not hinder the government's decision to move ahead with the plan.
United States representatives are questioning why it is taking such a long time for them to progress with the Lower Churchill development project while there are thousands in the US who need its energy.
The outside influence of institutions who do not understand Labradorians and our connections with the land and its animals are still seeking to influence our lives by seeking to have the final word in our natural resources.
The wording of assessments and agreements by billion dollar multi-national natural resource development companies will seek to persuade one into believing their promises, but Labradorians have survived for centuries without the economic benefits of natural resources.
Like my grandparents, Labradorians still go hunting, fishing and live off the land. We understand our relationship to the ecology that we are surrounded by. It is not a relationship of how much we can gain or how much profit we can get from going hunting or fishing. It is a part of our culture and who we are as Labradorians; A part of our culture that is far more important than economic benefits.
Thank-you for your time,