Bruce Valpy is publisher of Northern News Services Ltd.
There has been heavy criticism of the mining industry in our opinion newspages lately, notably Yellowknifer columnist and community commentator Nancy Vail and Joan Kuyek, formerly national coordinator of Mining Watch Canada.
Both are excellent writers and passionate advocates of all that is good and righteous in this day of climate change. Vail in her column Our own banana republic is dead set against mining while Kuyek in the story “Former head of mining watchdog calls for NWT to change industry” attempts to walk the line between being anti-mining and only allowing mining that doesn’t damage or alter the environment, certainly falling on the side that less mining is infinitely better than more mining, no mining is best.
Good reading but I’m left wondering where these thoughtful advocates are coming from when I read this week’s News/North. On pages 10 and 11: The headline on page 10 is Indigenous self-determination in mineral sector gets a boost. The page 11 headline is 83 percent of NWT inmates are Indigenous. Download the paper here if you didn’t see it – NWT News/North Jan. 24, 2020.
On page 10, Gwich’in Tribal Council Grand Chief Bobbie Jo Greenland-Morgan and Inuvialuit Regional Corporation chair Duane Smith signed off on GNWT regional mineral strategies designed to allow those Indigenous governments to develop their mineral resources.
Are these Indigenous leaders ignoring the climate change threat? Do they not care what mining can do to the land and animals? Are they being bamboozled by royalty hungry GNWT politicians and their mining industry lobbyists? Are they being immoral as Vail suggests? Naive, as Kuyek explains?
For the rest of this column: https://nnsl.com/yellowknifer/collateral-damage-where-do-indigenous-economies-fit-in-climate-change-crusade/