Give Inuit a nibble


The royalty issue letter in your Feb. 6 paper was interesting to read. The writer used a fishing analogy to try and make his point, which is all good, if everyone plays by the same rules.

Early last year, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. and Strongbow Resources Inc. signed an “innovative mineral exploration agreement” that gives the latter the exclusive right to “explore for and mine minerals on 605,000 hectares of Inuit-owned lands.” The land in question is located in the West Kitikmeot region of Nunavut. Strongbow was to incur $1.36 million in exploration expenditures prior to March 31, 2004.

One would think that Inuit-owned firms that provide services to the mining industry would be the immediate beneficiaries of an agreement like this. On a recent contract opportunity, a 100 per cent Inuit-owned company, Nunasi Helicopters, was not even invited to bid on the airborn work that this project offers. Instead, a helicopter company based in Yellowknife was given the contract without so much as a tender.

Who is benefiting from such an agreement if Inuit and Inuit companies aren’t?

If we are going to get paid to fish in our rivers, at least throw us the fish guts to nibble on so that we don’t starve to death,

Charlie Lyall, President
Kitikmeot Corp.
Cambridge Bay

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