Mary River mine at a standstill as hunters’ blockades enter 5th day

Protesters across Nunavut join in solidarity, while 700 Baffinland employees affected by closure

Abraham Kublu (left) a former Pond Inlet hamlet councillor and current Iqaluit resident, was joined by roughly 30 or so others to stage a protest in support of the hunters involved in the ongoing blockade of Baffinland’s Mary River Mine. Amongst those also present was Paul Okalik of the World Wildlife Fund, Iqaluit Mayor Kenny Bell and city councillor Simon Nattaq. (Photo by Dustin Patar)

By Dustin Patar

A blockade of the Mary River iron mine entered its fifth day, as a group of hunters continued its protest of a proposed expansion of the mine. Baffinland Iron Mines Corp., the project’s owner, said the hunters demanded to be recognized as an Inuit association and be paid a portion of the royalties the mine generates.

Although Naymen Inuarak, one of the hunters at the mine site, didn’t use those words specifically, he did say the protest was about being heard and included.

“We would like to see actual negotiations with the most impacted communities and have us involved right away,” said Inuarak, in an interview via satellite phone.

“We’ve been ignored way too long.”

Late last Thursday, a group of seven hunters from Arctic Bay and Pond Inlet arrived at the mine site and shut down the airstrip and road that leads to Milne Inlet, in protest of the mine’s Phase 2 expansion.

There are more than 700 employees at the Mary River project who are affected by the blockades, according to a Baffinland news release issued Monday.

The closure of the airstrip means that all transfers of employees and contractors and all food and supply flights have been suspended.

For safety reasons, Baffinland says that the majority of its operations at the mine have been suspended.

The mining company also said that other north Baffin air traffic services provided by the Mary River airstrip, such as search and rescue, have been suspended.

Despite numerous meetings with organizers at the blockades and in Pond Inlet to relocate off the airstrip, Baffinland says the discussions have not progressed toward a resolution.

Inuarak says that the hunters’ group would like to continue negotiations but has still not heard back from Qikiqtani Inuit Association or Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.

He also says that there was an agreement between the hunters and Baffinland that was supposed to give the protesters access to their facilities and their internet but they’ve been cut off from those services.

“We wanted to ask some questions online and for them to answer,” said Inuarak.“Hopefully the negotiations go better.”

Inuarak also clarified that in the event of an emergency, such as a medevac, the group would temporarily vacate the airstrip.

The hunters blockaded the airstrip and mine last week to protest a proposed expansion of the mine, which was the subject of a Nunavut Impact Review Board hearing that began Jan. 25 and continued through Saturday before adjourning until March. Baffinland says it needs to expand the mine by building a 110-kilometre railroad to Milne Inlet in order to make it financially sustainable.

“Baffinland understands that requests have been made by the organizers to be recognized as a Designated Inuit Organization under the Nunavut Agreement and for a portion of the royalties payable by Baffinland under the Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement to be paid directly to them,” said the release.

“Baffinland hears these requests, but has no right or ability to grant them,” the company said.

Inuarak said that Baffinland and the regional organizations should work directly with the most affected communities.

  • Elder Donat Milortok was joined by a handful of other Naujaat residents on Monday afternoon, Feb. 8, in a show of support for the hunters involved with the ongoing blockade at Baffinland's Mary River mine. (Photo courtesy of Sharon Milortok)

Meanwhile, protests in support of the hunters were held across the territory Monday afternoon.

What began as a protest in Naujaat in support of the hunters, organized by elder Donat Milortok, quickly expanded to Iqaluit, Igloolik and Taloyoak.

Milortok, a former president of Tunngavik Federation of Nunavut, the Inuit organization responsible for negotiating the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement in the 1980s and 1990s, called on Inuit everywhere to protest and call for fair hearings, letting the communities of Pond Inlet and Arctic Bay know that they aren’t alone.

“We have to support our fellow Inuit who are protesting at the Mary River mine while they are struggling to express serious concerns,” Milortok said in an emailed statement.

“Our concern is for the land and for future generations to enjoy the relationship we know with wildlife, animals and the oceans.”

In Iqaluit, roughly 30 residents met in front of the elders’ qammaq — a senior citizens community centre — in solidarity with the hunters. Among those in attendance were Paul Okalik, lead Arctic specialist with the World Wildlife Fund, Iqaluit Mayor Kenny Bell and city councillor Simon Nattaq.

“We all care about the well-being of our fellow Inuit regardless of where they live,” said Okalik. “I’m very proud of my fellow Inuit today.”

As the protests were unfolding across the territory, five more hunters were riding from Pond Inlet to the Baffinland mine site says Inuarak, which would increase the hunters’ group to 12

In addition to bringing supplies, the additional hunters will be joining the protest.

The Nunavut RCMP continues to monitor the situation, saying that the protesters are remaining peaceful.

Update: This story was updated on Feb. 9 to better reflect the objectives of the hunters group.

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(104) Comments:

  1. Posted by Withheld on

    I can just imagine what the employees at the mine are feeling about this especially those that have just finished their shift last week and could by now be back at home with their families but cannot. The life line of the mine is cut off!.

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    • Posted by Jeremy mcmillan on

      A show of good faith would be to allow the production workers to return home to their families.

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      • Posted by James on

        The production workers would probably lose out on pay. Also as soon as a resolution is made things will need to be in full swing. I’m sure if the food is running low, things will be negotiated to allow transportation out.

      • Posted by Serge Gagné on

        Why would it be up to the Inuit to bend over and over again ‼️

        It is rather up to the « PROVINCIAL AND FEDERAL » Governments to act in accordance with the DECLARATION ON INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, the ROYAL PROCLAMATION 👑 OF 1763 as well as to comply with these OWN LAWS .

        Too bad that all CANADIANS HAVE BEEN SLEEPED TO SLEEP SINCE BEAUTIFUL LURETTE CONCERNING OUR HISTORY « We, members of the First Peoples »because no Governments would dare to admit that since the arrival of the white men « Known as ALLOCHTONE » , which they all did for WE ELIMINATED, one after another using different methods such as: emancipations, infectious diseases, kidnapping of children at birth, sale of children for the benefit of the United States 🇺🇸, the dispossession of our territories, and etc …

        So according to you, you would like or would like us « members of the First Nations » to be on our knees 🧎‍♀️ 🧎🏽‍♂️ 🧎 before the Government of CANADA 🇨🇦 and so than those of the Provincial Governments ⁉️

        Instead of this, you « Citizens who live in CANADA 🇨🇦, you could ask to tell yourself the TRUTH about the arrival of the Non-Aboriginals » the white man👨🏻‍🦰in the Territory of the FIRST PEOPLES ‼️ ️

        Ask -their why the Government of CANADA 🇨🇦 and the Provincial Governments of CANADA 🇨🇦 still refuse to accept the Indigenous Peoples Declaration even though the Government of CANADA 🇨🇦 has signed this AGREEMENT but still refuses to apply it because they are afraid of what the DECLARATION could do as PREJUDICE AND HAVE TO PAY 💰 SEVERAL MILLION AND EVEN SEVERAL BILLIONS OF DOLLARS 💵 💸 💵 💸 in financial compensation in addition to being obliged to listen to us during BIG PROJECTS AFFECTING THE ENVIRONMENT AND NATURAL WEALTH.

        So have I told you enough where do I still have to explain the why and how ⁉️⁉️

        I ask you to do your research 🔦 🧐 and also do not hesitate nés 🙈 to talk about it 🗣 to your immediate circle and to share it massively to make it a VIRAL PUBLICATION 📰 .

        Happy reading 📖 and have a good day 🌞.

        👍🏽👋🏽👋🏽

    • Posted by seriously?! on

      Are you seriously worried about workers not being able to go home? Here, the group of hunters that are braving the cold to protect their land and you are seriously worry about people that get free food and a warm place just to make money and destroy the protestors land.

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      • Posted by Please… on

        Enough with the inflamed, hyperbolic nonsense.

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      • Posted by Fact: not their land on

        Nunavut may mean one thing by translation but the fact is that it is NTI and the RIAs like QIA who actually Own the land. Not these hunters. Not individuals. They should be protesting in front of QIAs building and not holding law abiding workers hostage. Baffinland cannot give them what they seek.

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        • Posted by Anonymous on

          Seriously?! I’m sure it isn’t baffinlands land too. Everything in Nunavut belongs to NUNAVUT! IT SHOULDNT BE UP TO BAFFINLAND. ISUMAQSUKAJUA BAFFINLAND

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          • Posted by Communism on

            Baffinland has a lease to use the land. You’re advocating communism saying everyone owns everything. Go vote in a new QIA board to do what you want. They may as well protest the United States Government – Baffinland can do as much to grant these demands as a foreign government.

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        • Posted by Benard on

          It’s actually Pond Inlet’s land. And 99 % of the residents aren’t seeing any benefits to having the mine there.

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          • Posted by Nope on

            Try again. The hamlet of pond inlet does not have boundaries extending to Mary River. you’re spreading misinformation and feeding the falsehood that individuals who don’t want to respect the decisions of the democratically elected QIA rely on that it is legally ‘my land’. It is legally QIAs.

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          • Posted by TheSandwich on

            Pond Inlet does very well with the agreement already in place. They get lease money from the company, not all of it but their fair portion, they also get shipped goods for no cost as the Baffinland Freighters bring in supplies during sealift they stop at Pond Inlet to offload supplies (then proceed through the Fiord while hunters have in the past shot at the ships from the land). They get anything they want including a barrel of free gasoline for every community member over 13, plus a ton of other benefits for their community and yet here they are, going against their current agreements and their appointed officials because they want more, all for land they disputed for years until they learned it had value……. their native land is actually the Northern Quebec area, so it’s just greed motivating both sides, not rights, not environmental concerns, just greed.

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        • Posted by Inuit own land on

          18 percent of the land it own by Inuit. QIA represents the Inuit from Qikiqtaaluk. It’s not actually QIA who owns the land. It’s the beneficiary of that land. And it is called Inuit Own Land. Rest of the land is called Crown land which is own by the Queen.

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        • Posted by Peter m on

          You are very wrong,QIA is run by hunters and individuals they depend on us inuit!. NUNAVUT (OUR LAND)

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      • Posted by Buddha on

        The protest is not about land. The protesters are looking for money. Get your facts straight before commenting. How do I know? I am here on site and I have heard their request. Thank You

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        • Posted by Jen on

          Spin it how you like, this is not so black and white, my friend.

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        • Posted by yaco on

          the land …. the money…. before work, travel or just go for vacation or annywhere in the world! there is one thing To know ….. respect is the key…

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        • Posted by Amos simon on

          The people should have workers coop.Work should be given to people living on that land.also any profits coming out of it.Its there is any pollution or clean up after the company finished with prouduction.The people living on land will have pay for clean up .Did we already forget about what happened at Giant mine.
          The hunter need look up RICHARD WOLFF ON WORKERS COOP.REMENBER SOON HAVE FEDERIAL ELECTION.YOU ARE PROBLEY UNDER FEDERAL LABOUR LAWS. DON’T LEAVE YOUR CHILDERN ANOTHER GIANT MINE

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          • Posted by wrong! on

            you cannot compare gold mining to iron mining, gold mining requires CHEMICALS to get the gold out of waste rock, iron mining requires them to BLAST the rock, they are mechanically separating the iron from the waste rock, so all they are doing is taking a big rock and turning them into little rocks, so before you compare one type of mining to another learn the process first

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          • Posted by Facts Matter on

            What happened at Giant mine was a tragedy and arsenic continues to haunt the lands to this day. Giant was a gold mine using chemicals to separate the gold from the crushed rock (this process is still used today and is responsible for numerous cases of cyanide contamination). Some iron ore mines do use chemicals and have tailings ponds but the iron deposits at Mary River are so pure that this is not necessary. The ore is separated from waste rock, crushed, then shipped. The largest environmental concerns are carbon emissions and iron ore dust (which is not a toxin). There are no tailings ponds to clean up and no smelters belching out Arsenic. This type of mining is among the cleanest in the world.

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        • Posted by everything is about the Land on

          Everything is about the LAND

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        • Posted by Country food on

          Animals are soo effected on top of that phase 2 we’ll be more effective with animals just soo you’ll know more about this

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      • Posted by Truthshallbeheard on

        Not exactly living off the land, when the mine has been providing fuel, meals, gas, coffee etc? I would be pissed if I was stuck there after being away from my family due to this, and calling people down for making a living like they are doing something evil? Go give up your way to provide for your family and then tell me how it looks from your high horse.
        It is the QIA they have an issue with not getting the money they want. The mine can’t give them the money when it’s already been paid to the landowners.

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      • Posted by Justin on

        Yes we do worry about our families. Even if we agree with protesters. These things can get out of hand and as someone with a family member there, that worries me

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      • Posted by stephanie best on

        Protecting their land?? The want royalties from the expansion. That is the reason they have halted all activity. Not to protect their land…Hello!!

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      • Posted by Seriously on

        Those “workers” have families that they haven’t seen in weeks. Some have been denied the opportunity to say goodbye to loved ones that have recently passed away, and all because of those protestors. Those “workers” are human beings just like you and I. They are being held there against their will. They are all simply workers trying to support their families, and have no control over what the hunters are protesting about! But, these hunters are very much responsible for holding these workers captive, and preventing them from returning to their families!

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      • Posted by Sheri on

        My husband is there and I like for him to be able to come home to his family .its not his fault

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    • Posted by Rick Hodgson on

      Their getting paid, the hunters aren’t

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      • Posted by John K on

        Good. Making us look bad shouldn’t pay well

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      • Posted by Anonymous on

        Your argument is too simplistic to rebut against. Obviously more to this situation.

    • Posted by Robert doyle on

      I have worked at this mine site , and if anyone is hurt , blocking the airport for a emergency transport is wrong for all, Safety first

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      • Posted by James on

        Read the article before coming to your own conclusions.

  2. Posted by D B on

    While I support their right to protest, I do not agree with not allowing food to be brought in or planes to allow employees to leave. These protestors preach about doing this for their families yet they are keeping people, who have nothing to do with the issues at hand , away from theirs. As long as they keep the tote road blocked, the operation is at a stand still. They can open the runway while still trying to accomplish their mission!!

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  3. Posted by John on

    This is ridiculous. There are 700 people being held hostage by these armed hunters on site. They are not allowed to leave unless the company somehow meets the ransom demands of these idiots and makes them the official Designated Inuit Organization instead of the QIA. This isn’t even within Baffinland’s power to give them. Baffinland doesn’t pick who the Designated Inuit Organization is. Holding these innocent employees hostage is horrible. I think they have watched too many Trump supporters trying to storm the capital.

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    • Posted by Me on

      Held hostage? I’m not worried about your people in the site who are safe, will warm, eating and have access to the world. I’m worried about my people who are peaceful protesting in extreme cold weather that who make their own supper with little help. More supporters are coming on the way.

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      • Posted by Are you kidding me? on

        Make their own food? lol the mine has been nothing but accommodating and they’ve been eating 3 square meals a day provided by the mine. They even supplied them gasoline to keep their fires burning and they won’t compromise even a little.

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    • Posted by Uninformed on

      I think you should google ‘protesting’ and ‘hostage taking’

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    • Posted by hermann kliest on

      sounds no sillier than uaw, and other organized teamsters. the whole world does it; so why is so strange with this road blockade? ever heard of rio tinto? look at their used land in south American and parts of the world. Look how silence does to the locals, land rendered useless all because of the share holders need for huge profits in EU and part of the world where wealthy lives. owners don’t have to live in pollution created by their hunger for US dollar, francs, Euro or bit-coins, they are in their private islands in the Caribbean, South Pacific or European country sides.

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  4. Posted by Northerner on

    So its finally out…… it IS about money just like everyone thought it was….

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    • Posted by Watching on

      and more about who gets the money…

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      • Posted by Jennifer on

        And why shouldn’t it be. The very people who own and depend on the land get squat. Animals become scarce, harder to find, and for what, the occasional sewing class funded by who? Not QIA. How many times people have to say that they enjoy and depend on their resources, not to be exploited. If baffinland heard no the first dozen times then they would stop pushing phase 2. If QIA followed through with Anything they talked about, we would not be experiencing this…

        … but I am glad the protesters are there, and providing hope for my children and grandchildren, and cousins, all families up here. It’s not right that the benefits are not existant in the northern communities, no matter how many zeros the contracts say.

        It’s like trading fresh water for diamonds while people are in thirst. 3 families to a house, of course it’s about money, and resources, and infrastructure, and stable natural food source. Who are we kidding?

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        • Posted by GO VOTE on

          Go vote out the QIA board and replace them. Don’t like the will of the majority? Go pound sand. Respect the democratic process Inuit instituted 21 years ago.

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          • Posted by Jay on

            Sorry, but it’s not the will of the majority when they have no say. QIAs votes are sly, unadvertised, and under the table. Shown by a max of 8% voter turnout accross the region.

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        • Posted by Truestory on

          First it was about against the expansion of the mine saying it’s bad for the environment. Ok, cool. I can see the impact. But, now it’s about no royalties? Over 700 workers eat breakfast, lunch, supper. Breakfast (average prices) $8.00 to $9.00 a plate, lunch, $8.00 to $9.00, supper, 20 to 25 bucks a plate times over 700 employees. Not to mention a $7,000.00 a day diesel guzzling generators 3 of them running 24/7. You do the math. And the caterer contract belongs to QIA.

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          • Posted by James on

            Well the cost of doing business and importing food in the north is high. I’m sure they don’t care about temporarily receiving meals, as they already survived BEFORE the mine. More should be given to the nearby community directly.. as a joint venture of course.

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  5. Posted by Dominc irksuk on

    I haved been told. I send my resume. I was in black list. Not able to work. As an inuits. It hurts while there in my nunavut own land. Stepping just money making I hope there be cursed in deadly job 1 day…..

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  6. Posted by Kidnapping? on

    Ok I’m just going to call it like it is. Holding people against their will and demanding money (ransom) is kidnapping. There are alternate routes to go about doing business — this one is criminal. Why aren’t these hunters going after the landowners (the QIA), of which they are beneficiaries to.

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    • Posted by Reality on

      QIA has become very strategic over the years in their bilaws. To the point where they dont even have to consult with people or communities if they dont want to. When they do it is a show, and nothing has ever resulted (we are talking years here). It has been very fine tuned, certainly by southern lawyers, so that the current circumstance exists. The dollar sign is meaningful only in Iqaluit. That’s the only place that sees it. Too far away from my home. All we get is a shattered echosystem

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    • Posted by Sheena on

      Pond Inlet owns the land, QIA negotiates, mittimattalikmuit sees no benefits

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      • Posted by Lies on

        Pond inlet does not own the land. Pond inlet is a municipality miles and miles away from Mary River. Nunatsiaq should do a better job preventing dangerous misinformation from being spread on these public boards

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      • Posted by John K on

        Uhhh, no they don’t. NTI owns the vast vast majority of non public lands in Nunavut. Please learn our history and system better. You’re embarrassing.

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  7. Posted by Northern Inuit on

    when I first heard of the protest, I was proud of our fellow Inuit who braved the two day journey from respective Communities for the right to protest. Seeing the pictures of the iron ore dust which plagues the ice, seal holes and hunting areas infuriated me and I wholeheartedly agree with our right to discuss these issues with the Mine.

    But, BUT a newly formed Inuit Organization shutting down critical Airstrip so that Employees can depart home and critical food and supplies being cut off over ROYALTIES that are demanding being paid.

    That’s a whole different ball game. this is not cool Guys.

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    • Posted by Jenavie on

      This article is bigtime misleading, because baffinland is frustrated, and rightfully so. Thats why both newspapers put out the same story at the same time. No one is demanding royalties, they are demanding RECOGNITION AND REPRESENTATION!

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      • Posted by John K on

        … and money

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  8. Posted by Artie on

    This is what happens when Inuit beneficiaries are getting short end of IIBA stick from NTI & their own RIO (QIA). And getting railroaded (no pun intended) by Baffinland over jobs. 700 employees currently grounded at mine… likely 600 are from south. So yes! hunters have a legit gripe. Run a ‘fackin’ railroad thru their traditional hunting grounds (that are already impacted) to a port so co. can double production… if I was there would join the group on airstrip.

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    • Posted by Worker on

      Yea it’s all people from the south currently, it’s to stop the possible spread of Covid to communities, look what happened in Arviat, it spreads like wild fire, there are Inuit who live in the south at work right now, everyone seems to forget, all Northern BIM employees are at home being PAID

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      • Posted by Stop complaining on

        Yes there are no locals there because of covid… they have been sitting at home with full wages

  9. Posted by anti uranium viniq on

    Food for 700+ people is not going to last. Protesters should just block the roads, not the runway. What does QIA has to say to this? They get all the royalties.

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    • Posted by Artie on

      QIA’s objectivity is clearly skewed due to receiving the $ M’s of royalties from Baffinland. That is all they see. These royalties allow QIA $$ to build a chinese pre-fab hotel/resto/bar/conference center in Iqaluit & other lame duck Iqaluit business enterprises that have failed miserably over the yrs. And of course to pay the lofty salaries, benefits & travel benefits to QIA staff that couldn’t get a job otherwise if qualifications & performance were a job requirement. It is sad for the hunters & poor Inuit in the catchment area of Baffinland that rely on the wildlife & govt SA to survive. Probably Baffinland wishes they could negotiate directly with the impacted communities’ vs. QIA & NTI.

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      • Posted by Copperinuk on

        Exactly, just like kugluktuk with diamond mine.No RIO involved just our community! And that’s due to strong local government.

        • Posted by CopperInuk1 on

          What you boast of? Less then peanuts.

          Compare what is given then look at dollar figures for the other communities up the river who are less affected…1m.2…1.m6. Kugluktuk settled for 300k.

    • Posted by Reba on

      EXACTLY. ….. YOU NAILED IT

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    • Posted by Violence certain on

      If the military or rcmp do not pull this militia off the airstrip soon the 700 workers are going to have no choice but to go out there and get it done. Self preservation.

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      • Posted by Anonymous on

        Don’t suggest that. I have family there and I definitely do not want that. I just want my son home safely

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        • Posted by Keep Calm on

          I wouldn’t be too worried about that. Working at an iron mine in the Arctic takes patience and a good temperament. Management constantly communicates with the workers to keep things controlled and calm. Baffinland won’t let things escalate on their end. As long as everybody keeps talking this should be over soon.

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      • Posted by Anonymous on

        I just want my son home safely. Please do not suggest vigilante justice

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  10. Posted by It’s not that noble on

    I know those communities are impacted. But if they want to break away, I want the world to know how selfish they are. When and if other resource development happens elsewhere in Baffin I want them shut out.

    Why stop there? Maybe the individual HTOs should be the RIO. Do it alone and small. No regional support. Everyone in it for themselves.

    Fed up.

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  11. Posted by Sled dog on

    It is all about royalties. Get an injuction, get it served, make arrests if necessary.

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  12. Posted by Not blind on

    Nobody is armed, and hostages? What do you call us Inuit being Robbed of our own land? Not just robbed, but ruining our land. Our animals that many depend on for food, survival and for clothing are being driven away from their grounds and home land! Please explain to us how our land and animals will be replaced. Not only are we speaking for our land, we are also voicing the royalties that we the inuit was sapose to get. Do we have shame in being upset or the protest for our rights on our land, with our animals, and the royalties? Nope! They are not just demanding money, this is for our future, our children’s future, our land! Our animals! Our way of life! This means more than money. Now that these “700” people are getting a taste of what we Inuit have been robbed of for decades, its not right that we stand?! Remember this, we are the highest tax payers in all of Canada, we have the most over crowded homes, the housing shortage is outrageous! Not to mention poverty! The education system is behind. The health care system can be a joke, the list can go on and on!

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    • Posted by D on

      Those 700 workers don’t deserve a “taste” of anything. They have no say in any decisions the company, government or any board makes. You have the lowest tax rate in the country and those workers have to pay it, as well as their own provincial tax. They are there to do their jobs to support their families. Nothing more!!

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      • Posted by taxes shmaxes on

        The protestors are also doing nothing less than their jobs and protecting their families. If you believe in climate change, they may be protecting all our families.

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  13. Posted by Questions questions on

    All of the concerns about caribou in the area of the mines but I have yet to see anyone question what effect the Mine has had on the caribou. If I go back and look at studies done, it seems the caribou were declining long before the Mines were in operation. Both from normal migration changes and I suspect from overhunting nor have they returned. So I don’t understand why the caribou is one of the issues.

    Comments?

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    • Posted by calving ground on

      You have no clue about the land around there don’t you? Nulujaa (mary river) is the calving ground for the caribou or was anyway… If you have paid attention or was educated about how animals migrate or follow their vegetation. They move to where there food are. and if the land is contaminated, the caribou will not go back. this is why Inuit worked so hard to make sure BIM follows Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit. Any of the leadership from BIM have no clue about the land or animals. I heard that they brought a biologist but was not a caribou specialist. BIM just want to make money.

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  14. Posted by Tytusi on

    F**K QIA and NTI. This has been brewing for a long time and it finally erupted. Those DIO’s do not listen to those they supposed to represent. Ever since PJ Aqiaruq became President of QIA, along with the old guard, Levi Barnabas and Olajuk akisuk they have ignored Qikiqtani people especially North Baffin. Immature “Leader”. We are pissed off at you “Leaders of QIA”. You should resign.

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  15. Posted by Name withheld on

    As like the human body, the land also is a living soul, for example you take a body part, the body will not work as it use to. You need to take care of it to maintain a healthy life.

    The land is rich in minerals as like our blood. You destroy part of it, it sure to look elsewhere to feed just as the animals do.

    As the elders stated from Pond the mining industry has damage the sustainability living. What has happen in Baffin will surely happen in Kivalliq and Cam-Bay too.

    It’s unfortunate but it will happen and the sad part is we are all raise to respect any living thing but the fact the matter is everyone who voted in favor of the mining companies to prospect and give employment to the community , has forgotten that the land itself is a living breathing oxygen that supports all of us all.

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  16. Posted by Hunter’s Wife on

    THANK YOU to all the people accross Nunavut who supports our rights go be heard. Newspapers will spin whatever they can. Baffinland must be getting frustrated and blowing up the comments with their thoughts. But we are making the point TOGETHER. All people involved are SAFE. This publicity will make the groups with our best interests work harder, and not try to use the news to destroy. Stay safe and TOGETHER!

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  17. Posted by Reid Kona on

    I wonder if any of the Protesters understand the term “forcible confinement”?
    The road that connects the Camps has been “blocked”….as is the Air Strip that connects the Mine & “employees” to the “outside”.
    “What is forcible confinement?
    This crime states that it is illegal to force another person to remain in one location through the use of threats, coercion or physical actions. Similar to kidnapping, a conviction for forcible confinement carries serious penalties.”
    “Blockade = an act or means of sealing off a place to prevent goods or people from entering or leaving….seal off (a place) to prevent goods or people from entering or leaving.
    It’s one thing to protest & stop “production”…but when the BIM employees are being “held” @ the Mine and “cannot” leave…this is no longer a “protest”.
    Make this right…and remove the blockade from the Air Strip!

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    • Posted by Northerner on

      They are not representing all Inuit
      Just the extremists.

      Most of us would be more than happy to have the RCMP go there to end this blockade

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  18. Posted by Northern Guy on

    The words that spring to my mind are illegal trespass and forcible confinement. And for what? For concessions that the mining company has absolutely no control over! It would be far more useful for these so called “hunters” to occupy the QIA and NTI offices n Iqaluit than the shenanigans they are pulling right now.

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    • Posted by uninformed on

      you should point that out to all the protesters around the world.

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    • Posted by and so what if they did on

      Let’s face it, if the hunters went to Iqaluit and took over the QIA office, no one would care. This on the other hand gets people’s attention. Which is the whole point. Protest is an art.

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  19. Posted by Southerner on

    Protesters onsite said people could fly out, but no new workers comming in at the moment, and Baffinland Man didnt like that. If you are still stuck on site look at your big boss.

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    • Posted by Northerner on

      I mean. The plane needs to land for people to get on. Meaning people would get off lol. Dumbest thing I heard today

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    • Posted by Reid Kona on

      Pls read the News articles….this is one quote from CBC on Feb. 5/2021:
      “Inuarak said the group told the mining company, Baffinland, of its plan to protest and the mine allowed them to set up their blockade.

      Along with the airstrip, the snowmobiles block the tote road that trucks use to haul iron ore from the mine site to the port at Milne Inlet where it is shipped out.

      Emergency medical flights will be allowed to land, but Inuarak says that no other planes will be allowed to. The mine is fly-in only and supplies and shift changes are done via airplane.”

      They are NOT allowing planes to remove any personal unless it is a medical emergency!

      https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/baffinland-blockade-hunters-group-1.5902516

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  20. Posted by keepsafe on

    The Protestors are in favour of the expansion – they only want more funding directly to the North Baffin instead of through the QIA. I wish they could just protest the QIA but I think they’ve tried for years to do that to no success. So this is the best way to get heard I guess. I hope the QIA does better at communicating to the people in the north communities that the new ICA they have negotiated sends money directly to the communities for day care, training, inuit employment, hunting, wildlife, fuel and more. QIA needs to do more to provide real long-term support for the Northern Communities. There are many people there who want to do business with the mine and the QIA could help them get started. I fully expect the protestors to be safe and all employees will be safe…..but let’s deal with the real grievances and not try and trick everyone that this is mainly about hunting and the wildlife and environment. This just confuses people.

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  21. Posted by Uniformed on

    How are you guys getting kidnapping and all that from a protest?!? Yes they have guns but it’s to protect them from hungry bear or wolves. Let’s see you guys going on the land and see how long you can last without a gun against a hungry bear or wolf. And to say they are holding them hostage?!? Why didn’t I see anything about hostage taking when white supremacist took over the white house where they were actually pointing their guns at people. People love to make inuit look bad.

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    • Posted by John on

      Holding people against their will and not allowing them to go home to their family until demands are met is more commonly known as hostage taking. That is what is happening if you weren’t aware.

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      • Posted by Uninformed on

        Why weren’t the protesters in Nova Scotia charged with forcible confinement or hostage taking then when the fishermen were locked in buildings and their boats burned down? So it’s OK for Caucasians to do all this? Those were way more serious then what’s going on in Mary River. It’s not like they are setting boats on fire, forcing people in buildings and trying to burn it down while they are still in there

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        • Posted by David on

          At least 23 fishermen were charged in Nova Scotia, you are dead wrong. But I’m not reading the countless articles on the topic and adding up all the numbers when you are too lazy to even do a Google search before you wrote that.

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          • Posted by To david on

            Yeah your right, dude. Nothing he wrote even happened…(sarcasm). You are so far removed. Those native guys were being hunted. This my backyard.

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            • Posted by David on

              Nobody is condoning anything, but far more than 23 people have been charged. They were 23 charged over one event, just one. These are tiny maritime towns with small staffs of Mounties , they can’t make a show of force anymore than RCMP could here. They don’t have the numbers.

              You can’t make on like they got away with it. Even rioters on Capitol Hill on Jan 6th are still getting arrested and more will likely be arrested. That’s how it works.

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    • Posted by Looking Bad For All to See on

      In this case, it is Inuit making Inuit looking bad.

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      • Posted by Uninformed on

        So inuit are making inuit look bad by trying to protect our land? What’s bad about protesting?

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  22. Posted by SpotLight on

    You have made your point.

    Staying on is going to undo it so use common sense.

  23. Posted by NLCA aftermath on

    Wow – if this is all the coverage we can get from Nunatsiaq I have to say – that is disappointing. Where are the interviews with Inuarak and others (who is actually representing? the MHTO? the Hamlet? the whole community? himself and his hunting buddies? that remains unclear)? The op-eds from senior NTI/QIA leadership? The explainers outlining what an RIO/DIO are and how they relate to the NLCA and structure ownership/jurisdiction over IOLs? C’mon Nunatsiaq get it together and be something more than just another Facebook where everybody sounds off and misinforms one another.

    There are two critical subjects here and coverage is weak or non-existent on both:

    1) Ongoing hearings have to do with whether or not Mary River (and the proposed expansion in particular) should go ahead – this is a question of assessing impacts, and determining their significance. There are very legitimate reasons for Inuit to be concerned here – BIMC has consistently misrepresented the scale and severity of these impacts, and the NIRB process has been rightly accused of minimizing and undermining the concerns of Inuit in this regard.

    2) Whether or not the expansion goes ahead – how are benefits shared? This is actually on paper a simple question – it is answered by the NLCA and the disposition of surface and subsurface rights on IOLs to NTI and QIA. What Inuarak is suggesting is that he disagrees with the NLCA, and that resource wealth is not the common heritage of all beneficiaries but only those born directly proximate the resource – i.e. that IOLs are not held in trust for the benefit of all Inuit but for certain people, and families to whom that land belongs. This view is obviously spurred on by poor communication from QIA about how they have structured the royalties and other benefits they receive – clearly from the community perspective benefits are not arriving. But that’s an issue for discussion between QIA and their community reps – you don’t like your elected leadership, pick new ones.

    The idea that constantly resurfaces, of a fragmented land claim with another North Baffin DIO is frankly a disaster – strong negotiations are founded on unity, and if what Inuarak would like is independence from the strictures of the land claim so he can pursue a negotiation separately, I don’t think it is too pessimistic to say that Inuit will be kissing goodbye to all the hardwork of the generation that negotiated the land-claim in favour of a brave new dog-eat-dog world. Next stop oil and gas in Davis Strait!

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    • Posted by Pork Pie on

      This is a great and very informative comment, thanks for taking the time.

  24. Posted by Think About It on

    This is what happens when you keep things like IIBA or the Inuit Impact Benefit Agreements top secret. Open them up, let everyone see what these mines are actually contributing. I feel that the majority agreements would show the benefits effecting the few. Protesting isn’t a bad thing, but protesting without knowing what the facts are is just foolish. This is the Inuit common man not knowing what deals the Inuit elite negotiated and is frustrated. They should protesting in front of QIA, but that would result and little to no coverage.

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    • Posted by Sam on

      This is a internal Nti and Inuit people issue there are 700 southern workers being held. Hostage, where are their rights and freedoms, but again they have none

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  25. Posted by Consistency on

    How come we have not heard from our leaders about this?

    • Posted by Twitteratti on

      Our MP has tweeted furiously about this, check it out. I believe she is going to LARP Che Guevara on this.

  26. Posted by Protester on

    With all the Inuit orgs in Nunavut being mentioned I would like to know where our GN is and where they stand on this issue.

    • Posted by Potato on

      The GN is very happy that the news cycle has moved away from their failed vaccine plan to focus on Inuit infighting and incoherent nonsense with NIRB. Im Calling it now that we won’t be vaccinated in Iqaluit by March 31.

  27. Posted by Delbert on

    This is the biblical story of David and Goliath. But this time Goliath (Baffinland) will be the victor. A lesson learned many times by brother and sister aboriginals from the south. Be strong. I assure at some time the price will be paid for this protest.

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