Inuit, namiipita? Climate Change Research and Policy: Beyond Canada’s Diversity and Equity Problem
As an Inuk, born and raised in Iqaluit and academically trained in southern Canada, I start my thoughts here with two notable questions that Mary Simon (2017), Minister Bennett’s Special Representative in the cross-sectoral engagement for the new Arctic Policy Framework, kept returning to:
"Why, in spite of substantive progress over the past 40 years, including remarkable achievements such as land claims agreements, Constitutional inclusion and precedent-setting court rulings, does the Arctic continue to exhibit among the worst national social indicators for basic wellness?
"Why, with all the hard-earned tools of empowerment, do many individuals and families not feel empowered and healthy?"
In the same line of inquiry, I ask: Inuit, namiipita? Why, in spite of so much research and policy focus on Arctic climate change, are we Inuit still consultants or fillers in an otherwise Western-driven enterprise to “monitor” climate developments in Inuit Nunangat? This is not to polarize North and South in the otherwise existential task we all have to tackle―climate change. Rather, I want to highlight that the story of climate change research and policy in Canada has so far been the familiar story of marginalization of Inuit in the national narrative; and that it is in Canada’s―indeed humanity’s―interests to have Inuit participate equally and with a sense of utmost urgency in the research and decision-making processes related to the Arctic. It goes beyond the diversity and equity rationale or the moral duty of reconciliation: we simply cannot afford to act differently. ....
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