SOI Alumni Delegate, Minnie Molly Snowball, speaks to Jean Charest about Plan Nord at Rio+20!
Delivered the speech on Thursday June 21, 2012 – National Aboriginal Day
I did not know about Plan Nord until the end of last year.
& I absolutely do not support Plan Nord. Neither does most of the Inuit in Nunavik. Honestly, the probability of Inuit not supporting Plan Nord is very high. Considering the fact that I learned 70% of Inuit do not know about Plan Nord.
We, Inuit, are very concerned about how little we know and have our eyes wide open because what you want to do, includes harming our land we’ve lived and relied on for thousands of years. Because we do not know well about Plan Nord, we are afraid.
Here are several things what we do not know about: – If Inuit will be minority on the jobs – If the jobs created are mostly for foreigners – If Plan Nord will help Inuit financially
- If we, Inuit, are going to benefit from it – Why you have not given us a chance to share our voice/opinions – If you’re addressing the clean up efforts for after the mining is done – If you’re discussing the impacts on environment – If there will be any positive impacts for Inuit – Where have you been in the North for consultations? When? – If it will hurt more than the JBNQA – Who’ve bought which part of the land – If you’ve read Plan Nunavik – and many more…
We have our own, unique culture, our own language, and way of life. Our ancestors struggled living in our land, but they never gave up. They faced many difficulties and struggled to even find food. The only way they communicated is orally. They knew very little about governments, politics, wealth, agreements, land claims and more until 1950s. Although they still governed themselves.
However, today, we, Inuit, have better understanding of governments, politics, wealth, agreements, land claims and more. We’ve improved a lot and our way of life evolved for the better or worse. Today, Inuit, like myself, get more opportunities to learn, make a little more money and learned what is wrong and right in a political world. We have feelings, power, shelter and electricity in our communities, jobs and whatnot. We are as human as you. I am a 17 year old Inuk here whose in Brazil while there is a United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development is happening. In fact, I am giving you this speech.
Do you get the sense of the feeling I am feeling? We, Inuit, just do not want to be stepped on like we’re less of a human. We do not want to be played, pushed around and just flown around. It is not. I apologize to say but, It does not mean you, Jean Charest, are bigger than us, Inuit, because you have an office job or because you have a lot of money on your banks. I am not trying to judge you, but I am trying to show you how I feel. Are you even concern about our land and about the migration routes of the caribou, the fish, birds, everything and of what will happen to us next?
Will we just be put aside?
We’re loosing out culture. We’re living in civilization. The only thing besides our language, that brings closure to our ancestors and us today, is our land. our land, makes or made our culture. We get our traditional from our land, we see what we hunt because of our land. Our land is our shelter. Our land is what identifies us, Inuit. We hunt, fish, camp on our land, our region. And you are here, in Brazil, promoting Plan Nord! You did not even yet, let Inuit have an opportunity to share our voices and opinions about Plan Nord. You are here speaking to the world as if you are the voice of Nunavik Quebec. You are showing positive commercials and advertises in Italy, Spain, Brazil, Canada, Southern Quebec, all around the world but nothing on the air, the FM Station or the region up there. When the place and the people in Nunavik will be most directly affected by Plan Nord. Why aren’t the leaders of Nunavik with you on this campaign? Why did you choose to promote Plan Nord without them present? To talk about our side of the story? How would you feel if we had plans for the south to exploit your backyard for our own benefit and promote it without your presence?
We, Inuit, hear things about Plan Nord outside of you. We hear it from rumours, not from you. Why?
One man overheard three men communicating about Plan Nord when he went to get coffee in the morning at the front desk of the hotel in the south. The men revealed they could not wait for the green light, the set to go for the jobs. “I can not wait to reap the benefits!” one of the men said! That comment makes us, Inuit, understand who will benefit from Plan Nord, the southern workers, whom will strip the land and erode and destroy our culture.
The other question is: – Will we, Inuit, benefit from it?
So seriously. Your plan will ruin our culture, our people! This will put a mark in our lives for a lifetime, for the rest of the living of the world! It will not hurt only the land, the ozone layers, the earth, but also us, Inuit, and the next generations to come.
We want to share our voice, our opinions, our thoughts to you. This is a big issue! We are not happy The rest of the world may be, but the land is ours too! So, we have to get our say!
There has been some suggestions as well: – If you want to plan more, you will have to redo some agreements in the JBNQA that was signed in the 1960s. We, Inuit, understand that we are not in the 1960s anymore. I agree with that. It is very true. We are 2012 today! We understand we have every right to deny what you want to do just because it has been signed and agreed to. However, it does not mean we have the same agreement as our ancestors, whom signed the agreement. We are getting more educated, learning more and gaining more knowledge, so understand! Listen to what we, Inuit, have to say for once!
We have so many questions! We need answers! Real answers!
If you have the time to research. If you have the time to plan. You must have the time to hear our voices!