Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut July 17, 2014 - 6:59 am

Greenpeace brings Nunavut seismic testing fight to United Nations

"Arctic indigenous peoples deserve more than to be treated as spectators to their own lives"

Kiera-Dawn Kolson, Greenpeace's Arctic outreach campaigner in Yellowknife, made a speech at UN headquarters July 15 which mentioned Clyde River's fight against seismic testing off the coast of Baffin Island. (PHOTO COURTESY GREENPEACE)
Kiera-Dawn Kolson, Greenpeace's Arctic outreach campaigner in Yellowknife, made a speech at UN headquarters July 15 which mentioned Clyde River's fight against seismic testing off the coast of Baffin Island. (PHOTO COURTESY GREENPEACE)

Greenpeace is now taking Clyde River’s fight against seismic testing off the coast of Baffin Island to the United Nations.

Greenpeace Canada, keen to build partnerships with Inuit and First Nations on environmental causes, made a speech at the United Nations July 15 in an event that focused on climate change and sustainable development.

“Climate change is very much alive and present in the North, and naturally, so is industry. As the ice retreats, Big Oil is banging down our doors for permission to conduct seismic testing as a step towards drilling for oil,” said Kiera-Dawn Kolson, a Dene woman and Greenpeace’s Arctic outreach campaigner in Yellowknife.

“Even when communities say no, as they are now in Clyde River, industry is exploiting its relationship with the federal government, and the National Energy Board is ignoring the communities they pretend to listen to, and going ahead with the seismic testing in spite of mass opposition.”

Jerry Natanine, mayor of Clyde River, and Niore Iqalukjuak, are currently mobilizing support for a campaign to stop not just seismic testing off shore of their community — something that was recently approved by the National Energy Board — but underwater oil and gas exploration which they believe will soon follow once seismic data identifies seabed reservoirs.

They are circulating a petition, which you can find on their Fight Against Seismic Testing in Nunavut Facebook page, and are also organizing a protest on July 23 at 1 p.m. in Clyde River.

They are hoping Nunavummiut in other communities protest in solidarity on the same day.

Kolson made her speech at the UN’s headquarters in New York City at a United Nations side event that accompanied the 13th Session of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals.

That side event — A Global Call Spanning the Polar Regions to the Tropics — was organized by mostly indigenous and environmental groups including the permanent missions of Peru and Solomon Islands, the UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service, the Natural Resources Defence Council and Greenpeace.

“Many First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities in northern Canada are still living in third and fourth world conditions without basic human rights,” Kolson said. “And industry knows this and exploits this to its advantage. Because people need food now. They need a roof over their kids’ heads tonight.”

With words that echo a lively, and hourly, exchange of ideas on the seismic testing protest page on Facebook, that was created by Iqalukjuak, Kolson talks about the need for northerners to take control of their own future.

“We are of the land and the land is of us and Arctic indigenous peoples deserve more than to be treated as spectators to their own lives. Rather than perpetuating the cycle of need that locks us into unsustainable boom-bust projects, we must make space that enables communities to focus on long term solutions and sustainable development.”

You can watch Kolson’s speech, and other speakers at this event, at the UN Web TV archive here.


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(18) Comments:

#1. Posted by No Seismic Testing! on July 17, 2014

Did anyone catch the Oasis documentary showing the effect of seismic testing on whales?  The federal government is putting dollars ahead of sense.

#2. Posted by Northerner on July 17, 2014

This is an honourable move on behalf of Greenpeace, I have questions, this issue is something that, if pursued, is right down GP’s alley in environmental activities that show that GP is about.  If they approve, and the Inuit partner with GP, it should be a long term relationship.  I have a question, how long before GP takes up on another cause that is not proactive to Inuit habitation, and cultural harvesting rights.  How long before they turn on us again?  It’s happened in the past, it can happen again in the future.

#3. Posted by Destruction on July 17, 2014

#2 you would rather do nothing, blast the whales go drill baby drill have oil spills, screw the environment. Environmental rules in Bill C-38 done so you will be walked all over, having no democratic rights. If you protest, Nunavut Mp is ok you being called an enemy of the state (enemy of Canada, Nunavut)and put on a watch list to be watched. Be audited like what is happening now to environmental and charity groups. Costing group hundreds of thousands for lawyers.  And if you speak out well then the audits get more intense and costly. As NDP call it more Cons muzzling. Canada is becoming more and more Dictator ruled, police state and your freedoms and rights taken away bit by bit. Science is out, muzzled so truths are never known. Replaced with religion the infection of the mind, to be ruled like uneducated sheep. Like your post #2 is attempting to do, to accept Cons Arctic environment destruction then science, truth and working finding a better way

#4. Posted by Northerner on July 17, 2014

@ 3, give your head a shake, I did not say anything about stopping it, this is not about the government, its’ about the long, strained relationship with GP and Nunavut.  I don’t give a rats behind if we do partner with them, and to a certain degree I hope we do, but, just be careful of who you go to bed with…like the MP rep to the Cons, same thing, different bed.  re-read my comment.

#5. Posted by TheFedsDontCareAboutYou on July 17, 2014

That distrust you speak of #2 “Northerner” is exactly how industry and government exploits situations like this…divide, and conqure.  Leona has become a puppet of Harper.  She will not be able to support our communities on our this front because she is enveloped in the Conservative fold. This is all about profit over people…especially if those people happen to be Aboriginal. Just look what’s happening all over the country when it comes to oil companies developing land: technically, under Herr Harper’s rule, environmental protestors can be considered ‘eco-terrorists’and prosecuted the same as terrorists. Are the people of Clyde River terrorists? Stephen Harper thinks so…or, at least this is a convenient way to silence oppositiion to oil development.

#6. Posted by Leonaaaaa? on July 17, 2014

Leona the Champion, where are thou?  When Greenpeace does more for Nunavut than our own MP, we have a serious representation problem.

#7. Posted by earth3rd on July 17, 2014

Time to put your differences with Greenpeace to rest. They want to help you now and I believe it is time to side with them.

#8. Posted by concern inuk on July 17, 2014

I did not know Clyde River guys are with Greenpeace.  Anti-hunting organization should not be welcome here as a weapon to kill the canadian court rule.

#9. Posted by I can see where you're coming from on July 17, 2014

Concerned Inuk,

I can see where you’re coming from. But sometimes working with a group like greenpeace can be a step towards making them a pro-hunting group.

They’ve already started to change.

#10. Posted by Northerner on July 17, 2014

It’s time to elect an MP who represents our territory to the Federal Government, not one that represents the Federal Government to the Territory!

#11. Posted by Elly Courchene on July 17, 2014


#12. Posted by Jen on July 17, 2014

All for it!  Glad that GP is coming around to indigenous rights and glad Nunavutmuit are willing to take the help

#13. Posted by np on July 17, 2014

Greenpeace is now our saviour!!

Hahahah…this will end well.

#14. Posted by earth3rd on July 17, 2014

I don’t know if you get it or not but Greenpeace was going to come and protest with or without you. You’d better smarten up and see an alliance in this because it could help with your battle. Its time to put the past behind and get on with the future.

#15. Posted by Justin on July 17, 2014

Hello has anyone seen Leona around? We can’t seem to find her when we need her.

#16. Posted by Ayalik on July 18, 2014

Greenpeace only takes the side of Inuit when it suits their needs (i.e. when they can make money). Have we already forgotten the ” Arctic Indigenous soliarity protest on Arctic Development” put forth to the Arctic Council without even talking to Inuit? Hello!!! Inuit are Permanent Participants to the AC through ICC. GP ended the seal fur industry, which drove up rates of Inuit suicide. Duane Smith said it best: “We certainly have no need or appetite to invite environmentalist groups to come to the Arctic and do the work under their logos and on our behalf.”

#17. Posted by High Horse on July 20, 2014

#16 is right, Greenpeace would love to enlist the help of Inuit as it makes for extremely powerful symbolism that can’t be generated elsewhere. Imagine a carefully calculated photo of a zodiac filled with Inuit protesting around an oil tanker or the ship doing seismic testing. You just can’t get any better than that.

I think this is less about money though, and more about ideology. A little money never hurt, mind you.

#18. Posted by Kopanoak on July 21, 2014

Greenpeace needs to stop meddling to create photo opps and go back to saving the whales from the Russians and Japanese.

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