Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut November 17, 2016 - 1:10 pm

Nunavut activists rally on Facebook ahead of Supreme Court seismic testing hearing

"One of my traditional foods, seal meat, comes from the sea. Sealing is part of my culture"

STEVE DUCHARME
Leetia Kalluk's class at Nunavut Sivuniksavut in Ottawa lets the world know that they stand with Clyde River. (FACEBOOK IMAGE)
Leetia Kalluk's class at Nunavut Sivuniksavut in Ottawa lets the world know that they stand with Clyde River. (FACEBOOK IMAGE)
The former MLA, David Iqaqrialu, displays a fish he caught using his kakivak. (FACEBOOK IMAGE)
The former MLA, David Iqaqrialu, displays a fish he caught using his kakivak. (FACEBOOK IMAGE)
Joanasie Akumalik, a former Clyde River resident who has served as mayor of Arctic Bay and who now sits on Iqaluit City Council, declares his solidarity with Clyde River. (FACEBOOK IMAGE)
Joanasie Akumalik, a former Clyde River resident who has served as mayor of Arctic Bay and who now sits on Iqaluit City Council, declares his solidarity with Clyde River. (FACEBOOK IMAGE)

Before lawyers representing Clyde River Inuit enter the nation’s highest court Nov. 30 to argue against seismic testing in the waters off Baffin Island, a Facebook group wants Canada, and the world, to see how other Nunavummiut feel about seismic testing in their backyard.

“Nothing can replace our food, or traditions, or those memories made when we hunt. Leave the ocean as it has always been and should always be. Stop seismic testing,” Clyde River resident Teema Palluq wrote, fixed alongside hashtags #ourwaterourfood and #uniteagainstseismictesting.

Palluq’s post is one of many logged on the Facebook group “Unite Against Seismic Testing.”

The group wants Inuit and other supporters to share their thoughts about the potential cultural and environmental impacts of permitting seismic companies to search for fossil fuels off the coast of Baffin Island.

“This page is built by and for us, the communities who live here and are fighting to protect our land and waters. This is dedicated to our voices, our photos, and our stories—powerful, personal stories that tell the world about our life and our rights,” the page’s mission statement reads.

Last year in the Federal Court of Appeal, the Hamlet of Clyde River and the Nammautaq Hunters and Trappers Organization sought a judicial review of a National Energy Board decision in 2014 that granted Multi-Klient Invest—a Norwegian consortium of companies—permission to conduct five years of seismic testing in Baffin Bay and Davis Strait.

The Federal Court of Appeal rejected the application, so the Clyde River groups have taken the case to the Supreme Court.

Seismic testing detects sub-surface deposits through high-powered air guns—towed by ships and below the ocean surface—blasting a highly concentrated wave of sound at the seafloor.

For optimal mapping, the high-sonic blast is repeated every 10 seconds. In its original proposal, Multi-Klient Invest said it intends to conduct the testing for five months each year over it’s five-year contract.

The 2014 NEB decision granting the tests created an uproar in nearby Clyde River.

“If seismic companies come to blast our waters, seals and other Arctic animals will be hurt. I want to be able to continue Inuit traditions and I want to make sure seismic testing is stopped forever,” Ulluriaq Sky Natanine, from Clyde Inlet, wrote on the Unite Against Seismic Testing Facebook page.

The Supreme Court of Canada announced March 10 that it would hear Clyde River’s appeal in Ottawa Nov. 30.

If the appeal were successfully won, it would be an against-all-odds comeback for the north Baffin hamlet of about 1,000 people. But before—and if—that happens, Nunavummiut across the territory say seismic testing is as much an issue to them as their comrades in Clyde River.

“One of my traditional foods, seal meat, comes from the sea. Sealing is part of my culture,” reads a sign held by the Iqaluit city councillor and former Arctic Bay mayor, Joanasie Akumalik, posted on the Facebook page.

“We stand with Clyde River,” says Leetia Kalluk, appearing in a photo with other students from the Nunavut Sivuniksavut program in Ottawa.

In a video, the former international chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, Siila Watt-Cloutier, chants “We support Clyde River” with attendees of a media event hosted at McGill University in Montreal.

“Support Clyde River in their courageous stance to stop seismic testing in our waters which are filled with marine mammals that we depend on for food and cultural survival,” she said in an accompanying written statement on the Facebook page.

United Against Seismic Testing is one of three organizations co-hosting a rally outside the Supreme Court of Canada on Nov. 30, the day of the hearing, to demonstrate solidarity with Indigenous rights.

“A win at the court could be a watershed moment for the future of Indigenous rights and environmental justice,” the event’s Facebook page mentions, adding that buses will bring participants in from Hamilton, Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Sarnia, Toronto and Montreal.

To visit the Unite Against Seismic Testing page, visit here.

Email this story to a friend... Print this page... Bookmark and Share

 THIS WEEK’S ADS

 ADVERTISING