Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Around the Arctic August 08, 2014 - 3:28 pm

Nunavut throat-singer Lucy Tulugarjuk refuses to perform for MP Leona Algukkaq

Artist known for her role in Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner adds voice to seismic testing protest

THOMAS ROHNER
Lucy Tulugarjuk of Igloolik, who now lives in Fort Smith, NWT, says she won't perform for Nunavut MP and federal cabinet minister Leona Aglukkaq during a visit the MP has scheduled for Fort Smith in the near future. (PHOTO BY HEIDI SELZER)
Lucy Tulugarjuk of Igloolik, who now lives in Fort Smith, NWT, says she won't perform for Nunavut MP and federal cabinet minister Leona Aglukkaq during a visit the MP has scheduled for Fort Smith in the near future. (PHOTO BY HEIDI SELZER)

Nunavut throat singer Lucy Tulugarjuk joined the growing chorus of protests against seismic testing in Baffin Bay recently by refusing to perform for MP Leona Aglukkaq during her upcoming visit to Fort Smith in the Northwest Territories.

A local chief, whom Tulugarjuk did not want to name, asked if she would perform, Tulugarjuk told Nunatsiaq News, but because of Aglukkaq’s silence on the seismic testing controversy, Tulugarjuk refused.

“I just would not have felt comfortable performing, feeling this way.”

The National Energy Board granted a five-year permit for seismic testing in Baffin Bay and Davis Strait this past June to a group of companies called Multi-Klient Invest, prompting an outcry from nearby community Clyde River.

A law firm representing a number of groups in the community filed an application at the Federal Court of Appeal July 28, seeking a judicial review of the decision.

“Unsurprisingly, seismic testing is harmful to marine life. The heavy sounds and vibrations caused by seismic testing can cause permanent damage to marine animals, including permanent hearing loss, disruption of feeding, and disruption of migration routes,” the law firm said in a news release.

Jerry Natanine, mayor of Clyde River, told Nunatsiaq News that Tulugarjuk’s voice will strengthen the protest.

“People are concerned about this, not only in the Arctic but from all over the country…all the support is very much appreciated and very respectful.”

Nunatsiaq News published an open letter to MP Aglukkaq by Clyde River resident Niore Iqalukjuak, calling on the minister to respond to community concerns.

“I know when people ask you about seismic testing, you say it is not harmful. If that is the case, come to Clyde River with the proof that can ease the minds of people here and within Nunavut,” the letter said.

Aglukkaq has not responded to the letter, and has not yet not responded to an interview request for this story.

Tulugarjuk said she thinks it’s important Aglukkaq represents Inuit interests.

“I hope she takes time to listen to people and takes time to respond with her point of view or explain what is happening.”

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