In defense of emotionalism, Makita responds (Nunatsiaq News, 2011, en)

letter to the editor Nunatsiaq News March 31, 2011

The editorial “On uranium, don’t look for simple answers” (March 28) asks “What, exactly, does … ‘political oppression’ consist of?” Oppression consists of residents of Baker Lake who voted to oppose the proposed Kiggavik uranium mine in a municipal plebiscite in 1990 — the only free vote ever held on the question in Nunavut. More than 90 per cent of the voters said no. Between that and Term 3.6 of the Keewatin Land Use Plan (“Any future proposal to mine uranium must be approved by the people of the region”), many people thought the question was settled. But after some backroom manoeuvres, virtually no public discussion, and no second public vote, somebody somewhere decided that “the people” of the Kivalliq had somehow approved uranium mining in the region. Oppression also consists of unilingual hunters and Elders in Baker Lake last week, watching the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) workshop in the community hall. Twenty-five of the 26 people at the table were unilingual non-Inuit, the discussion was in English (with excellent interpreters), and the document being discussed was available only in English. The Board of the Baker Lake Hunters and Trappers Organization had requested that NIRB’s review process be suspended until uranium-related terminology was developed and the key document was translated, but NIRB had decided that this would be too much of an inconvenience to the company wanting to build the mine. “NIRB has failed us,” HTO Board members told the workshop. (All quotes are translations.) “You have failed hunters and Elders who only speak, read and write Inuktitut.”