Industrial development and Arctic communities: environmental and social change

This project will explore the cultural, economic and environmental impacts of mineral exploration and development on four Arctic communities, Kugluktuk (Coppermine) in the Kitikmeot region, Qamani’tuaq (Baker Lake), Kangiqiniq (Rankin Inlet) and Arviat in the Kivalliq region.

Working with community researchers and informants, this project intends to identify issues of importance in relation to mining development and community change, and to explore community adaptations to the changes brought by industry. In addition to Dr. Keeling, the research team includes Dr. John Sandlos of Memorial University, Dr. Frank Tester of the University of British Columbia, and postdoctoral fellow Dr. Emilie Cameron, also from the University of British Columbia. The team is also working with Peter Irniq, former Commissioner of Nunavut and a respected Inuit cultural liaison based in Ottawa.

Members of the team recently visited mining community researchers and outside researchers will have the opportunity to share and exchange knowledge of these experiences and adaptive strategies at a workshop to be organized in Nunavut.

Researchers will also examine archival records relating to the history of industrial development in the Arctic, and relate this history to changing government social and economic policies in the region, such as Inuit resettlement. This research will seek to understand how current debates and controversies over mining development reflect Inuit experiences and traditional knowledge of previous developments and their impacts.

The result will be a locally relevant, community record of this knowledge and history, as well as information useful for communities and policy makers in assessing the potential benefits and impacts of current development proposals.

Study site locations

Baker Lake

Rankin Inlet

Arviat

Kugluktuk

Local collaborations

Kivalliq Inuit Association, Baker Lake Hunters and Trappers Organization, Baker Lake Concerned Citizen's Committee, Kitikmeot Inuit Association, and Kugluktuk Agoniatit Association.

Project contact information:

Arn Keeling
Assistant professor
Department of Geography
Memorial University of Newfoundland