Uranium mining, primitive accumulation and resistance in Baker Lake, Nunavut: recent changes in community perspectives

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Bernauer, Warren
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Historically, the Inuit of Qamani’tuaq (Baker Lake) have expressed strong opposition to uranium mining in their territory, in part due to concerns that it would be detrimental to their harvesting practices. During these struggles, the Inuit of Qamani’tuaq had the support of various Inuit Organizations. The first decade of the 2000s saw the relevant Inuit Organizations change their policies from ones which opposed uranium mining to ones which support it. This thesis is an attempt to understand if Inuit at the community level have changed their opinions about uranium mining and, if so, why. During my time in Qamani’tuaq, it became apparent that the shift in policy has been followed by a gradual change in perspective among some members of the community. While opposition to uranium mining is by no means dead, the seemingly united stance the community previously held has become fragmented. This change is due to a number of factors, including an increased astuteness on the part of the mining industry, certain aspects of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement and ongoing economic dependency upon the market economy.
Inuit, uranium mining, colonialism, Nunavut, resistance