Indigenous peoples have always been told that we will benefit from resource extraction on our homelands, but our communities have generally received pennies on the dollar while more systemic challenges such as language shift, violence and suicide have continued unabated.The financial success of multi-billion dollar Iñupiat-owned for profit corporations such as the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation and NANA Regional Corporation has also not necessarily translated into action on issues such as household violence, child sexual abuse and educational attainment.Diagnosed psychiatric illness, personality disorders and addictions were also higher among the suicide group.The report “indicates that the risk factors of unemployment, child maltreatment, sexual abuse, impulsiveness, aggression, current and lifetime diagnoses of major depressive disorder, alcohol abuse or dependence and current or past cannabis abuse or dependence are risk factors for Inuit suicide in Nunavut.” The report concludes that inter-generational trauma and its results as well as elevated mental disorders are the main drivers of Nunavut’s high suicide rates.Benjamin Barry is an advertising executive and ladies' man who, to win a big campaign, bets that he can make a woman fall in love with him in 10 days.
However, it does exactly what it is supposed to do; that is to entertain you.
The data published in these studies and in others I’ve highlighted elsewhere in this blog paint a pretty grim picture of life in many Inuit communities, including in Alaska.
As rapid climate change ushers in an accelerating Arctic resource rush, these and other issues beg the question: will off-shore oil extraction and other “development” result in meaningful benefits to Inuit and other Arctic indigenous communities?
These needs include things like housing, food security, educational attainment and job creation, as well as more complex needs such as spiritual and psychological healing from historical trauma, effective suicide prevention interventions, child sexual abuse prevention, and resources for survivors of sexual assault and household violence.
It is these human needs and human resource development that must be placed at the forefront of the Arctic resource rush, because meeting these needs is elemental to the future health and well-being of our people.