Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

New Owners in Their Own Land: Minerals and Inuit Land Claims

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

New Owners in Their Own Land: Minerals and Inuit Land Claims

Article excerpt

R. McPherson, New Owners in Their Own Land: Minerals and Inuit Land Claims (Calgary: University of Calgary Press, , 2003), xxiv + 305pp. Paper. $49-95. ISBN 1-5523-8155-2.

This represents an interesting origin, in that it comes from an exploration geologist who has spent his career in many parts of the Canadian Shield where prospecting and resource development interfaces with the culture and aspirations of Native peoples in their traditional homelands. From his perspective, McPherson speaks for northern would-be developers and derives his knowledge from time in the North where he interacted with prospectors, trappers and Native people. As part of Inuit negotiations for land claims and mineral rights in the late 1980s, McPherson prepared mineral inventories to assist their deliberations and negotiation with government representatives. He admits that at the outset, and like most other mining company personnel, he had little awareness of the issues at stake. But background work allowed him to develop an appreciation of the Inuit determination and political acumen and concluded that they have a strong future ahead of them. He portrays their monumental struggle to control their fate and achieve co-management of resources, and suggests that perhaps other Canadian aboriginal groups must be rather envious of the status achieved by the Inuit. For the Inuit, McPherson sees, 'a unique opportunity for them to acquire mastery - and I mean mapping, GIS, and inventory and conservation skills, etc, - over the management of their own lands and resources, supported by their traditional insight. Then they will be in a position to seek the devolution of Crown resources to the Nunavut authority, at which time they will truly be the masters of the North and stewards on behalf of all Canadians' (pp. …

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