21 August 2007, Inuvik
The President of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) Canada,
Duane Smith, is concerned that USA President Bush and Canadas Prime Minister Stephen
Harper are making important decisions about the fate of Arctic sovereignty without consulting
Inuit in Alaska and Arctic Canada. After hearing that Mr. Bush and Mr. Harper met just prior to
the opening of the North American Summit to discuss the Arctic, Mr. Smith stated Inuit have
lived on the land and seas of the Arctic for thousands of years and according to Canadian,
American, and international laws, we have fundamental rights that cannot be ignored. He added,
I am deeply concerned that Inuit were not invited to the summit and, more importantly, that
closed door discussions are being held without our input.
ICC is the international body that represents Inuit from Russia, Alaska, Canada, and Greenland. It
promotes the human rights of Inuit, advocates for a clean Arctic environment, celebrates Inuit
unity across four countries, and works on matters of international concern that affect Inuit. The
Arctic sovereignty issue was discussed during the summit itself, again with no Inuit present. I
understand that Mr. Bush and Mr. Harper may not be interested in the views of Inuit from Russia
and Greenland they might have trouble seeing us as one people transcending four countries
but the least they could do is consult with Inuit from Canadas Arctic and the coastal areas of
Alaska, Mr. Smith added.
In addition to serving as ICC Canada president, Duane Smith is also Vice Chair of the pan-Arctic
Inuit Circumpolar Council. Mr. Harper doesnt seem to know that working together with us
could be very beneficial to him and to the goals of all Canadians, Mr. Smith concluded.
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