“Don’t go hunting alone if you want to come back with something.”
Those words were shared with me by an Inuit elder in Iqaluit during a casual conversation about relations between the community, mining industry and government up in Nunavut. For me it painted a vivid portrait of a perspective on the role of community, culture and the spirit of collaboration in balancing mutual goals and individual needs.
Their community involvement model is strategic, collaborative and opportunity-driven. Their sense of cooperation is broad and inclusive built on common purpose and communication between the partners and the whole community. A common understanding is sought before agreements are made that defines a systemic approach supported by tools, education and empowered by the Federal and Territorial governments. Consequently, the local community and resource companies have both learned to engage and adapt for shared success – an effective framework for CCOHS’ own collaboration efforts across jurisdictional and sectorial lines.
My time up in Nunavut was brief, but educational and perspective-altering. My conversations with people revealed their deep respect for the environment and its potential to provide for the future. They have understood this for generations, and now it extends to the resources below the earth. The community in Nunavut is resolute and united in a process that balances integrating economic considerations with Inuit values based on their sense of stewardship for, and belonging to, the land.
All in all, it was a reminder for me that it is only through collaboration and alignment of values that we will truly achieve collective success.