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Inukjuak | CTV News Montreal

Inuit community leads Arctic shift to clean energy: hydroelectric project to replace diesel

For many years, Inukjuak, like many communities in the north, has relied on diesel to heat homes, keep the lights on, and power its institutions. Now, for the first time in the region, construction is underway on a massive hydroelectric project. When it's completed, it will replace diesel at the community's primary source of energy, and provide a surplus which Inukjuak will sell to Hydro-Quebec.

Overcoming the past

Overcoming the past | Canada's history in Inukjuak

Inuit in Inukjuak are still overcoming the effects of Canadian influence in their home. In this extended interview, Inukjuak's former mayor, the late Simeonie Nalukturuk describes, in his own words, the residential school system, the dog slaughter, and the forced Arctic relocation. CONTENT WARNING -- This interview contains details some may find distressing.

IN PICTURES

IN PICTURES | Inukjuak to leave diesel behind

Inukjuak is one of 14 Inuit communities in Nunavik, the northernmost region of Quebec. Take a look at some scenes from there, as community members prepare to stop using diesel, which presently provides for the bulk of the municipality's energy needs.

The Inukjuak, Que. skyline is seen in fall, 2021. The lights illuminating these houses are powered by diesel, which is the principal source of energy in the community of about 1,800. (Kaaria Quash)

READ MORE: About This Project

 
  • Who is behind this project?
    This project is a collaboration between CTV News Montreal, Concordia University, Indigenous Clean Energy, and Journalists for Human Rights.
  • What inspired this project?
    Concordia professor and Executive Producer Aphrodite Salas launched the project in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Call to Action 86, “to require education for all students on the history of Aboriginal peoples.” 
  • Where will this be screened?
    As well as being available to all on CTVNewsMontreal.ca, the world premieres of Innavik: Leading the way to a clean energy future, and Simeonie Nalukturuk: in his own words, took place at Uquutaq High School in Inukjuak on Nov. 2. It will also screen at the Canada Pavilion at COP27 in Egypt, taking place Nov 6-18, 2022  
  • How can I find out more?
    Click here
    for the project’s backstory, and to learn more about the people who put it together. 

 

 

About Inukjuak

 
  • Where is Inukjuak?
    Inukjuak is located in Nunavik, in northern Quebec, about 1,500 kilometres north of Montreal.
  • How many people live in Inukjuak?  
    There are approximately 1,800 people living in the municipality.
  • What is some of the local history?  
    The area was named Port Harrison at the beginning of the 20th century when a French fur trading company called Révillon Frères established a post there. Archeological evidence suggests Indigenous people have been living in the area for thousands of years, and many Inuit continued to live out on the land until the 1950s, when it became more common for Inuit to settle in the village. 
  • What is Inuktitut?
    Inuktitut is one of several common languages spoken in Inuit communities the Canadian arctic, Alaska, Russia’s Chukotka Peninsula, and Greenland. There are many regional dialects spoken across Inuit traditional territory. The INNAVIK documentary voiceover was recorded in Inukjuamiutitut – the dialect spoken in Inukjuak.

About Diesel Fuel

 
  • What do people in Inukjuak use diesel for? 
    Diesel fuel is the main source of energy in the community, and it’s common to see large tanks outside communal buildings like the hospital, school, and general store. Houses also rely on diesel for heating and electricity. 
  • What are the risks of diesel in Inukjuak? 
    The diesel in Inukjuak is brought into town by ship, and large tankers can only bring in fuel when the water around Nunavik thaws. Fuel spills are a constant risk at all stages of delivery and usage, and can be catastrophic to the environment, as well as the problems posed by an energy shortage. 
  • Are diesel spills common?
    In 2015, more than 13,000 litres of diesel spilled in Inukjuak. The same year, 14,000 litres spilled in nearby Ivujivik, and there was another 3,000-litre spill in Salluit. 
  • What is Innavik?
    Innavik, which means "a pouch in which one would keep a stone flint and moss to start a fire" in Inuktitut, is a massive hydroelectric project being built in Inukjuak. It’s the first of its kind for the region. It will replace diesel as the community’s primary source of energy, and provide a surplus which Inukjuak will sell back to Hydro-Quebec.


     

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