Dr. Oran Young, session paper author
We need empowerment. Over the last fifty years we have been shackled, discriminated against, and held back by the policies of this country. But during that time we have changed the constitution, changed the map of Canada, and have done so with the federal government and INAC fighting us every inch of the way. We cannot have a policy, or an opportunity to do something real and positive in the Arctic unless Inuit and First Nations are truly free and allowed to take the lead. We have to be empowered. We can’t have Canada saying “it’s our resources, we’ll decide, we’ll consult”. This attitude has to dramatically change. We cannot afford to go into this next millennium with the Indian Act still intact. The government is still colonial in the North, the people do not control their resources and do not have the money to effectively run programs. We can’t do it without these things. That is what my message is. If we are going to do something positive we cannot let Ottawa be in charge anymore.