Andrew Muir

Background

Education:  currently a PhD Candidate, School of Public Policy, Carleton University. Andrew completed a Masters in Public Administration at Dalhousie University in 2007 and a BA in Political Science at Mount Allison University in 2005

Research

Lessons learned from a Northern Mining Town, a case of Rankin Inlet, Nunavut.

The thesis aims to provide insight into the structure of the economy of Rankin Inlet, Kivalliq Region, Nunavut, from its inception (1953- 1957) to the period following the creation of the Territory of Nunavut in 1999. Its method of analysis is informed by the work of Karl Polanyi, who makes the case that commercial activity can devastate the social and cultural existence of a population when it becomes a dominant form of economic activity.

The thesis reviews the history of (Kivalliq Region) Inuit interaction with non-indigenous commercial actors (e.g., fur traders, whalers) between the 1700s and World War II. Prior to the entry of non-indigenous commercial actors to region, Inuit economic activity was non-commercial and was governed by societal institutions, principally the extended family. The settlement at Rankin Inlet was founded in 1953 when several Inuit families moved there to participate in wage labour associated with the early development of a nickel mine. From 1953 to the present- day, Inuit in Rankin Inlet have participated combination of traditional and cash (often commercial) based economic activities, a dynamic referred to as a “mixed economy”. Inuit participation in Rankin Inlet’s “mixed – economy” can be viewed as the latest phase of a centuries – long process of strategic involvement in locally available economic opportunities

The Government of Canada’s strategic, economic, and social involvement and interests in Canada’s Arctic increased in the post-WWII period, a development which afforded new opportunities for Inuit to represent their interests at the federal level. Private sector interest in the region also grew, particularly in terms of its potential for profitable non-renewable resource development. A key goal of Inuit political actors over this period was to achieve “self-determination” through the creation of new political institutions which would provide Inuit with sovereign powers similar to those of Canada’s provinces, as well as by securing for Inuit the ability to set the terms by which prospective large-scale resource development projects could proceed (if at all).  Inuit efforts in this regard were largely successful, as represented by signing of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (NLCA) in 1993 and (as per the NLCA) the creation of the Territory of Nunavut in 1999. Through the various provisions of NLCA (including the creation of Nunavut) Inuit have won the ability to influence the balance of commercial and traditional economy activity which occurs in the territory over which it controls, including the power to regulate and/or commercial projects which could impact this balance.

Anticipated  completion of thesis is early 2017.

Contact information:
Andrew Muir
1-1204 Shillington Ave.
Ottawa, ON K1Z 7Z4
tel: 613.558.3576