June 3, 2022 – Anchorage, Alaska – Today the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) released its protocols for the Equitable, Ethical Engagement of Inuit in the Circumpolar world aimed at all decision and policy makers, researchers and others operating in the Arctic. These new protocols are the product of an extensive three-year process that involved Inuit from across Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Chukotka. Over the last year, Inuit delegates came together in a series of virtual meetings to co-develop protocols to address ongoing concerns. Across the Arctic, there are growing discussions about climate change, increased resource development, expanding research initiatives, and expanding opinions on managing activities. While at the same time, international negotiations on these topics and additional issues such as biodiversity, shipping, animals and plants, and food security are underway that affect the Arctic and our way of life.
Equitable and ethical engagement must place Inuit at the forefront of these activities, discussions, and policy developments. The Circumpolar Inuit Protocols on Equitable and Ethical Engagement (or EEE Protocols) provide a pathway to success for international organizations, researchers, decision- and policy-makers. Simply stated, the EEE Protocols are the terms by which we expect to be engaged in all work affecting our homelands.
Our people hold thousands of years of knowledge and proven sustainable practices. Yet, our communities and knowledge have not been equitably and ethically involved in activities, decisions, or policies that impact us. "As the first inhabitants and stewards of the Arctic, we have the right and responsibility to protect our environment and culture," said James Stotts, president of ICC Alaska. "Our knowledge must be relied upon to inform decision-making in all matters."
"We persist with the call for all others to recognize our status, rights, and role in relation to every issue of concern to us," said Dr. Dalee Sambo Dorough, ICC's International Chair. "The same is true for exercising our self-determination in relation to the' ' intricate knowledge'' that our founder, Eben Hopson, spoke of in 1977. This document lays out elements of the substantive and procedural foundation for engagement with Inuit and the diverse subject matter that affects every aspect of our lives as Inuit, including our knowledge".
There are eight protocols in the document. Each one provides guidance and directives to achieve shared goals while respecting Inuit sovereignty and self-determination. "Our first protocol comes with the key phrase:' ' Nothing about us without us.'' It has everything: The call, the principle, the foundation, and the rule. I believe that our protocols will help us live in harmony with everyone," said Liubov Taian, president of ICC Chukotka.
Implementing all eight protocols will also result in a higher quality of research. As Kuupik V. Kleist of ICC Greenland said, "Every spring, we see groups of researchers coming into our village or town. We don't know what they are about to do and never hear of their research results either. They and we would gain in following the EEE Protocols."
The EEE Protocols are not only about research. They are also about making decisions and policies. "Organizations and institutions such as the Arctic Council and agencies of the United Nations are a key audience for ICC," said Monica Ell-Kanayuk, president of ICC Canada. "The development of these international protocols for the ethical and equitable engagement of Inuit communities and Indigenous knowledge is fundamental to advancing our governance and our future engagement with international fora."
The EEE Protocols and associated materials can be downloaded for free at the Inuit Circumpolar Council websites: iccalaska.org (Alaska), inuitcircumpolar.com (Canada), inuit.org (Greenland), and iccchukotka.ru (Chukotka).
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Founded in 1977 by the late Eben Hopson of Sr. of Utqiagvik (formerly Barrow), Alaska, the Inuit Circumpolar Council
(ICC) has flourished and grown into a major international non-governmental organization representing approximately 180,000 Inuit of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Chukotka (Russia). ICC works to promote Inuit rights, safeguard the Arctic environment, and protect and promote the Inuit way of life.