I Will Live for Both of Us
A History of Colonialism, Uranium Mining, and Inuit Resistance
Born at a traditional Inuit camp in what is now Nunavut, Joan Scottie has spent decades protecting the Inuit hunting way of life, most famously with her long battle against the uranium mining industry. Twice, Scottie and her community of Baker Lake successfully stopped a proposed uranium mine. Working with geographer Warren Bernauer and social scientist Jack Hicks, Scottie here tells the history of her community’s decades-long fight against uranium mining.
Scottie’s I Will Live for Both of Us is a reflection on recent political and environmental history and a call for a future in which Inuit traditional laws and values are respected and upheld. Drawing on Scottie’s rich and storied life, together with document research by Bernauer and Hicks, their book brings the perspective of a hunter, Elder, grandmother, and community organizer to bear on important political developments and conflicts in the Canadian Arctic since the Second World War.
In addition to telling the story of her community’s struggle against the uranium industry, I Will Live for Both of Us discusses gender relations in traditional Inuit camps, the emotional dimensions of colonial oppression, Inuit experiences with residential schools, the politics of gold mining, and Inuit traditional laws regarding the land and animals. A collaboration between three committed activists, I Will Live for Both of Us provides key insights into Inuit history, Indigenous politics, resource management, and the nuclear industry.
- SHORTLISTED, John W. Dafoe Book Prize (2023)
- SECOND PLACE, ESAC Eco Award (2023)
“I Will Live for Both of Us is the first-hand account of an incredible woman’s resistance to uranium mining in her region specifically, but it is also a detailed description of the history of colonialism in the Kivalliq region, and the past and present structures that perpetuate colonialism. It shines a light on the critical activism that has been happening in this region over the course of decades.”
– Willow Scobie, Professor, Sociological and Anthropological Studies, University of Ottawa
“I Will Live for Both of Us offers a unique and important contribution to our understanding of the history and contemporary debates around mining in the Canadian North. It foregrounds the voice and activism of an Inuk woman, Joan Scottie, and documents her long struggle against the incursions of uranium mining in the Kivalliq Region of Nunavut. Written accessibly it will appeal to readers interested in the North, Indigenous issues, and industrial development.”
– Arn Keeling, Co-author of Mining Country: A History of Canada’s Mines and Miners
“The authors bring detailed insights into the context of neoliberal resource extraction and ongoing processes of colonial dispossession, making the book of great interest for Inuit, Canadian, and international audiences, alike. The text, dynamic and accessible without forsaking depth, will certainly lend itself to research, classroom and popular reading. And its focus on historical and contemporary Inuit resistance will provide inspiration—and, indeed, a suite of tactics—for community organizers.”
“I Will Live For Both of Us shows the dynamics of ‘resource colonialism’ through the life experiences and struggles of an Inuit leader. As such, it draws invaluable political conclusions while providing an inspiring narrative of resistance.”
“A formidable problem mining in Canada’s Arctic has been facing is not below ground but above it — a resolute granny named Joan Scottie. The Inuit elder in Nunavut’s Baker Lake is not just a thorn in the side of the mining industry, she’s the whole bush.”
“This book is a fascinating look into a little-known struggle, presented in a format that is deeply personal and emotionally engaging, but also analytical and informative. The specific political and institutional critiques are crucially important to anyone working in or trying to understand the part of the Arctic claimed by Canada.”
“I Will Live for Both of Us is a tremendous work of oral history that intersects with critical studies in environmental history. This book will appeal to researchers, instructors and students interested in history of the North, Indigenous histories, and resource extraction internationally. This story of mining, colonialism and resistance will resonate with other Indigenous nations around the world.”
“This book should be read, first and foremost, by young activists who want to read, learn from and perhaps be inspired by a David and Goliath story; by northernists and those interested in the politics of northern development; by environmentalists concerned about how their concerns are dealt with at the extraction end of world; by students of modern treaties and Indigenous rights and culture who want to know what happens after a treaty is settled.”
“Scottie, senior co-author, provides a narrative history of her experience as an Inuit member, particularly in the voice of Inuit women, to the resistance of colonialism and what is now recognized as environmental injustices against her community. This book succeeds in achieving the seamless blend of solid historical documentation contributed by co-authors Bernauer and Hicks with the authentic voice of the community.”
“I Will Live for Both of Us is a well-written and engaging examination of Indigenous struggles to protect culture and land within and against a colonial and land claims framework. The book tackles internal contradictions and disconnections between community interests and representative Inuit governing bodies, and provides a detailed but very accessible account of the real impact of environmental governance in the north.”
“I Will Live for Both of Us is exemplary in balancing in-depth research and personal narrative to produce a consistently critical and intimate look at the topic. The text is altogether generous, thorough, and timely. This new work should be considered essential reading for anyone interested in the negative impacts of mining, Arctic governance, or the relationship between colonialism and resource extraction.”
About the Authors
Joan Scottie is an Inuk Elder living in the community of Qamani’tuaq Baker Lake, Nunavut. Joan was born and raised on the land at a traditional Inuit camp. Since the 1980s, she has been a vital voice for Inuit opposition to uranium mining. Joan is a grandmother and avid hunter.
Warren Bernauer is a postdoctoral fellow at the Natural Resources Institute and the Department of Environment and Geography at the University of Manitoba.
Jack Hicks worked for Inuit organizations for more than thirty years. He is Adjunct Professor in the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan.
- I Will Live for Both of Us: A History of Colonialism, Uranium Mining, and Inuit Resistance
- Joan Scottie (Author), Warren Bernauer (Author), Jack Hicks (Author)
- Published November 2022, 264 pages
- Paper, ISBN: 978-0-88755-265-6, 6 × 9, $24.95
- Topic(s): Autobiography & Memoir, Decolonization, Environmental Studies, Indigenous Studies, Inuit Studies, Resource Management
- Part of the U of M Press series: Contemporary Studies on the North