A different thinking about hydro mega-projects is taking hold in Inuit country. At least, that’s the perception of Harry Tulugak, the former mayor of Puvimituq (Inuit for “Povungnituk”). “A lot of people are saying that man should not alter the face of the Earth in a way it shouldn’t be altered—more and more people,” he said.

Tulugak mounted an unsuccessful campaign for the presidency of Makivik Corporation in 1991 against Senator Charlie Watt, the long-time head of the Inuit administrative body who has been nicknamed “Megawatt” because of his favourable stance on hydro-projects. Tulugak managed to capture about a third of the votes despite Watt’s hold over the organization. Tulugak’s campaign promised jobs and an end to corruption. The next election for president is scheduled for this spring.

Tulugak said many Inuit are frustrated by the entire direction of Makivik and want change. “Any and all processes that Makivik has engaged in over the past 18 or 19 years in the name of its beneficiaries have not produced tangible things for the future generations. It’s a pitiful situation. Whole generations are committing suicide. They have nothing to look forward to in the future. Somebody is doing something wrong.”

Puvimituq is one of two Inuit communities that never signed the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement. “Taking money is wrong,” Tulugak said.“Extinguishment is wrong.”

Tulugak also commented on the recent collapse of a multi-million-dollar deal between Makivik and Quebec on compensation for the Great Whale project. “It’s just more proof that

We want to know what’s going on on the other side of the bay.

Makivik is barking up the wrong tree. They should be up north instead of making deals in the south.”