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Message from the Chair

This message will be updated at quarterly intervals alongside the IRC Board Summary Newsletter.

Please check back often for a new message and update from the chair. 

Hello Inuvialuit,

IRC is about building relationships and how we can better implement the land claim for all Inuvialuit. In September, I appeared before the Senate Standing Committee on Aboriginal Peoples in Yellowknife and Inuvik. As Canadian citizens, we all need to hold the government accountable as to how they may or may not be working with organizations to proactively implement those treaty rights.

When the Government of Canada announced the December 2016 moratorium on the off-shore oil and gas development with only 20 minutes notice, this was not an example of a mutually respectful relationship. The Beaufort Sea is not an uninhabited place. It is a major component of the ISR, along with all the oil and gas stranded from development.

Read the October 2018 Board Summary

Also, IRC recommended that the Government of Canada help improve access to coastal communities for material goods, provide longer-term financing arrangements, ensure better Internet services – particularly for online and distant education – strengthen marine coastal infrastructure and replace fossil fuel use with cleaner energy sources.

The Inuvialuit must be heard. In recent weeks, IRC attended the Senate Committee on the Arctic Policy Framework and the Intergovernmental Forum with the GNWT Premier and other NWT leadership. Coming in October, IRC will be present at the NWT Indigenous Leaders Economic Summit in Inuvik.

Representation is a responsibility that IRC takes seriously. We need to protect our rights as Inuvialuit as well as the obligations of Canada to work proactively with IRC to ensure the successful implementation of the IFA.

In partnership with the Federal Government, IRC and the NWT Housing Corporation are pleased that the 6-plex built by Nappaq in Inuvik is now ready for occupancy. Working through IDC, units were built ahead of schedule, at lower costs, of higher quality as well as increased local employment and training opportunities. Furthermore, a new Memorandum of Agreement was signed to set the stage for future partnership opportunities.

Early this summer, ITK held their AGM in Inuvik with delegates from the 4 Inuit regions. ITK presented a series of awards recognizing contributions and achievements of Inuit in the region hosting the AGM. It was difficult as there are so many deserving individuals and organizations. Congratulations to all the worthy recipients!

Focusing on youth, IRC initiated and supported programs which benefit this younger generation. The Summer Literacy Camps in Aklavik, Inuvik and Tuk had over 100 youth in attendance. There were many suggestions to making the camps last an entire summer.

Under the First Shift program, IRC - in partnership with Canadian Tire, Bauer Hockey and Hockey Canada - provided 45 youth from Inuvik and the Beaufort-Delta with free head-to-toe gear as well as 6 on-ice training sessions. It is all about having fun and giving the kids an opportunity to pursue healthy recreational life pursuits, share with each other and build friendships.

Once again IRC sponsored 2 youth to participate in the 2018 Students on Ice Arctic Expedition. In total 4 Inuvialuit youth experienced this once-in-a-lifetime experience July 23 to August 7 - Ethan Cockney, Kirsti Voudrach, Mataya Gillis and Janelle Pokiak.

After winning a bronze medal at the Canada-Wide Science Fair, Tyra Cockney-Goose displayed her experiment on sleep deprivation at the Prime Minister’s Science Fair September 19 in Ottawa which celebrates the best and brightest young Canadians in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). Hers was the only medal-winning entry by an NWT participant and the first for a Beaufort-Delta student since 2013.

As the school year begins, IRC is once again stressing the importance to all students of keeping up attendance with continued support from parents, families and school faculties. Attendance! Attendance! Attendance!

Quyanainni! Koana! Quyanaqpak!

Duane Ningaqsiq Smith
Chair and Chief Executive Officer
Inuvialuit Regional Corporation