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October 2019 Message from the Chair

October 2019 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. 

Aaqana, Aarigaa! Inuvialuit,

Now that the elections are complete, the IRC is ready to get back to business and engage with Governments in any activity that may affect, enhance, or contribute to the overall health and direction of the organization and improve the lives of Inuvialuit.

We can already feel some optimism for the upcoming session of the N.W.T. 19th Legislative Assembly. Inuvialuit are ready to work with MLAs Jackie Jacobson, Lesa Semmler, Diane Thom and Frederick (Sonny) Blake in their respective roles as elected representatives for the Region and to partner together for a progressive North. I have already met with all MLAs in order to help guide this co-operation going forward.

Federally, the Inuit-Crown Partership (ICPC) has greatly enhanced governments knowledge of Inuit and Arctic conditions. IRC listened closely throughout elections for reconciliation measures and for robust commitments and engagement in supporting infrastructure and opportunity for the Region.  IRC intends to continue work with re-elected N.W.T. Member of Parliament Michael McLeod on Regional housing and infrastructure.  And we expect to continue working together with the Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers and along with other Inuit Regions to advance Inuit-Crown priorities for care of children, health, food security, education and Indigenous Language.  We are especially hopeful in regards to Canada’s legislation of basic rights as stated after long negotiated efforts within United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and now to Canada’s fulfillment and implementation of this declaration.

The ITK AGM held in September was a chance to assert a reworking of the relationship between health data now being managed by Inuit Regions with a launch of Qanuippitaa? National Inuit Health Survey. Expect to hear more on this as we make decisions for the Region to best allocate resources, address areas of most concern, monitor progress, and work with other Inuit Regions for self-determination in health. It was also a chance to assert realities and especially the defined geographical span of Traditional Inuit Territories agreed to under Land Claims with Canada that make up Inuit Nunangat and for the benefit of Federal agencies trying to better work in our Region like Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard.

In the Region, we can look forward to an expanded On The Land program, especially with newly trained Land Program Coordinators and supplies to support these programs with IRC’s Project Jewel  On the Land Wellness initiatives.

Over the last year, IRC has seen a significant jump in Indigenous Skills and Education Training (ISET) Program applications.  Many Inuvialuit are accessing the funds to support their Post Secondary Education (PSE) pursuits and participating in Labour Market Program Development.

Ulukhaktok welcomes the newly renovated ACCESS Youth space where community Elders have sewn stories into tapestries for youth, and both styles of drum dancing were celebrated at the new space.  Based on such multi-generational exchanges, this again is another example of real cultural contribution to overall goals of wellness.

Over the summer IRC was glad to see more than 230 youth registered for Summer Literacy Camps in all ISR communities, and over 35 local staff were hired. We now hope students can carry on as the school year begins, IRC is once again stressing the importance to all students in keeping up with their attendance with continued support from parents, families and schools. IRC supports the Beaufort Delta Education Council’s priorities of Indigenizing education and a focus on literacy from Grades K to 3.  

To close, we are thinking of all Inuvialuit participating in healthy pursuits, relevant to culture and especially On the Land and hope this continues to expand. 

Taima. Quyanainni! Koana! Quyanaqpak!

Duane Ningaqsiq Smith

Chair and Chief Executive Officer