Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Around the Arctic April 12, 2012 - 12:50 pm

National Inuit org set to select a new president

12 voters will decide June 6 who leads Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami for the next three years


The 12 voting members of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami — the heads of the Inuit birthright organizations from the four Inuit regions in Canada, along with two delegates per region — will chose a new president for ITK June 6 in Kuujjuaq at ITK’s 2012 annual general meeting.

The incumbent president, Mary Simon, will see her second three-year term expire.

Simon, who has held the position for two consecutive terms, since July 7, 2006, has not yet said whether or not she will seek a third term.

Inuit seeking the position of ITK president must be nominated by an ITK board member, or by 20 Inuit beneficiaries who sign a nomination form.

Sources say Nellie Cournoyea, the president of the Inuvialuit Regional Corp., plans to nominate Pita Aatami, who headed Makivvik Corp.,  until last January when he lost his re-election bid.

Other names circulating for possible ITK nominations include Udloriak Hanson, now ITK’s executive director, and Paul Okalik, the former premier of Nunavut.

Until recently, the ITK presidency naturally rotated among Inuit regions. Under past practice, a Nunavik president would be succeeded by a president from either Nunavut, Labrador or the western Arctic.

Until 1997, individual Inuit across Canada were able to vote for the ITK president in pan-Arctic elections.

The last Arctic-wide election took place in May 1994, when Rosemarie Kuptana defeated Ruby Arngna’naaq by only a few hundred votes.

Kuptana stepped down in April 1996, leaving the organization with a deficit of more than $700,000. The board then appointed Mary Sillett of Labrador to serve out the rest of Kuptana’s term.

It was during that time that the board changed the election procedures of ITK (then called Inuit Tapirisat of Canada), to replace the universal election with the current process — election by the four board members, plus two delegates from each region.

Interested candidates for the ITK presidency have until May 10 at 5.p.m. to file their nominations.

Rules and procedures for the election, nomination forms, and the ITK president’s job description can be found on the ITK website.

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