Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut June 04, 2018 - 10:35 am

GN backs away from morphing culture school into treatment centre

GN now denies repurposing idea

JANE GEORGE
A committee of MLAs said the Government of Nunavut was looking at converting the Piqqusilirivvik Cultural School building in Clyde River into a territorial addictions treatment centre. But the GN now says they don't want to do that. (FILE PHOTO)
A committee of MLAs said the Government of Nunavut was looking at converting the Piqqusilirivvik Cultural School building in Clyde River into a territorial addictions treatment centre. But the GN now says they don't want to do that. (FILE PHOTO)

(UPDATED, 1:20 p.m., June 6)

It appears the Government of Nunavut was looking at converting Piqqusilirivvik Cultural School in Clyde River into a territorial addictions treatment centre, Pangnirtung MLA Margaret Nakashuk, the chair of the assembly’s standing committee on social wellness, said in a report to the assembly given May 31.

But now, the Department of Health says they have no intention of doing that.

“Health would like to clarify that the ongoing feasibility study for a treatment facility does not include the Piqqusilirivvik Inuit Cultural Learning Centre in Clyde River,” a health department spokesperson said in an email June 6 to Nunatsiaq News.

With $388,000 for a feasibility study for such a treatment facility underway, GN consultants had eyed the school’s $32.2 million building in the north Baffin community of about 1,000 people, Nakashuk had said on behalf of the committee.

“During the minister’s appearance before the standing committee to discuss her department’s draft budget for 2018-19, members were given to understand that some consideration has been given to repurposing the Piqqusilirivvik Cultural School in Clyde River into a residential treatment facility,” Nakashuk said, when MLAs examined the Health Department’s budget requests for 2018-19.

“Members look forward to updates on developments.”

Health Minister Pat Angnakak would likely have provided that information to a standing committee of MLAs in a behind-close-doors in-camera session last April, during budget briefings.

But it now looks as if the GN is backing away from that idea, despite the statement that Nakashuk attributed to Angnakak.

“The Department of Health would like to clarify that the ongoing feasibility study for a treatment facility does not include the Piqqusilirivvik Inuit Cultural Learning Centre in Clyde River and it should be made clear that it was never a government position to repurpose the Piqqusilirivvik Centre” the health department message said.

Modelled after Knud Rasmussen Folk High School in Sisimut, Greenland, Piqqusiirivvik, which means “a place that has those things important to us,” first opened in 2011.

Looking ahead, the 2,200-square-metre building, which costs at least $4 million a year to operate, could have been an attractive option for a treatment centre for the Health Department.

For 2018-19, the Department of Health is looking for ways to reduce its 2018-19 budget of $392 million, which was introduced last week by Angnakak in the Nunavut legislature’s committee of the whole.

This figure represents an increase of more than $39 million, or about 10 per cent, over what the department asked for last year.

In her comments on the Health Department’s budget, Nakashuk also pointed out that the department had asked for close to $50 million more in supplementary money for 2017-18.

Included in the Health Department’s request for 2018-19:

• $1,583,000 to work towards eliminating tuberculosis.

• $2,748,000 to support mental health services.

• $433,000 to hire an additional audiologist to focus on early intervention for newborns and preschool children.

• $490,000 to fill two public health positions on cannabis and develop a Nunavut-specific cannabis public health program.

• $31 million for the following “uncontrollable expense” categories: $14.5 million for medical travel, $11 million for mental health and addictions treatment, $855,000 for operational funding for elders’ homes, and $4.8 million for operational funding to support the care of elders out of territory.

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(21) Comments:

#1. Posted by Huvaguuq2018 on June 04, 2018

Cut medical travel drastically by eliminating free trips (airfare, meals, accommodations, free transport even for just shopping) by escorts for every patient, which now includes an escort even for those just going for follow-up appointments.
Put major focus on teaching how to be parents. Not right when GN has to provide regular charter services from across Nunavut to Churchill for major dental work on very young children.
Educate us on proper eating and exercise. Controls diabetes, promotes healthy living, reduces sickness. Most of us, even young ones, appear to be permanently pregnant nowadays!!!

#2. Posted by Problematic on June 04, 2018

So we are conceding that a cultural school was a fantastical waste of money, driven by idealistic half wits? 

The biggest problem I see with this is that Flying to Clyde River from most places in Nunavut is extremely $$$, worse than flying South.

#3. Posted by eskimo joe on June 04, 2018

goodness are you fighting the whole of Nunavut all by your lonesome? gonna be hard, better communicate with your mla directly. would be new use of this building is the best news I heard from the house in recent years. away from all temptation for the patients.

#4. Posted by Piitaqanngi on June 04, 2018

Invest in IUDs as promoted by Canadian pediatricians. That in itself would save GN money in the long term.

#5. Posted by ugly place on June 04, 2018

The culture school is already halfway there. Criminal record check to get in, many go through withdrawal after day 2 or 3. Make it a treatment centre. After all, it has been a huge waste of money the GN has pumped into that thing and not very many people go to it. Just a place for free food.

#6. Posted by Can we please not shut down Nunavut's only cultura on June 04, 2018

I understand the need for a treatment centre, but it should be located in the capital city.

Please don’t shut down Piqqusilirivvik. From what I hear it’s an awesome cultural school. I really want to go there!

#7. Posted by Piitaqanngi on June 04, 2018

Piqqusiq = custom or culture
liri = to do
vvik = place for
Therefore Piqqusilirivvik is a place to practice culture.
Pimmagijaqarvivut would be more appropriate for the definition used in the article.

#8. Posted by Piitaqanngi on June 04, 2018

Though I applaud the gov’t for dealing with mental health issues it’s at the cost of passing on the Inuit culture.
Not everyone has anyone to teach them Inuit skills so the School is the only place where they can learn.
GN has remained steadfast on keeping the culture alive since it’s formation. It should build a whole new facility in a more convenient place that could lower transportation costs & remain committed to culture.

#9. Posted by Inuk on June 04, 2018

Angiqatigijara we need healing here.  Many share and learn culture as ancestors did and can do today.  we need healing,.  thank you,.  There are only so much to go around so decisions have to be mace.

#10. Posted by SamE. on June 04, 2018

That school in Clyde River should not exist.
We can teach those things in our home communities with our own Elders.
That place was a costly sinking ship for years and it did little to make anyone more aware of their own culture.
I would like to see a Treatment Centre in Iqaluit, but if it is in Clyde, that is okay with me.
Just teach Inuit values when you hold groups there too.

#11. Posted by SamE. on June 04, 2018

That school in Clyde River should not exist.
We can teach those things in our home communities with our own Elders.
That place was a costly sinking ship for years and it did little to make anyone more aware of their own culture.
I would like to see a Treatment Centre in Iqaluit, but if it is in Clyde, that is okay with me.
Just teach our own Inuit values when you hold groups in a Treatment Centre.

#12. Posted by Alethea Arnaquq-Baril on June 04, 2018

#10 - Richard:. Do you dare post your last name? Or do you somewhere deep inside know that you should be ashamed of that comment?

#13. Posted by Samantha Barnes on June 05, 2018

The healing that needs to happen can take both styles of healing - counseling and getting back to our traditional knowledge. Acquiring skills of hunting, and sewing. Continue to utilize resources - Elders are a invaluable resource, full of knowledge that can never be replaced. This is a good starting point for our territory and our people. Heal together.

#14. Posted by Ms.T on June 05, 2018

MAKE IT INTO AN ELDERS CARE> THE MONEY IS THERE that is spent outside the Territory.—$4.8 million for operational funding to support the care of elders out of territory

#15. Posted by More Information Required on June 05, 2018

Why is the government considering converting this building from a cultural school? Is it losing money? Is the return too low? There needs to be a better explanation given in this piece.

#16. Posted by Seen it before on June 05, 2018

I don’t remember any promotion for the Piqqusilirivvik Cultural School in Clyde River when it first opened.

I was not too worried at the time because I was confident that word of mouth would keep people coming after the first year.

But I’ve wondered over they years why I’ve never heard anything from the “graduates”.

I’ve never read a news story about the school, except the one about the snow drifting over the roof.

I am starting to think Piqqusilirivvik was an idea without a leader.  You cannot hire a manager to make something happen.  It takes a leader to make something happen.  Good managers can keep something running, but they cannot build anything.  Managers make people follow rules. Leaders give people reasons to do what they did not think they could do.

Turning it into something else will require a leader who will dedicate himself or herself to it, otherwise there will be another wasted building.

Taima.

#17. Posted by Inuk78 on June 06, 2018

Piqqusilirivvik is a place to learn what has been forgotten, it has helped me to accept myself.

I know many of us were fortunate to finish, some were sent back home because they could not accept the rules of the facility, so many young people are struggling to follow the rules and it’s probably a hard thing to accept that they are living without their parents.

I’m forever grateful for the teachers and the elders who has helped me to accept whatever has happened, that life goes on.
I would want the place as piqqusilirrivik as it is, maybe learn more of the Inuit culture (cleaning skins). I know we can’t go back 50 + years back but keep our culture alive.

#18. Posted by Peter on June 06, 2018

From when this school was first talked about to what we have today it has gone through so much change and it’s lost what it was supposed to be.
So much money spent and it’s not what it was ment to be.

Nunatsiaq news should also include in this article what purpose this school had when it was approved for building it and spending all that money on it. It sure lost its way from what it was supposed to be.

#19. Posted by Uvagulimaaq on June 07, 2018

Heal and wellness will get us to be better and more able to be people on our lands.  First is first.  What is your first?  I hope it is wellness and family. 

I vote to have a healing centre in beautiful Clyde.

Second is to have more cultural training in every community and not in a school in Clyde.  It is too expensive and many more need this re-learning. 

I vote to have more programs in every Adult Education centre and funding to support these programs instead of one school.

#20. Posted by Treatment Centre on June 07, 2018

People come to Iqaluit quite often, to drink.
The Treatment Centre should be here so while they are in Treatment, they can learn to handle the temptation.
It makes better sense to have it here.
Try and 2 - 3 year Pilot, then build a bigger one but make it here so it is a place to heal, not drink.

#21. Posted by Beautiful Culture on June 07, 2018

Piqqusilirivvik lost its purpose as soon as it was transferred to Nunavut Arctic College. I guess there has been some improvement since the changes of none Inuit leader. Variety of student had gone through there 78 was the eldest 18 the youngest all have gain knowledge of traditional lifestyle of Inuit.

Piqqusilirivvik teaches Inuit culture and values, how to be a good parent, a good provider, being connected spiritually, how to make clothing and tools for livelihood. It would be a shame if the MLAs would scraped the program one and only program.

Too bad not more Inuit don’t go there including the individuals who are more educated. Its have a good really powerful books about Inuit and indigenous experience with the comers.

Students found jobs with HTOs Hamlets, private and one is a Law student. This could be really really good program is supported fully by the MLAs and GN, there is nothing any other like it.

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