Inuit Women’s Association of Nunavik in disarray, departing president says
“The things we planned to do, we couldn’t do them”
(updated at 4:00 p.m.)
KANGIRSUK — Saturviit, the Inuit Women’s Association of Nunavik, appears to have hit a wall — hard.
Its president, Lizzie Tukai, who was re-elected last May for another term, says she’s resigning.
In her May 30 report to the Kativik Regional Government council, Tukai said she’s leaving because she’s “ too overwhelmed” by the constant travel, the growing list of things that need to be done, and the organization’s general inability to act on anything.
“The things we planned to do, we couldn’t do them,” Tukai said. “I was enthusiastic, but I was disappointed.”
People didn’t do what they were supposed to, Tukai said. This meant there was no minute-taking or written copies of resolutions from at least one meeting.
“We had good ideas… but putting them into reality was a different story,” she said.
Saturviit’s first three- year agreement on “equality between men and women” expired last March 31.
Meanwhile, Saturviit has another one-year extension on that agreement from Quebec to continue its work — a grant worth $72,500.
During this time, Saturviit is supposed to:
• focus on understanding the problems women face and develop solutions with respect gender equality;
• reach out to women to make sure they have access to programs and services;
• advance the number and capacity of women in decision-making roles in Nunavik organizations; and,
• strengthen Saturviit “as an organization that gives a voice to Nunavik women.”
But Janice Grey, Saurviit’s new secretary, said the women’s group may be down, but it’s not out.
“We hope in the next few months to refresh and revitalize it, a process where we will definitely be missing Lizzie’s presence, but we understand her need to go,” Grey said in an email.
Before the latest upheaval, Saturviit appeared to be moving ahead.
Last May, Saturviit members participated in a workshop in Puvirnituq on women and governance, which was co-ordinated, in part, by Quebec’s centre for women’s development and governance and paid for by Status of Women Canada and the KRG’s employment and training department.
This past February, the group launched a “women in business” project, visiting Salluit, Kangiqsujuaq and Kangirsuk with two Ottawa-based consultants. About 60 women attended workshops designed to help them learn about how to develop a business.
The KRG gave $19,170 to the “Dream Business Tour,” which was supposed to be offered by Saturviit in other communities and receive a follow-up in the three communities that were visited during the “tour.”
Saturviit’s membership — about 200 members across the region — has been open to Inuit women who are beneficiaries, 16 and older.
When it started, Saturviit planned to focus its work on seven areas, including family harmony, positive parenting, education and language, and children’s safety.
Saturviit also wanted to promote the development of resources to support families, take action against violence and encourage healing from family violence and spousal assault.
Its “Stop Violence” manifesto, revealed in Kangirsuk at the 2006 Makivik Corp. annual general meeting, urged Nunavimmiut to take a stand against violence towards women and children and officials to act against violence.