Nunavik youth association hopes to get back on its feet by spring

In the meantime, Nunavimmiut youth grow impatient


Saputiit Youth Association will integrate under one of Nunavik's regional organization. (IMAGE COURTESY OF SAPUTIIT)

Saputiit Youth Association will integrate under one of Nunavik’s regional organization. (IMAGE COURTESY OF SAPUTIIT)

KUUJJUAQ — Nunavimmiut youth are still waiting to hear the fate of their regional youth association, whose operations have been at a standstill for the past two years.

Saputiit Youth Association, which has spent the last few years recovering from financial mismanagement, hopes to be back on its feet again by the spring.

But that will rely on the Kativik Regional Government and Makivik Corp. deciding which regional organization is willing to take Saputiit under its wing.

That’s one of the conditions that the Quebec youth secretariat has imposed on Saputiit if the youth association wants to sign onto a new funding agreement for 2014. Before its operations stopped, Quebec provided almost all of Saputiit’s $400,000 annual budget.

“We are hopeful that the steps needed to be established will be completed before this fiscal period starts for the youth association,” said Saputiit president Elizabeth Annahatak, in a report to presented to the KRG’s regional council meeting Feb. 24.

Once Saputiit is integrated under a regional organization, the association will also be obligated to hire a youth coordinator with professional experience, and re-establish its regional board of directors, who fall under Saputiit’s membership — youth aged 18 to 35.

Next, the association will have to survey Nunavimmiut youth to help redefine what its role should be.

For its part, the KRG says it is waiting on Makivik Corp. to make its position known.

In the meantime, though, the KRG councillor for Kuujjuaq, Jennifer Watkins, said young people have little leadership to look to in the region.

“I’m becoming impatient, along with the youth of Nunavimmiut,” Watkins told the regional council.

Since she was elected in 2011, Saputiit president Elizabeth Annahatak said she has spent the last two years working, part of it unpaid, to reorganize the association with little to no time to focus on its mandate of serving Nunavik youth.

Annahatak has been tasked with pulling the organization out of financial disarray that began when an auditor was unable to verify financial statements for Saputiit’s 2010-11 and 2011-12 fiscal years.

When Saputiit holds its next elections, Annahatak won’t be running again because of age restrictions, but she told the KRG regional council last fall that she’ll keep working to make that transition as smooth as possible.

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