Nunavut youth get warm reception at meeting
N-Files report notes confusion over job promises, decentralization
Nunavut youth had a captive audience when the N-Files report was presented at the leaders’ summit in Cambridge Bay last Sunday.
Jimi Onalik, youth co-ordinator for the Kivalliq Inuit Association, presented the report, which is a compilation of youth views on a range of issues linked to the creation of the new territory.
Using a simple information booklet and questionnaire, the creators of the N-Files had polled Nunavut youth on issues such as gender parity, dual member constituencies, selection of a premier and decentralization.
About 1,000 youth have responded to the questionnaire.
“It was really encouraging,” Onalik said. “A lot of young people took this extremely seriously.”
Onalik said the leaders are also taking this youth report seriously and listening to what the young people of Nunavut are saying.
“NTI was very interested to see what would happen,” he said. “We were getting calls asking when the report would be completed, so I think they are interested in what young people have to say.”
Youth express their confusion about a number of issues and the lack of any clear guidance. Decentralization and the perception that jobs would be available in many smaller communities was one issue addressed.
“Youth believe their political leaders have been telling them that the Nunavut government will be totally decentralized and there will be a boom of new jobs in all communities,” the report states.
“We have not been able to pinpoint exactly which organization or government has been leading youth to believe this, but neither is there a clear voice across the tundra setting the record straight.”
Onalik pointed out that youth want information that not only provides background but is also in easy-to-understand language.
“There was a pretty strong statement from young people saying they would like to see their own youth organizations relaying a lot of this information to them,” Onalik said. “They’d like to see their peers bringing some of this information to them and letting them know what’s going on.”
There are 28 recommendations in the report addressing NIC’s report, youth councils and the three parties of the Nunavut Political Accord – NTI, the GNWT and the federal government. There is also a short discussion paper on a Nunavut Job Corps, a strategy which would provide training and personal development opportunities to the people of Nunavut.
Because of the success of the N-Files campaign, Onalik said there may be a follow-up dealing with the Nunavut Land Claim.