Pan-Arctic Inuit org says Inuvik assembly a turning point

PM Harper, ICC gathering’s honorary patron, to appear via video


Delegates join hands at the close of ICC's last general assembly, held in Nuuk in 2010. This year's general assembly in Inuvik kicks of July 20 with a concert at Fred Koe Park and an opening ceremony on the morning of July 21. (FILE PHOTO)

Delegates join hands at the close of ICC’s last general assembly, held in Nuuk in 2010. This year’s general assembly in Inuvik kicks of July 20 with a concert at Fred Koe Park and an opening ceremony on the morning of July 21. (FILE PHOTO)

The Inuit Circumpolar Council’s Canadian wing says the pan-Arctic organization’s general assembly in Inuvik could potentially become a turning point for Inuit.

“This era is not only bringing challenges to Inuit and to the Arctic, but also opportunities,” the ICC Canada president, Duane Smith, said in a news release.

The ICC holds its general assemblies every four years, at locations that rotate among the organization’s three largest national delegations: Alaska, Greenland and Canada.

This year’s gathering will likely attract between 600 and 1,000 people to Inuvik in the Northwest Territories from around the circumpolar world.

The assembly’s honorary patron, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, will appear digitally at the July 21 opening ceremony, by way of a video message.

Analog speakers that day will include Inuvik mayor Floyd Roland, who is also a former premier of the NWT, Bob McLeod, the current NWT premier, and Nellie Cournoyea, as well as former NWT premier, now the chair and chief executive officer of the Inuvialuit Regional Corp., which is hosting the event.

In the early afternoon of July 21, Nunavut MP Leona Aglukkaq, who heads Canada’s chairmanship of the Arctic Council, will give a keynote speech, the meeting’s agenda says.

In that speech, Aglukkaq is expected to talk about the “Canadian Chairmanship Program” for the Arctic Council.

A centrepiece of that chairmanship is an Arctic Economic Council, which the Arctic Council announced this past March after Canada first proposed a circumpolar business summit.

On July 22, at a special session on Arctic economic development, ICC delegates will discuss whether ICC should plan to hold its own Inuit economic conference.

“What makes this gathering even more pivotal is that Canada’s chairing of the eight-nation Arctic Council, which comes to an Arctic state only once every 16 years, will overlap with Canadian Inuit chairing the ICC starting immediately after the assembly,” Smith said in the news release.

Aqqaluk Lynge of Greenland will chair the gathering, in his last function as ICC’s international chair.

At the end of the assembly on July 24, Okalik Eegeesiak, the president of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, will replace Lynge in a pre-arranged succession.

Okalik has already announced that she’ll quit her QIA job as of July 24. Larry Audlaluk of Grise Fiord will serve as interim QIA president until an election to be held this December.

Other speakers throughout the week of July 20 to July 24 include Greenland premier Aleqa Hammond, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami president Terry Audla, Charlotte Brower, mayor of the North Slop Borough of Alaska, and Anna Otke, a senator with the Council of the Russian Federation who represents Chukotka.

Each evening will feature performances from circumpolar artists, including a cultural performance that kicks off on the evening of June 20, with a show at Jim Koe Park featuring the Jerry Cans and the Inuvik Drummers and Dancers.

At the same time, Inuvik will host the 45th circumpolar northern games between July 21 and July 27 at Jim Koe Park.

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