Did infighting damage Association of Montreal Inuit?


I think we need some clarification here about the Association of Montreal Inuit, known as AMI, and Mr. Victor Mesher, who founded the organization known as AMI and recruited the board members, including myself.

Mr. Mesher personally asked me to be the secretary-treasurer. After some years, some of the Inuit of Montreal wanted to have an election for all board members. This became a protracted fight with Mr. Mesher, particularly because, for periods of time, AMI operated without enough board members even to make a quorum.

Many Inuit felt that AMI must become a true association.

We offered Mr. Mesher an opportunity to be elected by the Inuit community of Montreal, but he declined. We, a group of Inuit, eventually held an election at the community feast. This action was boycotted by Mr. Mesher, but a full board of seven members was elected.

Mr. Mesher says he was “forced out” from AMI, but he always had a chance to seek a mandate from the Inuit of Montreal. It was never closed to him. Even the presidency of AMI was never closed to him. The only person who closed that door was Mr. Mesher.

Personally, I was not, nor am I now, an employee of Makivik and in no way beholden to it. I am a beneficiary of Makivik Corp. and will defend it whenever necessary. I will also voice my displeasure to any decision made by this corporation when it is warranted. I

n my opinion, Makivik nor its employee were the problem in this case. Makivik was in-fact always supportive of AMI and does not deserve the sniping from some individuals, which it has quietly suffered.

During the years Mr. Mesher was president, Makivik and its subsidiary corporations donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the organization, in cash and in kind.

During that same period the other Inuit birthright organizations donated somewhere in the range of $100 to $10,000.

Sadly, Makivik has drawn back from its once strong support because of the infighting described above. That has been the real and lasting damage which we have to acknowledge and try to repair.

Jobie Weetaluktuk
Victoria, B.C.

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