Igloolik delegate doesn’t like NSDC’s move to Iqaluit
Although some NTI delegates don’t like the move, NSDC chair Mary Wilman says her organization will become more effective after re-locating to Iqaluit.
IQALUIT — The Nunavut Social Development Council’s decision to move from Igloolik to Iqaluit has aroused concerns from an Igloolik delegate at last week’s NTI annual general meeting in Iqaluit.
Igloolik representative Joe Attagutaluk questioned NSDC’s decision to move its office from Igloolik to Iqaluit.
“Maybe the move from Igloolik should have been a request to NTI. This move prior to consent from the annual general meeting is a concern,” Attagutaluk said.
But the NSDC’s board of directors decided that their office should be closer to the government departments that they have to work with, said council chair Mary Wilman. She also said that being located in Iqaluit would reduce costs.
“We don’t have sufficient funds to be fully functional in Igloolik,” Wilman said. The move to Iqaluit will cost about $3,000.
“The officials that we have to deal effectively with are here.”
NTI President Jose Kusugak asked how the NSDC could make such a decision without first getting a go-ahead from NTI.
But NTI legal counsel Allan Maclure said the land claim agreement gives the NSDC the power to make such decisions without NTI’s approval.
“It seems we’ve created a monster without trying,” Kusugak responded. And Louis Pilikapsi, from Rankin Inlet called the unilateral decision “unacceptable.”
Wilman said the body’s move is only an issue for the Igloolik director.
She said the move will provide stability for NSDC and be more cost-effective.
“Iqaluit is the most logical place while we’re in the infancy stage. All our major partners are here. If we want to collaborate, we have to be here,” Wilman said.
The NSDC works closely with the Nunavut government’s Culture, Language, Elders and Youth Department. That department has an office in Igloolik, but Wilman said all the major players are in Iqaluit.
Wilman added that a location in Iqaluit may only be necessary for two years.
The NSDC was set up under the Nunavut land claims agreement to provide advice on Inuit culture and language.
Wilman said it is “a little bit unfortunate” the move to Iqaluit didn’t receive more support from NTI delegates.
“It’s a decision of the NSDC board — sometimes we have to make unpopular decisions,” she said.
NSDC has three staff members in Igloolik. One staff member in charge of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit will remain in Igloolik to keep close ties with the Arctic College Research Centre there.
Wilman could not say what would happen to the other two positions currently located in Igloolik. NSDC has a budget for five staff members.
The NSDC will have an executive director, Paul Crowley, located in Iqaluit starting this month. Wilman hopes to find office space by January.