Leaders unveil Inuksuk at Quebec’s National Assembly
Meant to symbolize relationship between government and Inuit
Provincial government and Inuit officials unveiled an Inuksuk on the grounds of Quebec’s National Assembly on Thursday in a ceremony said to symbolize the growing understanding between the provincial government and Nunavik’s Inuit.
“It serves as a reminder of our relationship — the nation-to-nation relationship we have,” Lisa Koperqualuk, communications officer for Makivik Corp., said in an interview this week.
“It’s not a new era. Quebec and the Inuit have been building this relationship up to today for the past 40 years.”
Jean Jobin, an architect with La Commission de la Capitale Nationale in Quebec City, designed the traditional Inuit marker. It stands on the front lawn of the National Assembly between statues of René Lévesque and Jean Lesage, two deceased champions of Quebec sovereignty.
Jobin used stones taken from Quebec’s Inuit communities to build the Inuksuk. Fifteen stones encircle the work — fourteen symbolize the Inuit communities in Nunavik and one represents Chisasibi, the only Inuit community in Quebec that lies south of the 55th parallel. Each stone is engraved in both roman orthography and syllabics with the name of its community of origin.
Makivik president Pita Aatami and Kativik Regional Government chairman Johnny Adams joined Premier Bernard Landry, Opposition Leader Jean Charest and Action Democratic de Quebec leader Mario Dumont in presenting the Inuksuk.
Makivik and the Quebec government commissioned and developed the Inuksuk to commemorate Sanarrutik, the economic and community development agreement the two bodies signed this past April.
Though not the self-government agreement Nunavimmiut have long been seeking, Sanarrutik will see the provincial government pay out more than $360 million in tax-free transfers to Northern Quebec’s Inuit over the next 25 years.
The money will allow Nunavik communities to pave their roads, and will help Makivik and the KRG develop Northern Quebec’s tourism industry, open Pingualuit Park and establish a detention centre north of the 55th parallel.
The unveiling marked the beginning of two days of celebration for Nunavimmiut. The official opening of the Katutjiniq Information Office immediately followed the Inuksuk’s presentation. A celebratory cocktail reception and dinner, replete with a fashion show and throat singing, completed the events.