Nunatsiavut-raised Brian Pottle, 29, grew up in both Postville and Ringolet. He completed an engineering degree at Memorial University in St. John’s in 2015 and has since settled in Newfoundland and Labrador’s capital city. (Photo courtesy of ITK)

National Inuit Youth Council acclaims new president

Brian Pottle, 29, will serve a 2-year term

By Sarah Rogers

The National Inuit Youth Council has acclaimed a new president.

Brian Pottle, 29, will serve a two-year term, the organization announced on Friday.

Pottle grew up in the Labrador communities of Postville and Ringolet. He completed an engineering degree at Memorial University in St. John’s in 2015 and has since settled there.

“What drew me to this [role] was the fact that I’m always endeavouring to give back to Inuit communities whenever possible,” said Pottle, who does suicide prevention outreach and STEM workshops in Nunatsiavut communities.

“I feel that I have a lot to offer to advance the interests of Inuit youth.”

The National Inuit Youth Council is made up of six voting members and a president, who serves as the national voice for Inuit youth.

Pottle ran for the council presidency in 2019, but lost to outgoing president Crystal Martin-Lapenskie. This is his first foray into politics.

He said he hopes to put mental well-being and access to higher education at the forefront of his presidency.

“I want to help show youth that there are so many options out there in the world — so many options that hopefully suicide isn’t one of them,” he said.

“On a personal level, that is something I feel very strongly about. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been touched by suicide. I lost my brother — it’s way too common.”

Pottle comes on board with the youth council just as Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami has announced a new partnership and funding towards the creation of a university in Inuit Nunangat.

The project is one Pottle hopes the National Inuit Youth Council will be a key part of, to help provide insight into how the institution can best serve Inuit youth.

“I’ve heard a lot of people say [they don’t] want tokenism, just for the sake of having youth at the table,” Pottle said.

“I want to make sure that if a voice is representing a whole demographic, that that voice carries weight.”

The National Inuit Youth Council postponed its nomination period this year due to a lack of interested candidates.

Pottle said he hopes to use his presidency to re-engage his peers, as travel and programming start to reopen across the country.

He said the COVID-19 pandemic has isolated a lot of Inuit youth — especially those who were enrolled in post-secondary studies.

The National Inuit Youth Council also thanked outgoing president Crystal Martin-Lapenskie for her “dedication, passion and outstanding commitment to Inuit youth during her term” in the news release.

“Martin-Lapenskie proved to be a strong advocate for Inuit youth on mental wellness, community infrastructure and climate change,” states the release.

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(4) Comments:

  1. Posted by Nunatsiavut on

    Nice to see some representation from Labrador.

    I Wonder if Mumilaaq were still around, would she go on Twitter Live demanding that he prove his “inukness”?

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    • Posted by Appearance Above All Else on

      I was thinking the same thing, he probably doesn’t look “Inuk” enough (whatever that is) for her. I mean my identity is all about someone else’s perception of my appearance, right? /S

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  2. Posted by Community Name on

    Rigolet*

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  3. Posted by M Center on

    Congratulations. I guess. I don’t mean to be a stinker, but some general open questions that general Inuit Public should be asking. Because we can and should be able to.

    Just a question on NIYC Age requirement . Is the National Inuit Youth Council (NIYC), an Exio-Officio ITK Board Position with “No Voting Rights” while Representing the “Majority of Population” is a “Dashboard Ornament Title” for ITK to show they involve Youth. The question is, “Isn’t there a Voting Age Limit or do NIYC have a age limit cap for running for NIYC President? Or is it open to any age group to run for a Elected Position representing the “Youth”?

    Is his age “29” or was it a typo of “19”? Wasn’t Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) Define Youth to be age “21”? Being 29 to sit in Youth Executive seems new. Why not 65?. Meaning something seems off here.

    And another ITK question as open question. Did ITK President Natan sit on a Appointed Regional Inuit Organization (RIO) board before running and being elected for ITK President? Or did he get to President Position from a Staff to President? Was he representing his Regional Inuit Organization (RIO) to sit in Board Room and when Voting for the Positions of ITK voted by RIO’S?

    RIO Board Representatives from each home community resident Represent their communities on respective Regional Inuit Organization’s, and thus, sit as RIO Board Member that Nominate and Elect for ITK Executive Board. From the RIO’s. Hmm.

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