NTI expands social agenda, passes new budget


Delegates passed a long list of resolutions at Nunavut Tunngavik’s annual general meeting, held Nov. 3-7 in Sanikiluaq.

NTI’s board now has the authority to study the idea of building a treatment centre in Nunavut, implement the organization’s 2004-05 budget, carry out a 10-year financial plan, and address other concerns of beneficiaries, such as the assignment rights controversy.

An addictions treatment centre for Nunavut?
Nunavut Tunngavik will take a close look at the idea of building an Inuit-owned drug and alcohol treatment centre for Inuit in Nunavut.

NTI’s board made the decision Nov. 3, in a resolution that NTI president James Eetoolook described as “the most important thing NTI could do since the signing of the Nunavut land claims agreement in 1993.”

The only treatment centre to operate in Nunavut, Inuusiqsiuqvik, or “The place to seek life,” opened in 1994 after nearly 10 years of political haggling and controversy.

Inuusiqsiuqvik’s board received a per diem grant from the Government of the Northwest Territories for every client enrolled at the centre.

But because they couldn’t attract enough clients, they couldn’t attract enough dollars to pay staff salaries and operating costs, so the GNWT closed Inuusiqsiuqvik in 1998. Its building in Apex is used to house the Qimaavik women’s shelter.

Since then, Nunavut’s rate of violent crime, which police attribute to Nunavut’s high rates of alcohol and drug abuse, is threatening to spin out of control.

“We deal with crises and problems created by drug and alcohol abuse every single day in Nunavut. Every day, a person’s life in this territory is forever changed because of the negative effects of addiction,” Cathy Towtongie, NTI’s president, said in a news release.

NTI will work with the three regional Inuit associations, the three regional development corporations, Atuqtuarvik Corporation, and the Nunavut Trust.

They’ll look at the feasibility of building a principal treatment centre in one region of Nunavut, with one associated facility for follow-up care and assessments in each of the other two regions.

Future AGMs only in regional centres
Starting next year, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. will rotate its annual general meetings between Nunavut’s three regional centres – Cambridge Bay, Rankin Inlet, and Iqaluit.

Delegates at NTI’s annual general meeting in Sanikiluaq voted for the change this month to help the organization save money in the future.

“[A] significant reduction in travel and accomodation costs would result if the annual general meeting were held in the the three large regional communities,” the resolution said.

That means that for the forseeable future, only residents of the three regional communities will get to see NTI annual meetings, and that it could be a while before such gatherings will be held again in small, expensive communities like Sanikiluaq, Gjoa Haven and Clyde River.

Next year’s NTI AGM will be held in Rankin Inlet, while the 2005 AGM will be held in Cambridge Bay and the 2006 AGM in Iqaluit.

NTI approves $35 million budget
Delegates at NTI’s annual general meeting in Sanikiluaq approved a $35 million budget for the organization’s 2004-05 fiscal year at its annual general meeting in Sanikiluaq earlier this month.

NTI will use $18.8 million of that for its own operations.

They’ll distribute the rest among the three regional Inuit associations, the Inuit Heritage Trust, and various social and economic purposes.

NTI’s 2003-04 budget is broken down as follows:

* Nunavut Tunngavik: $18,839,615
* Kitikmeot Inuit Association: $3,343, 736
* Kivalliq Inuit Association: $3,190,965
* Qikiqtani Inuit Association: $4,120,100
* Inuit Heritage Trust: $823,767
* Beneficiary Benefits Plan: $1,000,000
* Regional Economic Development: $1,800,000
* Community Liason Officers: $1,922,268

NTI wants Inuit folk schools
NTI delegates want to see provision for Greenland-style Inuit folk schools in a new Nunavut education act.

“The establishment of Inuit folk schools would assist in developing an understanding of the social and cultural milieu of Nunavut and would assist in developing Inuit values and preserving the Inuit language,” said the resolution, passed at this month’s AGM in Sanikiluaq.

NTI board will look at assignment rights
In a carefully-worded resolution, NTI delegates voted this month to have the organization’s board of directors take a close look at the rights-assignment provisions of the Nunavut land claim agreement, to see if it’s possible for the section to be amended.

The land claim agreement contains provisions that generally allow Inuit to “assign” or transfer their harvesting rights to non-Inuit spouses.

But some Inuit fear that some non-Inuit males may exploit this system for commercial gain. The Iqaluit hunters’ and trappers’ organization, for example, has attempted to put controls on the assignment of harvesting rights among its members, a process that many Inuit women strongly oppose.

“[T]he exercise of the right of assignment has become and increasingly sensitive and difficult one for individuals, communities and wildlife organizations,” NTI’s resolution states.

The resolution instructs NTI’s board of directors to “examine possibilities of proposing amendments to the NLCA with a view to clarifying the interaction of the right of assignment and the decision-making powers of HTO’s and regional wildlife organizations.”

NTI witholds funds from Kivalliq group
NTI will continue to withhold payments to the Kivalliq Inuit Association unless the KIA presents its 2002-03 financial statements and auditor’s report to NTI’s next board of directors meeting.

Delegates at annual general meeting in Sanikiluaq Nov. 3-7 voted to do that after the Kivalliq organization’s secretary-treasurer told them that they’re financial statements for the last fiscal year aren’t completed and audited.

NTI delegates voted to have KIA present its financial statements and auditor’s report to the NTI’s next board meeting, and “respond fully at that time to any concerns or questions that the board may have.”

NTI’s rules that regional Inuit associations must present financial statements at NTI annual general meetings.

However, NTI has budgeted a $3.19 million contribution to the KIA for the 2004-05 fiscal year.

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