NTI’s push for Inuit self-government ‘the right thing,’ says Idlout

Nunavut MP says she and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh are ‘supportive’ of recently passed resolution

Nunavut MP Lori Idlout (left) says she supports Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.’s recently passed resolution to seek a negotiation mandate for Inuit self-government. “I believe that NTI is doing the right thing,” she said. Pictured right is NTI president Aluki Kotierk. (Photo by David Venn, photo courtesy of Aluki Kotierk)

By Madalyn Howitt

Nunavut MP Lori Idlout said she supports the resolution passed this week by Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. to pursue talks with Ottawa to bring about Inuit self-government.

“I believe that NTI is doing the right thing,” Idlout said when asked Thursday about the resolution NTI passed this week at its annual general meeting in Rankin Inlet.

“It’s sad for me to say this, but I do agree that the Government of Nunavut, to date, has been failing Inuit,” said Idlout, who is also the NDP’s critic for Crown-Indigenous relations.

NTI members passed a resolution on Tuesday to pursue a negotiation mandate with the federal government for Inuit self-government.

NTI president Aluki Kotierk said the Government of Nunavut has failed to meet the needs of the territory’s Inuit majority.

“There are so many dire statistics, so many dire experiences of Inuit currently,” Kotierk told Nunatsiaq News after the annual general meeting concluded.

Idlout said that she agrees with Kotierk’s assertion that the GN hasn’t done enough to support Inuit in the territory.

“We need to see with the new premier and the cabinet that we have a sense of hope, that they will listen to constituents, they will listen to Inuit and make sure that they work really hard to improve their relationship with NTI so that we could see improvements for the Inuit community in Nunavut.”

Newly elected Premier P.J. Akeeagok told reporters Wednesday he looked forward to meeting with NTI officials “to really listen in terms of where we could collaborate.”

Idlout said she has discussed the motion with NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and he’s “fully supportive” of the motion.

“[He] is willing to support me and support my work with NTI because these failures have been going on for too long,” she said. “We saw it with the passing of Bill 25 in the Education Act and we saw it with too many other initiatives where Inuit are being disenfranchised [and] are being put in a different tier than French language rights.”

Kotierk said she appreciates the support from the federal NDP.

“We look forward to working with the federal government, and we suspect that we’ll bring this up to our in a Crown partnership process,” she said. She added that she’s already had a conversation with newly elected Nunavut premier P.J. Akeeagok and has “no doubts” the two will have a “positive and constructive working relationship.”

As for what Inuit self-government would like, Kotierk said it’s still a work in progress to determine.

“At this point, everything is up in the air in terms of deciding on what areas we want to focus on,” she said. “The presentation we received from the [NTI] director of self-determination talked about … different models that we could look into in terms of seeking self-government. There was discussion about how there are models that already exist across Canada, but we could do a hybrid,” she said.

“The next step will be to get the negotiation mandate and then build up some capacity within [NTI] to be able to conduct consultation with Nunavut Inuit and work with our board to determine what the constitution of the self-governing body would look like,” Kotierk said.

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(55) Comments:

  1. Posted by Right On on

    I’m all for this.

    The usual mandarin suspects are going to blow a gasket. Time will tell if they are self-aware enough to realize it’s precisely because of them NTI is taking this drastic step.

    They believed they were invincible. Let’s see how many of them survive the cull.

    • Posted by iRoll on

      There really isn’t going to be a cull. For all you dreaming about an ethnic utopia cleansed of its impurities (the qallunaat), there will be nothing except disillusion, disappointment, tears and the preternatural gnashing of teeth.

      • Posted by Carlos on

        Or plenty of claims that self-gov isn’t working because the feds haven’t given it enough money. Prepare for plenty of that, folks.

        My god it feels like we’re entering the Twilight Zone here. WE ALREADY HAVE DE FACTO INUIT SELF-GOVERNMENT. If Inuit aren’t happy with the status quo, they should just run for office (for the government they created) and implement the changes they want to see. There is absolutely nothing in the way of them. The structures are there. Use those.

  2. Posted by LOL on


  3. Posted by Concerned Nunavutmiutaq on

    If this resolution goes through and we go on our own. Does that mean we won’t pay any more taxes?
    Cause I like to pay taxes. I don’t want a deal like the Indians if that is what Aluki wants. I thinks it’s more about her and her round of friends and family to keep working without having to actually do the hard work. Paul okalik is or was her spouse. Is she wanting him to be elected again?
    Or is there a behind the scenes deal with the new premier and NTI? New premier was a board member of NTI. Maybe that was the plan for PJ to try for MLA and they knew Baffin has more votes than Kiv so all this came down.

    • Posted by Clown Car on

      This isn’t going to go through. This is nothing more than Aluki doing the only thing she knows how to do, make a lot of pointless noise, and our new MP hoping on for the ride because she is frankly clueless.

  4. Posted by Colin on

    NTI already has many of the characteristics of a government duplicating what GN is mandated to do.

    Any governance requires real professionals to run it and operate the infrastructure. Accountants, engineers and managers, as well as doctors and dentists and trades people capable of running things—jobs like delivering a reliable water supply.

    GN’s education department has never thought to make an inventory of those jobs let alone set about educating next generations to fill these jobs.

    There are many places around the world where people have moved from the Third World to the First in a single generation, notably in Asia.

    Planning for self-government and the establishment of Nunavut began about half a century ago/ Inuit leaders have had over time and still have much to answer for.

    • Posted by Samuel Browne on

      Agree with Colin cancel reply….you nailed it…nti should look at the school the youngster that are coming up…try teaching them to think on thier feet..instead of a memory based curriculum…money management and prevention of child sex abuse Ala little warriors in Alberta should be mandatory…if you really want a healthy progressive and prosperity for all ..right now the gap between haves and have not have drastically widened since land claim settlement was implemented…sad

  5. Posted by Kotierk is a true leader on

    Keep going Aluki! You have our support! Your heart is in the right place!

    • Posted by Juniper Berry on

      To say someone has their heart in the right place is not really saying a whole lot, and is definitely not enough to make for a great leader.

    • Posted by Only one problem on

      Thinking is carried out with the brain, not the heart, and there’s not a lot of evidence of thinking going on here.

    • Posted by Northern Guy on

      Maybe Ms Kotierk and her advisors need to start thinking with their heads instead of their hearts.

  6. Posted by All Show. on

    Voting NDP was clearly a mistake.

  7. Posted by Nunavummiut on

    Nunavummiut have spoken, look at the voters turn out over the last years and especially this year.

    NTI and our MP with her first failure will bring Nunavut further to it’s knees and defeat.


  8. Posted by Arctic Circle on

    Good call I believe.

    The last 10 years, I often wonder who is really benefitting from Government of Nunavut. We have people up here that are hungry, starving , surviving pay chequeto pay cheque. Beneficiaries living off income support.

    Government of Nunavut pays for airfare, for teachers to come move in and given housing, nurses come sign a contract for casual work in paid airfare, makes money, and contactors/ construction workers, come to work, breakfast , lunch and support all provided, and yet people looking for food, money to borrow. Locals trying to run business , taken over by southerners who claim to be from up here and making millions for doing business up here.

    This has got to stop. Beneficiaries have to step up,. Leaders have to teach people to learn to do business.

    Leaders step up and work with beneficiaries.

    • Posted by iWonder on

      Thank you for that laundry list of the standard gripes. I’d like to hear what ‘Inuit self government’ would look like to you, and how it would improve on these issues?

    • Posted by Crystal Clarity on

      It’s already hard enough to get professionals to come here and when there is upheaval like what suggested no one will be willing to come here. We already have serious shortages of nurses, teachers,, doctors, management, trades people etc….. And there are not yet many Inuit who have the education and training to take their place if they stop coming. If they proceed with this plan Nunavut standing alone (which it can not do) is going to be in a very scary state. Then you will really know what it’s like to see poverty and no health services, dental care etc…. and prices will be through the roof. Going it alone is not an option.

    • Posted by Tinman on

      Imagine if people in the South felt the way you do towards Southerners in respect to new immigrants. I mean, after all, people born in Canada were there first, right? Those darned immigrants, setting up businesses, buying houses! Setting up medical practices! Mentoring others in the trades! All while many native born live in poverty. Something has to be done, right? How can this be? It must be the fault of those immigrants!

  9. Posted by Naivety on

    Lori graduated law school due to GN benefits, it’s too bad she thinks it is a failure on account of that. I can’t believe my MP would have the lack of brain power to say she supports a concept when they don’t even know what it is yet. In this article Lori says she supports a self gov initiative and Aluki says she isn’t sure what it means. Facepalm.

    • Posted by Classic Assumptions !! on

      This is a classic comment, demonstrating tired old presumptions.
      Check it out.

      1. The GN system (FANS) does not support ANY students taking a second degree.

      2. Lori moved her family South and went to the University of Ottawa Law School on her own initiative, AND paid her own way.

      3. I think your bias is showing NAIVETY (or at the very least your Naivety).

  10. Posted by No Moniker on

    “As for what Inuit self-government would like, Kotierk said it’s still a work in progress to determine.”

    Let’s take stock of what is happening here. The NTI board has passed a resolution to pursue talks with Ottawa to bring about Inuit self-government. Yet, it simultaneously admits it has no idea what that might look like. We’ll figure that out later.


    Aluki, what do you expect Ottawa to say when you bring up the fact that you really don’t know what you are asking for?

    It’s hard not to conclude that the entire point of this move was in the value of spectacle it would undoubtedly create. That is all, in my opinion, this will ever amount to.

    I can’t agree more with the comment above by Naivete, how can our elected MP agree that this is the “right move” with no inkling at all what the actual move is.

    What an embarrassment, Lori. While you might agree with the sentiment that the GN is not working as well as it should, I too wish you would have withheld judgement on NTI’s incoherent “plan” until you could actually articulate what it even is.

    What an absolute collapse in judgement.

    a goal that you can’t define, a goal that we will

  11. Posted by Money to the Communities on

    While re-negotiating, how about also re-negotiating with the communities?
    NTI has billions of dollars invested around the world, whie the communities in Nunavut have no money.
    NTI, give that money, all of it, to the communities. Let them invest it into developing the infrastructure and businesses they need to succeed in today’s world.
    Ottawa has not done it.
    The GN has not done it.
    Let the communities do it.
    They cannot do any worse.
    They can do better.
    They can figure out what they need.
    As you say, it’s time for a new arrangement because the old one is not working.
    Come on, re-negotiate!

  12. Posted by Uvanga on

    It’s up to us Inuit to truly make this territory work for us. We need Inuit teacher first and foremost to pass on our language but there just isn’t enough Inuit going into the teaching field. We need Inuit nurses and we only have a handful although the GN funds the nursing program. We need Inuit Social workers but we are lacking educated Inuit. We need Inuit early childhood educators and we lack that too. Perhaps we should focus on these positions that are available to Inuit in every community. We need Inuit in the public administration program so the communities can have Inuit SAOs as we definitely lack in that.

    • Posted by Ian on

      We need all Inuit trades people to keep everything running, we have schools, trades schools, arctic colleges, we have every learning centre in our community’s we have the money for programs, we need our children to have direction and they need guidance, we need them to understand their importance and they can do it, the younger generation is very smart

    • Posted by John W Paul Murphy on


  13. Posted by Kenn Harper on

    The self-government initiative contravenes the land claims agreement which mandates a public government.

    • Posted by Kozumfiq ( Iqaluit ) on

      Agree with you Ken, but I wish M.L.A s, or our M.P. even our N.T.I. rep would explain what
      they mean by self government for Nunavut !
      Two young men said to me, ” Does that mean the police can’t bother us ? ” . I said to
      them ” Possibly, but people you offend could hurt you badly if there is no law ”
      Works both ways !

    • Posted by Not necessarily on

      I would think the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement could be amended if that is what Inuit of Nunavut and the Government of Canada wish. One cannot blame Inuit organizations for wanting to try a different model since the current model has issues with it. Not having a clear plan is odd or at least an odd message to put out publicly but apparently options were identified, so it appears that there are some ideas. In the end self determination is a pretty important concept. We should be willing to listen to Inuit ideas on that; the world is not static.

      • Posted by Juniper Berry on

        The glaring question for you then is who speaks for ‘Inuit’ on a matter like this?

        To say we should listen to Inuit is one of those nice fuzzy truisms that mean almost nothing when they aren’t qualified in some meaningful way. So, which Inuit voices are going to count, and which aren’t? Given these comments so far the idea that there is an emerging consensus here is very hard to believe, unless that leans toward a complete dismissal of Aluki’s theatrics (that might actually be believable).

        • Posted by Paradigm Shift on

          Something to be mindful of:

          In the social justice universe phrases like “listen to ______ voices” is often mumbled like a koan. What is really being said is ‘we’ will decide what we want, not you. Not spoken but understood is that the ‘in-group’ will also determine its own membership, which is to say who counts as ‘we.’
          In a case like this dissent is addressed by pointing out that the one who refuses to conform is not fully among the ‘us’ or ‘we’ of their community. Here we might see accusations that one has been ‘colonized’ or have fallen astray through some form of miseducation or moral failure. They have lost to their identity and need to be led back, much like a backslider in Christianity.

          This is useful as it ensures that the cluster of policies, ideas (ideology) that form the basis for political action is always beyond the reach of possible critics and is able to retain form by disregarding counter narratives as impurities, contamination or heresy.

  14. Posted by Make Iqaluit Great Again on

    I see that many of the comments on this thread are surprised at how our new NDP MP would come out in support of such a misguided and poorly conceived initiative by NTI. I, on the other hand, am not surprised in the least. The NDP is a party of protest and complaints. They don’t believe in pragmatic change that is sensible and realistic. That’s why a large majority of Canadians do not vote for them and never will. As a result, do not be surprised by this sort of foolishness going forward because that is precisely what we voted for. Expect many more of these ridiculous type of stands being taken by our MP until the next election.

    • Posted by iThink on

      A truly underappreciated, yet essential, observation. *Hat tip*

      • Posted by Make Iqaluit Great Again on

        Thanks! Much appreciated!!!

  15. Posted by Toonik’s Grandfather on

    We ALREADY have (Inuit) gov’t…..Government of Nunavut. Federal Gov’t need to understand we don’t have THREE (Inuit) governments.

  16. Posted by Ralph Huntinhton on

    I think this is all pie in the sky…..smoke and mirrors. The issues here are generational and cant be solved over night. To unwind the co-dependent relationships with various other ethnicities, educate Inuit, reduce poverty and strenthen language. I doubt that self government, whatever that means, is going to solve those problems. People will leave here due to this rhetoric. They are not replaceable at this point in time or in the near future.

  17. Posted by articrick on

    Don’t matter what the MP personally thinks, what should matter is what the people elected her is what matters, she is not reflecting what the people are saying but what a few on the top want. She does not work for the GN.

    • Posted by Friends in the Echo Chamber on

      She’s not thinking, period. She has thrown her unconditional support behind an apparent ally, and that has probably made her feel good about herself. I seriously doubt there is much more going on in her mind than that.

  18. Posted by M Center on

    Nunavut is a Public Government. Inuit Specific Mandates and Policies require implementation and address to have some assertion to be participation and active decision-making goals and visions. How? Vote for complete Self-Government as a Territory.

    But requires economical platform and sadly it’s to mining resources and extract resources by other means. Economic stimulus. Or use Title and protect lands and be expecting of free handouts with minimal decision and actions with minimal extraction of resources and keep the proven path of idle and recipients of services all the while little contributions or decisions to find answers and proven bridges to protect lands. In short, receive handouts and expected service social services and programs.

    So, how to use other avenues and stay the course and keep ongoing negotiations with the Federal Governments to implementing aspects of the Land Claim Agreement and GN to fully partner under legal Acts to have NTI as empowered political and legal power as a Territorial Government into one amalgamated entity. Or keep same practices in reality as both on the same side fight all the while staying in a toxic relationship because you got kids?

    What else are options? What is NU Inuit asking for! What does NU need? What was the vision and intended purpose of NU? What are you trying to say and voice? What is it you really asking for aside from jargon, terminology and in plain English/Inuktitut ask what do you want? GN and NTI are obligated to be answering and acting on behalf of Inuit goals and not a “Divide and Conquer” practised by both GN and NTI. Infighting and need compromise and mediations. A divided Territory is BS and defeats the time, money and BS infighting by both organizations as entities.

    Where Inuit better off under NWT or will Inuit be better off with NU failing and have the Federal Government take over Territory? What is it that GN and NTI must do to answer to real issues needed to address social discourse and broken systems wasting time and money and administration for legal crap just to say, “We are in it for Inuit” already wasted on Inuit, for Inuit and by Inuit. Apply, rinse, repeat. This crap show cycle must end now for Inuit to advance. Enough of this already!!

  19. Posted by Northern Guy on

    Inuit self government … Yay! Free houses and jobs for all Inuit …. NOPE NOT GONNA HAPPEN. Inuit will soon realize that the smoke screen of self government is just another way for NTI to continue its grand scheme of empire building. Ask yourselves this, there are a million ways that NTI can currently improve the lives of Inuit and yet they choose not to … why is that?

  20. Posted by Candace on

    17% of eligible Inuit voters voted in the last NTI elections. Of that 17%, 69% voted for Aluki. That means that just under 12% of eligible Inuit voters voted for Aluki in the last NTI election. Hardly a mandate for Constitutional change. But what do I know?

  21. Posted by Northern bloke on

    I,d say keep the southerners,they are the one who know and understand more than Inuit,look at Greenland,Danish people help them grow,they are largest shrimp company in the world,they have Greenland air,they have ferries up and down Greenland coast,Gn Nti put your money together buy good working small plane for all the so many medivacs that cost Gn so much,I have more ideas.

  22. Posted by Valentin Teresch on

    What I find confusing is that the GN has been negotiating devolution for several years, and now have a schedule and agreement in place for GN to assume control over lands and resources. GN already controls health, education, justice, and many other quasi-provincial functions usually handed over through a “self-government ” agreement.
    So: what exactly is NTI’s self-government initiative expected to achieve that Nunavut is not already on track to accomplish?
    And does this initiative not run the risk of derailing the current devolution schedule, already nearing completion?

    • Posted by Ian on

      Devolution being handled by the Gn should never happen, who is negotiating this deal this is worse thing that can be happening right now. NTI and MP
      And some serious Inuit GN employees should be doing this please for the future of Nunavut’s future don’t let this happen with the current people now. Disaster happening

  23. Posted by Northern bloke on

    I have more,Gn stop being so soft on medical patients and escorts,I was escort to Ottawa,day after day 1 2 3 Ottawa police cars,ambulance firetrucks at Larga Baffin,I believe all people know now no being drunk at Larga or boarding homes, its an embarrassment,I,d say no more warnings your on travel for patient help,not to stock up on booze and drugs,drunk once,that’s it out your on your own,the people need this harshness,the only way to bring this craziness under control.

    • Posted by MARS on

      I have family at Larga Baffin now and they have a hard time sleeping due to fighting and loud drunks throughout the night. Nothing will change.

  24. Posted by Inuk on

    How many kablunaaks commented here? So many nervous comments ?

    • Posted by Why tho? on

      Nervous? I feel vicarious embarrassment for the people who are excited for this. They’ve clearly never read the NLCA.

    • Posted by Observer on

      Then perhaps you could be so kind as to tell all the qallunaq what they have to be fearful of?

  25. Posted by name here on

    you can tell by the comments that these transients are so afraid of Inuit self government. Bahaha, your days are numbered!

    • Posted by Transient on

      Just so this “transient” (who has lived here for several decades) can be clear, you’re proposing kicking people out based on who their parents happened to be?

      • Posted by name on

        yes, so leave now please

        • Posted by Unamused on

          Your support of ethnic cleansing is noted.

    • Posted by LOL on

      Have a look at what is happening when the transients leave Yellowknife Stanton Hospital. Nunavut needs southerners to function, anyone who thinks otherwise is uneducated and/or racist. It is common in Nunavut for those who are not doing so well to blame their failures on successful transients. I really wish Inuit could take my job, but there is not a single licensed Inuit professional in my field in Canada.

      • Posted by Curious on

        What profession is that?

        • Posted by Rocket Scientist on

          There is some data from StatsCan which suggests there is something like 4/100 Inuit adults in the working age range have university degrees, so there are actually quite a few licensed professions without a single Inuit person available to take on positions. I’m not saying I like it, that it doesn’t need to be addressed, or there are not systematic issues causing it, but I am telling you that this philosophy of force the transient southerners leave because they are taking our jobs is utter nonsense. Nunavut needs southerners to function and many Nunavummuit need to get over it.

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