Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. board considers self-government options

‘We have to give it a try,’ says QIA president P.J. Akeeagok

Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. board members discuss a presentation on self-government options for Nunavut Inuit on Wednesday, during their meeting in Baker Lake. (Screen shot from NTI livestream)

By Jane George

Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. board members say they want to look more closely at gaining greater self-government for Nunavut Inuit.

How to do that came under discussion Wednesday at NTI’s board meeting in Baker Lake, with several board members expressing disillusionment with the Government of Nunavut and the low number of Inuit among its management.

Kunuk Inutiq, NTI’s director of self-determination, presented a report on the topic. She said a Nunavut Inuit self-government would not fundamentally alter its public government and territorial leaders could still represent Nunavummiut.

“Inuit self-government would build on the elements of Inuit governance that already exist, most logically through the land claims organizations,” her report said.

But Inuit self-government would require these regional Inuit organizations to include institutions “that can better serve Inuit and Inuit interests.”

The options for moving ahead include negotiating with the GN to create an “intergovernmental services agreement,” she said.

Under such an agreement, NTI could take over delivering social programs such as education for Inuit in Nunavut.

Another option would be to develop Inuit-focused programs and services independent of the GN.

Or NTI could ask the federal government to pursue a formal self-government agreement, which could take as long as 20 years.

P.J. Akeeagok, the president of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, said it was worth exploring the possibilities.

“We have to give it a try,” he said after listening to the report.

Inutiq mentioned how Makivik Corp. has set a precedent for Inuit pursuing a form of self-government that would operate parallel to a regional public government.

“While Canada’s preference is for public government, federal policy and law do not exclude possibility for Inuit self-government in Nunavut,” Inutiq said.

The GN would be unable to prevent Inuit in Nunavut from pursuing a Section 35-based self-government process, she said.

Section 35 is the part of the Constitution Act that recognizes and affirms Aboriginal rights and the inherent right to self-government.

But the GN’s involvement would likely be required in any discussions with the federal government, she said.

And if self-government were pursued through the Nunavut Agreement, the GN would almost certainly be involved.

Either way, NTI said the GN could not prevent it from pursuing self-government.

Kivalliq Inuit Association president Kono Tattuinee said he was “totally behind this quest of ours.”

In a resolution, the board said NTI would revisit self-government again at its next annual general meeting.

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(45) Comments:

  1. Posted by volunteer on

    The Nunavut government can become two party systems with NTI being the other party. Dismantle the governing system of NTI which is the John Carver model. This model was suppose to improve the whole system and bring Inuit Organizations closer to the people. It has done the opposite. NTI is no longer close to any community expect Iqaluit where the office is. NTI president is not accountable to the Beneficiaries with the present model of governance. There is a big disconnect from NTI to the Beneficiaries or communities. Inuit are worried how the funds are being given out.

  2. Posted by Candace on

    I think this is a great idea. Having NTI take over the education portfolio makes sense, given their long-simmering dissatisfaction with the GN’s efforts (or lack thereof) to improve Inuktitut education. I would be fascinated to see if NTI is able to overcome some of the social and educational hurdles that have confounded the GN.

  3. Posted by Make Work on

    While Inuit are homeless and starving and hanging out to stay warm in the foyer of NTI’s HQ in Iqaluit, they are discussing grand ideals that make no sense.
    85% of the population is eligible to vote in the public government that is the GN. I am pretty sure almost every MLA is Inuk. Why don’t NTI Board members just run for office?

  4. Posted by Bemused on

    So, let me understand this: the Inuit orgs, who can’t do all the things they’re already required to do under the Nunavut Agreement right now, want to take on more responsibility. And they’re going to do this with all the highly-trained skilled people like all of those Inuit teachers who somehow aren’t working for the GN but apparently exist to be able to work for an Inuit-run educational system?

  5. Posted by The Gong Show on

    Can you imagine NTI delivering education? What a gong show. They can’t even deliver a health survey once every ten years with 8 million a year in funding. Give us a break gang, you’re big dreams are more terrifying than they are inspiring.

    • Posted by Iqalumiuta on

      And yet they rather house artifacts instead of Inuit sad our homeless and people waiting for housing will be looking at huge place housing artifacts not our people sorry to our inuit .

  6. Posted by Bewildered on

    Self Government. Senior level government employees should feel uncomfortable attending this AGM. You are killing resource development such as Mary River and you have a survey that was paid for in 2016 that has yet to be delivered and you want self government??

    The Board needs to start asking what the staff are actually doing?

  7. Posted by CrazyEskimo on

    Quassa tried to overhaul senior management, and look what they did to him.

    Remember that this fall.

  8. Posted by Ask Inuit What They Want on

    At 17% voter turnout I think it’s safe to say they no longer represent the views of the majority of Inuit. Their struggle to maintain relevancy is getting embarrassing.

  9. Posted by Open the books on

    I have no problem with NTI controlling a few more portfolios….. Once they show us their books.
    Until then, they’re just a shady organization that can do whatever they want with very little oversight.

  10. Posted by Awesome, atturiana! on

    Oh music to my ears and many Inuit in Nunavut! Nunavut was created so that it may be autonomous. This should have happened on 1999, stop the bleeding!

  11. Posted by whatever on

    Thought this was an early April fools piece that NN usually publishes.


    Help GN Deal with training needs, poverty, housing, economic development and you will see in time the Inuit employment numbers will soar within GN and beyond.

  12. Posted by pissed off on

    Let me hear that one again!!!

    They want to have what is the duty of the Territorial , duplicate the departments and create a de facto “ apartheid system“

    Which part of the Canadian constitution and the founding agreement to create Nunavut don`t they understand?????

    Countries all over the world have fought long and hard for the privilege of having “ all their citizens “ equal under the law of the land and equal in receiving goods and services from their elected governments.

    What is it the NTI people have missed ?
    No wonder they have no credibility and confidence from the different organisations that have to deal with.

    Quick someone give these people a lesson or two in governance before they allow more people to speak on their behalf.


  13. Posted by whaat!? on

    Let’s bring this issue to a plebiscite. Let the Inuit population-beneficiaries decide. The NTI executive is not in any position to make these types of moves without first seeking approval.

    • Posted by Clarification on

      Former languages commissioner, went by Sandra Inutiq.

      • Posted by JB on

        Sandra Inutiq!? Anyone who knows what’s good for them will keep their distance. Ryerson is still feeling the wrath of having published her racist rant.

        • Posted by No Moniker on

          I noticed this too. Knowing she is the source of the report is important. Sandra is much more radical in her views than I imagine most people in the organization. Unfortunately leaders like PJ and Koonoo appear unable to recognize an agenda that will only be celebrated within the NTI silo, and under the conditions of groupthink.

  14. Posted by Raven on

    Tukiqaluammu, tukisianngittui tukittui. Atii Tunngavikqaliqpuguuq!

  15. Posted by Good news on

    Qujanamiik, tamaunga iqanaijariatsimajut, ikajurasungitui, akautiaruniituit. Atii inuit sangatigiarialiit qalunaanut aulataumat gavamagasugaluavu…

    Music to our ears! Finally inuit making decisions within our government. Quassa shook the house when he mentioned this and look what happened right away. Let’s not make that mistake again! Clean up the senior management and let’s start hiring the inuit that are qualified for these jobs instead of favoritism and giving the job to one of the senior management friends. Time to expose them and clean up house!!

    • Posted by Name withheld on

      Quassa has always been for the betterment of Nunavut Inuit and I still stand by him, he knows the system very well, and I feel NTI President does as well…

      I’m sure they have elected him as a speaker so he can stay quiet. Nunavut can learn so much from Greenland, their education system, their Government.

      Ati instead of talking about this, make this happen and make a difference as I couldn’t agree more in those that get jobs with GN due to favoritism, nepotism…I have seen soo much of it happen in Iqaluit… It is very sad but its true.

      • Posted by Them’s the Facts on

        Greenland is European and operates under a very different governmental structure. The Greenland population is also far more educated than the Nunavut population, and has a much higher achieving population by nearly all measures. They have have done a much better job of integrating men into the economy and government. The urge to compare ourselves to Greenland overlooks some very fundamental facts.

        • Posted by Name withheld on

          When I mention they can learn so much from Greenland, I should have pointed out within their Inuktitut language.
          You will go into any office building there with anyone who barely speaks English, tungaanaa

  16. Posted by nothing on

    Low turn out mean no one cares for your made up organization anymore, because you are doing nothing to help.

  17. Posted by Consistency on

    I think NTI should begin by showing what they can do with education… build a new private school in one of the communities and create our own curriculum, have only Inuktitut speaking staff and offer it all in Inuktitut. Have the school free for beneficiaries and charge for anyone else that would like to go. there could be people from other regions that might want there kids going to the school and their RIO might pay for them. or others might just want their kids to learn Inuktitut and be willing to pay for it.

    Or on some of the IOL that is in a community build housing and decide how you want it to be distributed, is it staff housing, low income housing, or housing for the rich.

    • Posted by Crystal Clarity on

      Don’t they already have one of those in Clyde River? How’s that one doing?

      • Posted by Consistency on

        I am talking about a private kindergarten to grade12 school. That will learn math, arts, language, physical education, science, sewing, cooking, trades, shop class… I am sure there are other classes that should be included as well. And all taught in Inuktitut.
        When they can do that then maybe they can expand and ‘self-govern’.

  18. Posted by Unknown on

    Self government on education, I have heard, works in other Indigenous communities. Obviously this is a political move, by politicians, but not unexpected from what I understand. It will be interesting to see how it unfolds. It will take time. I do think that it is unfair to lump all individuals of one group, whether politicians or senior managers, in one bag. There are at least some senior managers that I know who are not Inuit (they are people though) who truly care about Nunavut and the well being of Inuit, and in their cases, not in a colonial way. But there are problems too, although not just in what is now Government. Politicians are accountable and most are Inuit, both in Government and Inuit organizations. Hopefully this is not just an attempt at changing the channel and preparing for the fall election. Hopefully Inuit leaders truly care about the Inuit population. I am sure there were people decrying the 1970s start of negotiations for Nunavut but the young leaders in charge had a vision and they achieved it at least in establishing Nunavut and consultation and comanagement structures, but things have changed since and the well being of Inuit has not flowed from this structural change, so it is understandable Inuit want to try something else.

  19. Posted by Privitize on

    1) NTI will never be able to get, let alone handle the Education portfolio in Nunavut. They should let go of this pipedream. I won’t blame them for dreaming about it, but it’s time for a reality check.
    2) Build your own private unilingual Inuktitut language schools. If they’re so sure the GN is failing Inuktitut-speaking youth, then they need to put your money where your mouth is. You constantly critize the GN for their implementation of an Inuktitut curriculum, yet you never address the fact that bilingual Inuktitut-English schools will never help save Inuktitut. 99% of kids will choose to speak the dominant language if given a choice. Follow the francophone model, they didn’t ask permission from the government when they built their schools at the grassroots level outside Quebec, and now their schools are fully funded. They took a big risk and it paid off. Why is NTI waiting for the feds to give them what they want? Why would the Feds give such a big gift to NTI when they’re sitting on a pile of gold? Use it! Build your own damn school and stop pretending you’re risk takers!

    • Posted by not_NTI on

      education? environment, human resources, i have seen nothing from NTI except doing mock governments compiain about language, when people move to Iqaluit, they stop talking the language their kids stop it, their grandkids cannot even speak it, who in the way of people have they put together they don’t they are very good at separating communities

  20. Posted by Crystal Clarity on

    God help us. Nunavut is so not ready to do this. Where’s all the people with the education and training to actually carry out such a grandiose plan?

  21. Posted by pissed off on

    to Consistency:

    Anybody remember what happened to such a school that was established in Clyde River at great cost and fanfare ?

    What really came out of it ?


    • Posted by Consistency on

      This is through the Arctic College I am talking about a private kindergarten to grade12 school. That will learn math, arts, language, physical education, science, sewing, cooking, trades, shop class… I am sure there are other classes that should be included as well. And all taught and run in Inuktitut, this includes all staff.

  22. Posted by Silas on

    While in Baker Lake NTI did something that the GN has never ever attempted. They allowed the people of Baker Lake to raise their concerns about their organizations, about governance in Nunavut, anything and everything was up for discussion. The only time that the GN has ever done something like that is during elections.
    Our friends to the west are making slow progress with self-determination, through all the difficulties they face from the federal, territorial and municipal governments.
    Kalathiit, in Greenland have had self rule for many years now and may be another very good example of what could be accomplished in Nunavut. There are many young Inuit now who are receiving various levels of education in the south and that will continue to increase and many return to work in their homeland.
    If not now, when???

    • Posted by Wake Up Call on

      “If not now, when???”

      A) Never
      B) Several decades from now

    • Posted by Wants to build – but what about maintenance? on

      The comparison to Kalaallit in Greenland and their self-governance referendum should be made between Inuit and Canada not Inuit and the Government of Nunavut. The Government of Nunavut was negotiated and voted on BY Inuit.

      Many of the things they gained in their referendum have already been achieved by Inuit through the Nunavut Agreement.

  23. Posted by Alex Alikashuak on

    Might as well , can’t dance . Let’s waste more of Inuit money only to end up with the exact same system as we have now. It makes more sense to find a way for NTI, GN and others to find a way to work together and accomplish much needed acceptable system to properly serve the Beneficiaries.

    • Posted by Karboneater on

      I’m thinking GN will translate into Inuktut Fleetwood Macs’ song “Go your own way” and sing that to NTI at the start of every legislative sitting.

  24. Posted by Skeptical on

    Canada has more than 600 Indigenous groups. Only around 25 have signed “modern treaties” — i.e., land-claims and/or self-government agreements. Of those, the most generous — in territory, power, and compensation — was the Nunavut Agreement. At least 575 First Nations are currently waiting in line to get a deal that is even slightly as good as Nunavut got. I hardly think the feds are going to move Nunavut, which has already been through the line once, back to the front of the line for a second, even bigger, helping.

    • Posted by Ian on

      Look at voter turnout for NTI and DIOs, they are scrambling to find their constituency’s,these orgs,lost their own people. Self gov,why not a fiefdom that they have now .

      • Posted by JB on

        There were no prizes given out for voting. That’s why. Everyone knows, if you want a turnout, you have to tease them with prizes.

  25. Posted by Coast inhabitants on

    What a dream if
    It became reality !
    Then what ? NTI will be broke in no time
    As always …that’s reality folks
    And NTI being over 20 years behind evolving to this day – will only bring job security for our descendants
    Good luck people

  26. Posted by eskimo joe on

    why hand over an illing department to another who have even lesser ideas what Nunavut is, let alone what education is for the north. NTI, don’t try to take anything you cannot handle; look at what the hunter support program was…moving on to nwt I guess, indigenous nation over there appears to have grib on the handle with social and environmental issues. They DO care about vanishing herds, unlike the gn and the kivalliq hunters who are ripping off Baffin customers every chance they get on caribou sales. Baffin where is your voice?

  27. Posted by Still Learning on

    Sorry, Local Scientist (Elders) have been Educating Our Young Ppl Traditionally: Survival Skills, Most Hunting and Fishing Places, the Landscape, the waters (Shallow, critical, deep), weather: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall; What to take after skinning caribou meat, sealskin, fish etc. Animals harvested are used for making traditional tools, clothings etc and are very useful for our harsh weather. Yes, it takes time and patience. So…look at the Bigger Picture. I highly think those who comments, should look into working for the organizations since you thinks its your way of doing the job…rules and regulations, policies etc…


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