Open letter in support of the Tusaqtuut Project

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

The principles and the guiding principles of Inuit of the circumpolar region are the same throughout, knowledge and expertise vary according to traditional geographic areas.

It is the Inuit way to share and give when and where it is needed, at every possible cause, leaving everyone with food, shelter, and seal oil.

Where has this Inuit decision-making power gone to? The operation of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association should adopt the Inuit piusingat, and represent Inuit not only within the organization but also the effort of Elders (beneficiaries) while they are still standing.

It is unfortunate that there is lack of accountability in our Inuit organizations. Even though it is the mandate of our Inuit organization to provide the resources necessary, Tusaqtuut has not been successful in obtaining resources.

The Elders have recently been rejected by NTI for their 2007 request and recently, the Elders received correspondence turning down a financial request for support to develop Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit as written knowledge and a comprehensive text. We have only one mandate: to leave an authenticated document deriving from the Arctic environment and people, a permanent compendium for the education of people.

South Baffin has always received development much earlier than the other regions, thus, unfortunately is behind in the documentation and compilation of traditional recordings and documents.

The rich business and economic activity was a barrier that left us without much written knowledge, let alone the diversity and complexity of our land and wildlife. This is often mistaken for a “dialect difference” as opposed to a richer knowledge base and the complexity of the terminology and language of South Baffin Inuit in comparison to Nunavut as a whole.

The Elders feel they have to leave their knowledge behind that they have been working on.

Education is the responsibility of Nunavut government, and the Inuit organizations’ role is to monitor the Nunavut governments on whether or not that they are delivering programs. In the absence of a Nunavut Social Development Council, they are not ensuring or representing Inuit values.

Tusaqtuut had hoped the material that they are developing would be copyrighted and owned under the regional organization. But the lack of support and representation leaves them with no choice but to copyright it themselves.

The Nunavut MLA’s have been consulted about taking a compromise to take Tusaqtuut Initiative as a task force to develop Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit and Inuit Piusingit as an imperative policy over a three-year period.

This was addressed to the Ajauqtiit standing committee and the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Accountability a year ago.

The people of the Arctic practice conservation and protect subsistence by virtue of following Inuit environmental and traditional wildlife laws. This accounts for about 80 per cent of what is to become written knowledge in education.

The Nunavut Land Claims Agreement and the Implementation Contract are weak without this invaluable resource, without the written knowledge of the last generation of elders. Can we not afford the time we have left with them? Whose responsibility is it?

Respectfully, under the direction of Elders,

Meeka Mike
Tusaqtuut
Project Director

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