Blog: Nauttiqsuqtiit Inuit Stewards Program Expands to Sanikiluaq
The Qikiqtani Inuit Association is excited to announce the expansion of our Nauttiqsuqtiit program to Sanikiluaq.
On August 13, 2021, the Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs, and Olayuk Akesuk, Acting QIA President, announced the expansion and an investment of $3.45 million by Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) over the next two years.
The Nauttiqsuqtiit pilot program began in 2018 in Arctic Bay as an early benefit of the Tallurutiup Imanga and Tuvaijuittuq agreements. The success of the pilot program led to its expansion to the other four Tallurutiup Imanga communities of Clyde River, Grise Fiord, Mittimatalik (Pond Inlet) and Resolute Bay.
The program expansion to Sanikiluaq is an early benefit agreement between QIA and DFO as part of the anticipated establishment of Qikiqtait Marine Protected Area. The early benefit agreement will provide support for the creation of seven full time jobs, delivery of training courses, equipment purchase, and Nauttiqsuqtiit program development.
Qikitqtiat, the Belcher Islands Archipelago, includes more than 1,500 islands and 5,000 km of coastline. With up to 35 recurrent polynyas spread over 30,000 km2, this area surrounding Sanikiluaq acts as a refuge for wildlife, including the non-migratory sub-species of the Common Eider.
QIA’s Nauttiqsuqtiit program has proven successful in bringing Inuit perspective to the establishment, management, and operation of Tallurutiup Imanga National Marine Conservation Area.
The Nauttiqsuqtiit program provides Inuit jobs as environmental stewards and harvesters. The Nauttiqsuqtiit are the eyes and ears of the protected marine and terrestrial areas. Not only monitoring the area, Nauttiqsuqtiit lend a hand to search and rescue efforts and share their harvests with Elders and the community to help Inuit access country food.
“The expansion of the Nauttiqsuqtiit program across the Qikiqtani Region is vital to our blue economy strategy. This program is a driving force in the diversification of the Inuit economy—it brings in healthy country food and provides support for safe on-the-land travel. We are pleased with this announcement and look forward to other opportunities to work with our federal partners.” – Olayuk Akesuk, QIA Acting President