Power shift: How northerners are pushing their own agendas
Nunavut jobs, and the benefits they bring to individuals and families, don’t have to come from driving ore trucks or sitting behind a government desk. They can come from the new “conservation economy.”
P.J. Akeeagok, president of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, told delegates at the Northern Lights conference in Ottawa on Feb. 5 that Inuit visionaries from the 1950s and 60s—John Amagoalik, Larry Audlaluk and the late Sam Omik, for example—foresaw the role Inuit could play in protecting the Arctic land and now Inuit are making a living doing just that.
Akeeagok was speaking about Inuit in Grise Fiord, Resolute Bay, Arctic Bay, Clyde River and Pond Inlet who stand to benefit from jobs and investment now flowing from agreements covering the Talluruptiup Imanga National Marine Conservation Area in Lancaster Sound and the Tuvaijuittuq Marine Protected Area, west of Ellesmere Island, which awaits a feasibility study on how it will be preserved and the role Inuit will play protecting it.
He said he was honoured to share how they developed, “a blueprint, really, of what a true conservation economy could look like. It was Inuit driven and Inuit led.”
Akeeagok was part of a panel discussion on community-led innovation in northern economic development.
The QIA successfully negotiated $54.8 million over seven years to pay for a number of initiatives including new co-governance models—which include Inuit community members—fisheries development, Inuit-led research, training, monitoring, scholarships, and capacity-building and support for local hunters and trappers organizations.
It will also go toward one of the benefit agreement’s signature programs, the Nauttiqsuqtiit Inuit Stewards program.
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