Our board meeting in Qikiqtarjuaq was a huge success thanks to the hospitality of the community. We got a lot done but we also took some time to celebrate.
High School graduation
QIA’s board was invited to attend the High School graduation ceremony on Tuesday June 4. Our president gifted the grads with laptops to help them with their ongoing education. The event was very moving as the students talked about their personal journey and the obstacles they faced. There were many tears but a lot of joy as the community celebrated the achievements of the graduates.
On Wednesday, June 5, QIA hosted a community feast to thank Qikiqtarjuaq for the warm welcome. The feast was a huge success as we enjoyed country food including caribou, seal and char. The excitement was high as door prizes such as airline tickets were handed out and the event ended with a spirited candy toss for all the kids to enjoy.
QIA’s board meeting: Tallurutiup Imanga
The Tallurutiup Imanga Inuit Impact Benefit Agreement (IIBA) file has been our primary focus this year. In April we signed the Memorandum of Understanding for Tuvaijuittuq, or the High Arctic Basin Area, which is now connected to our work on Tallurutiup Imanga.
Work on a feasibility study for Tuvaijuittuq started in February with a community tour led by the federal government.
The most rewarding part of our work on Tallurutiup Imanga has been seeing the impact of the pilot project in Arctic Bay, funded as an early benefit by Parks Canada.
The Tallurutiup Imanga Nauttiqsuqtiit are much more than guides for the National Marine Conservation Area. They are the eyes and ears of Tallurutiup Imanga – not only monitoring the region but also harvesting to the benefit of the community.
In its inaugural year the Nauttiqsuqtiit pilot program has had a notable impact on the social and economic well-being of Arctic Bay.
The Arctic Char, seal and other animals harvested by the Nauttiqsuqtiit in the past year has been shared with the community in feasts to help feed the hungry.
The nonedible animal parts were shared with seamstresses and artisans to bolster the local economy. Arctic char was also sent to be served in Ottawa at Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami’s “A Taste of the Arctic” in Ottawa.
The Nauttiqsuqtiit also bridge the gap between youth and Elders. The skills and Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit they acquire from working with Elders is passed down to young Inuit eager to learn land skills.
As stewards of Tallurutiup Imanga, the Nauttiqsuqtiit monitor sea ice conditions for safe passage and lend a hand to search and rescue efforts in the community, using their knowledge of fellow community members and the local landscape to help recue Inuit in need.
Although the Nauttiqsuqtiit have only been working for a few months they are already making a huge difference and demonstrating the need for similar programs in the other four Tallurutiup Imanga communities.
QIA looks forward to a day soon when every one of our Tallurutiup Imanga communities have a similar program.
In addition, to the Artic Bay Nauttiqsuqtiit, we are working on securing infrastructure for each of the five Tallurutiup Imanga communities.
Through the proposals we have presented to the Government of Canada QIA is working to secure:
- A governance system that places Inuit in a leadership position, which will be a significant departure from the current Joint Parks Management Committees (JPMCs) for existing National Parks
- Nauttiqsuqtiit Program in Pond Inlet, Clyde River, Arctic Bay, Grise Fiord, and Resolute Bay
- Marine infrastructure, such as small craft harbours in Clyde River, Arctic Bay, Grise Fiord, and Resolute Bay
- Multi-use infrastructure such as country food processing plants, warehouses and work spaces in Pond Inlet, Clyde River, Arctic Bay, Grise Fiord, and Resolute Bay
- More investment for the Pond Inlet Training Centre
- And a cabin network for harvesting, monitoring and on-the-land activities
In addition, QIA is also seeking a substantial role for Inuit in Grise Fiord and Resolute Bay related to the feasibility assessment for Tuvaijuittuq.
The feasibility assessment is designed to ensure Inuit have the opportunity to assess whether this area should be formally protected, what the boundaries should be, and to determine what additional interests Inuit have in this area in the future.
Qikiqtani Truth Commission
Our team has been continuing efforts to advance work on the Qikiqtani Truth Commission. This work is very much in line with the Government of Canada’s commitment to advance reconciliation by acknowledging past colonial practices and putting in place measures that empower Inuit today and tomorrow.
QIA’s dialogue continues with Crown-Indigenous Affairs minister Carolyn Bennett and the Prime Minister’s office.
We are working on three demands:
- A formal acknowledgement and apology
- A Memorandum of Understanding to establish the Saimaqatigiingniq Fund
- Commencement of Inuit history and empowerment programs and initiatives
We hope that in the next few months we can see concrete action in these three areas. QIA is working under very tight timelines due to the upcoming Federal election.
Mary River Project
Last week, our team was in Clyde River for the Mary River Annual Project Review Forum. The annual forum is an opportunity for us to share the work we have done on this project and to get feedback from Inuit in the five communities about any concerns about the mine.
We have been working hard to ensure that we are more proactive in communicating the benefits that Inuit are entitled to under the IIBA.
Following the renegotiation of some of the articles within the Mary River IIBA with Baffinland this year, our team has been working diligently to ensure that the new benefits negotiated are being delivered to Inuit.
QIA is also a participant in the Phase II Environmental Assessment process led by the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB). Our work reflects the voices and wishes of Inuit in the impacted communities.
This work includes conducting an Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit project which will help to assess proposed impacts resulting from an increase in the project size. QIA has been very active in engaging Pond Inlet in this work and will continue to do so in the coming months.
Additionally, QIA has begun to engage the mayors in all seven impacted communities (Pond Inlet, Clyde River, Arctic Bay, Hall Beach, Igloolik, Cape Dorset and Kimmirut).
Community members want more clarity on the impact of this expansion and they want to know what benefits they will be entitled to if Phase II advances.
Q-STEP and Tuttarvik
Our efforts to address the levels of Inuit employment at the Mary River Project continues. Through the Qikiqtani Skills and Training for Employment Partnership (Q-STEP) we are helping Inuit develop skills for jobs, particularly jobs in the mining sector.
Inuit continue to access the trainings and internships associated with Q-STEP – this program is working and serves as an example of a concrete measure to improve the lives of Inuit:
- 71 Inuit have completed the Work Readiness stream
- 60 Inuit have graduated from the Heavy Equipment Operators stream
- 21 Inuit have enrolled in the Trades Apprenticeship stream
- 5 Inuit have completed the General Skills stream
In conjunction with Q-STEP, QIA has been working on our Inuit Labour Pool database, Tuttarvik.
Information and recruitment drives for Tuttarvik have been ongoing in Qikiqtani communities. We have over 700 Inuit registered with Tuttarvik to date.
Strategic Environmental Assessment
In the past few months our Lands team has been working to share their findings related to the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) on oil and gas activities in Baffin Bay and Davis Strait.
This summary document synthesizes the findings from the Nunavut Impact Review Board (NIRB) study on the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) on oil and gas activities in Baffin Bay and Davis Strait.
In 2016 the Federal Government placed a moratorium on new oil and gas activities in all offshore Canadian Arctic waters. This decision will be reviewed again in 2021.
NIRB initiated the SEA study in response to the moratorium and to understand the associated risks, benefits, and management strategies of offshore oil and gas activities in Baffin Bay and Davis Strait.
The SEA report and associated recommendations will inform the Federal Government’s decision in 2021.
Since 2017, QIA has been a part of the working group for the SEA study. Our primary focus has been working with Inuit to collect Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit (traditional knowledge), which will inform the final recommendations of the SEA.
As part of this work QIA formed six IQ committees in Grise Fiord, Arctic Bay, Pond Inlet, Clyde River, Qikiqtarjuaq, and Pangnirtung. QIA worked with the committees to collect local knowledge of surrounding areas and develop seasonal calendars of wildlife activity in the marine environment.
Through these committees, and through independent research over the last two years, QIA has gathered information related to the effects of oil and gas in Baffin Bay and Davis Strait.
QIA submitted 80 recommendations to NIRB. QIA’s research and recommendations were guided by the IQ advisors and the Nunavut Agreement.
The QIA recommendations will inform the NIRB Strategic Environmental Assessment report that will be submitted to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada.
The Ilagiiktunut committee had its first meeting for 2019 in April. The committee approved 10 funding proposals that total over $440,000. This funding is from the amended Mary River IIBA signed in October. The Ilagiiktunut budget is now set at $1.1 million per year for 10 years.
Community Healing Gathering
The Community Healing Gathering for the Arctic Bay, Clyde River, Hall Beach, Igloolik and Pond Inlet, led by NTI is now set for June 2 to 7 in Clyde River. QIA is part of the planning team working with Illisarsivik staff.
Youth Leadership Workshop
QIA held a successful Youth Leadership Workshop in Iqaluit earlier this spring to foster leadership skills among Inuit youth in the Qikiqtani region and bolster community engagement.
Twenty youth participated from Cape Dorset, Clyde River, Igloolik, Iqaluit, Pangnirtung, and Pond Inlet.
This year, the workshop was funded by the Government of Canada through the Urban Programming for Indigenous Peoples. The funding will allow QIA to continue this work for another three years. The next workshop with Inuit youth leaders is being planned for Fall 2019.
Collaborations with QC
We are continuing our work with the Qikiqtaaluk Corporation and the municipality of Qikiqtarjuaq to explore opportunities to develop the Qikiqtarjuaq Marine Infrastructure Initiative. This is work to advance plans for a deep-sea port in Qikiqtarjuaq, which is a key need for growing Nunavut’s fisheries and other marine dependent industries.
QIA’s next board meeting will be our Annual General Meeting in Iqaluit in the fall.