First off, a big congratulations to the Abluqta Society of Baker Lake for its successful annual general meeting recently and the announcement of its elected board members for the upcoming year.

The society has been making great strides in Baker during the past few years and continues to make a huge contribution with its various initiatives within the community, most significantly its food bank and thrift store operations.

The list of board members for the upcoming year is an impressive one, putting the society in good hands again as it continues to grow stronger and more effective seemingly on a month-to-month basis.

Ditto the efforts of the Ilitaqsiniq – the Nunavut Literacy Council – and its ever-growing list of small, yet tremendously effective and popular programming efforts in the community of Rankin Inlet.

The programs being held in Rankin during the past few years through Ilitaqsiniq have been well-selected, organized and delivered, making them an integral part of Rankin’s overall commitment to building a healthier community, and the importance of those efforts can’t be overstated.

Also, Ilitaqsiniq cannot be commended enough for launching its pop-up library initiative after the local district education authority made the decision to remove the John Ayaruaq Library from its space at Maani Ulujuk Ilinniarvik earlier this school semester.

The heavy traffic in the late afternoons and an entrance way packed with boots, jackets and backpacks is testament to its surging popularity among younger school kids. Hopefully, the popularity of its programming will not wane moving forward, and continued funding will be made available to allow the pop-up library to become a staple of the community.

I’ve been told good things about the Better Husbands and Fathers initiative delivered in Rankin by Noel Kaludjak recently.

I’ve been supporting and chronicling Noel’s efforts since he first started the Men Rising Up self-help group in Coral Harbour more than a decade ago.

And I have been more than a little impressed by his efforts throughout the years. The man has made a positive impact on a number of communities with his counselling abilities and grassroots approach to tackling a number of common issues affecting men across the Kivalliq and beyond.

I was not able to report on Noel’s efforts this time around due to the Government of Nunavut’s (GN) growing distrust and paranoia of all things media-related, and it’s belief that its front-line workers are not to be trusted making public comment for fear of embarrassing their higher-ups.

It’s an ill-advised road for the GN to willingly take that’s fostering an us-versus-them mentality between their mostly Inuit front-line workers and their mostly southern supervisors.

I am but a couple of short years away from retirement and I have never, not once, bushwhacked a personality I was set to interview.

Down in Arviat, the Aqqiumavvik Society (Wellness) continues to make a huge positive impact upon the community, especially upon its youth.

The society oversees the Young Hunter’s program, which has drawn praise at the national level with Kukkik Baker being presented with the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami’s (ITK) Advancement of Youth award by president Natan Obed during ITK’s annual general meeting held in Rankin Inlet in September of 2019.

The society is also behind the Ujjiqsuiniq Project, which is being integrated into the Young Hunters program.

The Arviat Young Hunters program also drew praise in February of 2020 from federal Northern Affairs Minister Daniel Vandal as being a leader in community and Inuit-led climate change adaptation.

The program is receiving three-year funding in the amounts of $412,062 from the Climate Change Preparedness in the North program and $375,000 from the Indigenous Community-Based Climate Monitoring program, as well as $439,954 from the Climate Change and Health Adaptation program over a four-year period.

Our region continues to grow stronger through the efforts of a small but extremely effective group of organizations and individuals dedicated to the betterment of their communities.

Hopefully, we are just scratching the surface and this will continue to be the Kivalliq way for many years to come.

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