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Hunters and trappers petition to remove KIA president

Kono Tattuinee under fire for perceived pro-development stance
Kono Tattuinee, president of the Kivalliq Inuit Association, is under fire from the Kangiqliniq Hunters and Trappers Organization, which has launched a petition to have Tattuinee removed from his role. Stewart Burnett/NNSL photo

The Kangiqliniq Hunters and Trappers Organization is circulating a petition to remove Kono Tattuinee from his role as president of the Kivalliq Inuit Association.

“We’re not going to be pushed aside by anybody,” said Harry Ittinuar, interim chair of the Kangiqliniq Hunters and Trappers Organization (KHTO). “We are going to stand our ground. It’s Inuit-owned land we’re fighting for. It’s our caribou herds we’re fighting for.”

The petition lays out three main issues with Tattuinee, and ends with the threat that if the Kivalliq Inuit Association (KIA) board of directors denies the petition, the KHTO will then petition Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. to revoke the designation of KIA itself.

Of primary concern are comments Tattuinee made during the Draft Nunavut Land Use Plan meetings in Rankin Inlet in September.

During the meeting, Tattuinee stated that KIA wants to retain flexibility to manage Inuit-owned lands and that any development on caribou calving grounds would happen only after thorough consultation with affected communities, as well as being compliant with existing regulatory processes.

Tattuinee is quoted in a statement as saying during the meeting that “the Kivalliq Inuit Association would only consider supporting development of a mine in a calving ground under very specific conditions,” including no activity during pre-calving, calving or post-calving periods, as well as operations being shut down entirely from mid-May to mid-July.

From the KHTO’s perspective, that statement “dismissed the demand by the Inuit of the Kivalliq region to protect the caribou populations, thereby threatening the remaining food security, traditions and culture of Inuit against the membership’s demand and direction.”

Two other concerns are listed. One accuses Tattuinee of violating a KIA bylaw during a board meeting in Rankin Inlet on Oct. 5 “when he would not allow voting members to vote at the meeting.”

As well, the KHTO alleges that Tattuinee took action at the annual general meeting on Oct. 6 to omit a motion from the KHTO to stop the construction of the road to Itiglak to protect the caribou migration routes “and further misled the members when he refused to accept motions from voting members of the society… thereby relinquishing his privilege to serve as the president of the Kivalliq Inuit Association.”

Tattuinee sent a statement to Kivalliq News in response.

“First and foremost, the petition contains untrue statements,” he stated.

“The KIA can’t make decisions to simply allow development on caribou calving grounds. The NIRB (Nunavut Impact Review Board), water board, NPC (Nunavut Planning Commission) are all part of reviewing any potential development.”

Tattuinee went on to say he supports the important work the KHTO does, especially when it comes to protection of caribou.

“I myself am a hunter and know the importance of caribou for our families and Inuit,” he wrote.

Responding to his quoted statement at the land use plan meeting, Tattuinee said the petition is taking it out of context.

“The statement simply provides an explanation on the potential process that would be followed if any development was proposed on calving grounds and the potential conditions that would have to be followed,” wrote Tattuinee.

He also disputed the allegation that a motion was omitted from the AGM.

“I will continue to serve proudly in my role as KIA president working closely with all Inuit and organizations such as the HTO to protect our lands, our culture, our wildlife and support the betterment of our region for future generations,” wrote Tattuinee. “I will be meeting further with the HTO so that we can accomplish this work together.”