Covid restrictions saw stockpile of frozen fish in Pangnirtung

The mid-April closure of Canadian North’s cargo office in Iqaluit significantly slowed down the sale of Pangnirtung’s fish.

As of June 24 there were approximately 232,000 pounds of fish remaining in the plant from turbot season. The Pangnirtung Fisheries fell behind in shipping its products due to the outbreak of Covid-19 in Iqaluit, a regional travel hub.

The problems Pangnirtung Fisheries faced were largely related to transportation woes and the longer the fish sit the more the value of the turbot drop.

Ensuring the fish doesn’t spoil “caused us a lot of headaches this year,” said Peter Kilabuk, chairperson of Cumberland Sound Fisheries, which holds a majority stake in Pangnirtung Fisheries.

Nunavut celebrates Canada’s first Inuk Governor General

On July 6, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Mary Simon, former president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the Inuit Circumpolar Council, as Canada’s next governor general.

An advocate for Inuit rights for four decades, she is the nation’s 30th governor general since Confederation.

Leaders from across Nunavut celebrated her appointment.

“Her outstanding career advancing Indigenous and Inuit rights make her an ideal choice for the role of governor general,” said then-Qikiqtani Inuit Association president P.J Akeeagok.

“This is a momentous day for all of us – Inuit, Indigenous peoples and Canadians alike,” said Aluki Kotierk, president of Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated.

“I am proud to see an Inuk as the head of state in Canada in my lifetime,” said Rebecca Kudloo, president of Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada.

Government of Nunavut tackles staff housing crunch

As of July 23, there were close to 500 priority positions to fill within the Government of Nunavut (GN) with approximately 60 vacant staff houses. Then-Human Resources minister David Akeeagok stated the GN was facing “dire straits” when it comes to offering accommodations for employees.

The Nunavut Teachers Union is also concerned about the lack of staff housing, it “certainly limits the pool of potential employees for our schools,” said president Justin Matchett.

Matchett added some teachers have left the territory because of poor or shared housing options available to them.

Grant McMichael, assistant deputy minister of operations with the Department of Human Resources, said the GN’s staff housing stock is comprised of 1,729 units.

Pat Angnakak, then-MLA for Iqaluit-Niaqunnguu questioned why GN employees who get paid close to $200,000 still qualify for subsidized staff housing.

Nunavut MP calls for special prosecutor to investigate residential schools

During a July 8 news conference, then-Nunavut MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq and Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus called for Attorney General David Lametti to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate crimes against Indigenous children in residential schools and similar institutions.

The two argued there has been a lack on action on fulfilling the Truth and Reconciliation calls to action and a lack of adequate compensation from the Indian Residential School Settlement.

Qaqqaq opened the press conference by speaking about Johannes Rivoire, one of multiple alleged pedophile priests who held positions of power in various residential schools in Nunavut and the NWT. He is accused of sexual assault against children at Sir Joseph Bernier Federal Day School in Chesterfield Inlet.

The legacy of residential schools is plain and clear for Inuit and all Indigenous people, said Qaqqaq, citing the higher rates of sexual violence, alcohol abuse and suicide among Inuit in Nunavut.

Iqaluit has optometrist once more with opening of Inuulisautinut Niuvirvik

The opening of Inuulisautinut Niuvirvik has brought new businesses and services to the territorial capital, including a pharmacy, Booster Juice and a new optometry clinic, where visiting Nunavummiut will be able to get new glasses in-territory once more.

Iqaluit’s new optometrist Gayle Harrison was excited to bring a much-needed service to the territory. She’s heard there’s around 800 people on the waiting list.

Exams started on July 14.

Health centres in Nunavut reduce services amid summer staff shortages

From July to August health centres in Sanikiluaq, Taloyoak, Kugaaruk, Clyde River and Naujaat moved to emergency only services, while those in Grise Fiord and Resolute Bay had to close altogether temporarily in mid-August.

This was due to staff shortages, according to the Department of Health.

The Government of Nunavut arranged for online appointments for Nunavummiut unable to directly access health services. The Nunavut government signed a deal with contractor Bayshore Healthcare Agency back in March to prevent more health centre closures.

“The Covid-19 pandemic and a nationwide shortage of health care staff have made the recruitment of nurses very difficult,” said Health minister Lorne Kusugak.

Coral Harbour harvests bowhead whale

“That’s a lot of maktaaq. Enough for most community members,” said Greg Ningeocheak, one of a crew of 16 hunters from Coral Harbour who harvested a 10-metre bowhead whale on July 10.

Captained by Coral Harbour Mayor Willie Nakoolak, they headed south along the coast along with other hunters following on land, setting up 40 kilometres south of Coral Harbour.

Hundreds of people came down to greet the crew as they returned with the whale.

It was a particularly memorable hunt for Ningeocheak, who brought along his 10-year-old son along for his first hunt.

Nunavummiut among latest appointees to Nutrition North Canada

Beth Kotierk and Brenda Jancke, both Nunavummiut, have been appointed to the Nutrition North Canada Advisory Board.

Jancke is a regional director for the Department of Family Services in Cambridge Bay while Kotierk is a lawyer who serves as a board member for the Qajuqturvik Community Food Centre in Iqaluit.

The goal of Nutrition North is to make more essential items more affordable to those in remote communities.

The 2021 federal budget proposed $163.4 million over three years to expand the Nutrition North Canada program.

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