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Rapid growth at Ilitaqsiniq

Organization seeks own properties
Adrianna Kusugak, Executive Director of Ilitaqsiniq, says the organization hopes to own its own facilities to host programs in. Stewart Burnett/NNSL photo

Ilitaqsiniq had a three-person team in 2018.

“Despite the pandemic, we have grown exponentially over the past four years,” said Adrianna Kusugak, Executive Director of Ilitaqsiniq, during a panel on Inuit opportunity at the 2022 Kivalliq Trade Show in Rankin Inlet.

“Our team now consists of 20 full-time operational team members, of which 85 per cent are Inuit. The remainder are lifelong Nunavummiut.”

According to its website, the organization promotes and supports literacy initiatives in the official languages of Nunavut with respect for the principals of community capacity building and development. It runs more than 50 programs a year, on themes from food to harvesting to sewing and workplace readiness, all striving to “interrupt the intergenerational and ongoing effects of colonialism.”

Kusugak borrowed a statement made by a board member who said, Ilitaqsiniq provides what residential schools tried to take away.

All programs are funded through proposals — the organization gets little to no core funding.

“It’s a constant hustle,” said Kusugak.

“It’s quite fitting that the panel before us was regarding infrastructure. We know that’s always a challenge in our region and our territory and Ilitaqsiniq is not immune to that. We beg, borrow, knock on doors, hang out in porches, whatever it may be to find a space to run our programs.”

Ilitaqsiniq is currently in year two of a three-year agreement with the Department of Economic Development and Transportation for $400,000 in funding, said Kusugak, who has her sights set on permanent facilities for the organization to host its workshops and classes.

“What we’d like to see in the future is where Ilitaqsiniq can own its own building with an adequate program space to deliver the various initiatives that we run,” she said.