Qaqqaq disheartened after tour of ‘mould boxes’

“This is not a fun job. It’s not fun to continuously be trying to justify why our lives as Inuit matter just as much as anyone else’s,” says Nunavut MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, during an Iqaluit press conference.
NNSL file photo

Upon concluding a housing tour in the Kitikmeot and Kivalliq regions, Nunavut MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq said she hadn’t decided whether she’d run in the next election.

She said she was working on a report on Nunavut’s “housing crisis” to submit to the Liberal government.

“There are a lot of reports. There’s a lot of statistics and a lot of numbers, but that’s exactly what it is. It doesn’t put the human aspect and real experiences on paper,” Qaqqaq said. “It’s not all sunshine and rainbows. This is not a fun job. It’s not fun to continuously be trying to justify why our lives as Inuit matter just as much as anyone else’s,.. The entirety of the Canadian federal system was built to work against Indigenous peoples and continues to do so… I don’t think as Inuit, we can start to adjust things like violence, abuse, death, suicide until we start adjusting the housing crisis.”

In late October, word came that Qaqqaq would take at least two months off work to deal with unspecified health issues.

GN moves forward on leave for those suffering from family abuse

The Government of Nunavut is pressing ahead with legislation to give Nunavummiut up to 17 weeks of leave to deal with family abuse and unpaid time off should they or an immediate family member require quarantine or medical treatment for Covid-19 or other public emergencies.

Jeannie Ehaloak, minister responsible for Labour, said the legislation will have “huge impacts” on those seeking help for coping with family abuse.

The time away from work would allow employees to deal with the consequences of family abuse by obtaining medical care, counselling, and legal or law enforcement assistance.

Push for residential school monument

Residential school survivors Piita Irniq and Jack Anawak hope Chesterfield Inlet will serve as the national historic site for Inuit survivors of residential school.

According to Irniq, Sir Joseph Bernier Federal Day School in Chesterfield Inlet was the first residential school established in Nunavut/Northwest Territories; beginning in 1950.

Irniq, who was born in an iglu in Naujaarjuat, attended the residential school from 1958 to 1963.

“As much as I always said that we were kidnapped, we were abducted by the Roman Catholic Church and the Government of Canada to go to the residential school… it also produced a lot of Inuit leadership of all the people that went to residential school,” said Irniq.

Peter Tapatai of Baker Lake is the newest member of the Order of Nunavut.
NNSL file photo

Peter Tapatai named to the Order of Nunavut

Veteran Baker Lake businessman and Super Shamou creator Peter Tapatai was selected as the 2020 recipient of the Order of Nunavut.

Tapatai started Peter’s Expediting, which has been serving the Kivalliq region since 1998. He’s also well known for his contributions to the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation, including the iconic fictional character Super Shamou.

“I was very, very honoured to be offered this and I said OK as calmly as I could,” Tapatai said.

Smaller communities lament missing out on long-term care centres

The Government of Nunavut revealed that it plans to build a 24-bed continuing care centre in Cambridge Bay to serve the Kitikmeot region despite Kugluktuk’s years of planning for such a facility.

“We are tremendously disappointed about going through the lengthy processes without getting a favourable decision,” said Kugluktuk Mayor David Nivingalok.

Then-health minister George Hickes would later explain that the GN is following “experts’ guidelines” by choosing to put the continuing care centres in regional hubs, which include Iqaluit and Rankin Inlet.

“It was just unfortunate with the risks that were associated with having a facility away from a regional hub for the level of care that we’re trying to provide to help accelerate Nunavummiut repatriation back to the territory for care,” said Hickes.

Other requests for Elders facilities subsequently came in from Kinngait, Baker Lake and Pond Inlet, but none gained any traction.

Pond Inlet gets first ambulance

A sealift shipment delivered over $2-million worth of goods and materials to Pond Inlet, including the community’s first ambulance.

David Stockley, Pond Inlet’s chief administrative officer (CAO), managed to get the emergency vehicle through a donation. If purchased, it would have cost $160,000, explained Stockley.

“All we had to pay for was the shipping. We were extremely lucky,” Stockley said, noting the ambulance is in “beautiful condition.”

About 12 volunteers, who have been trained and certified in ambulance services, were excited to drive the vehicle and provide the needed service to the community.


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