Despite what opinions you may, or may not, have about the performance of the Kivalliq Inuit Association (KIA) as a regional Inuit association, the cultural centre described by KIA president David Ningeongan in this edition (‘KIA still plugging for cultural centres’) is the multipurpose facility that dreams are made of to every Kivalliq community – and then some.
By today’s standards, it boggles the mind how much the lives of so many Kivalliqmiut in the region’s seven communities would benefit by seven buildings at a cost of $28 million.
There’s no doubt there are many voices out there who would argue the centres could be downsized to either cut the cost significantly, or to become totally heritage-based in their usage to fit the model of the federal government’s Canadian Heritage so that department would provide 75 per cent of each building’s funding cost.
Ningeongan’s vision may be the Rolls Royce version of community cultural centres, but isn’t it time this region went all-in for a truly top-of-the-line facility that is so badly needed for every single community across the Kivalliq?
And isn’t it time for so many that stand in front of cameras and microphones – from the federal level all the way down through the national Inuit association, the territorial government, private enterprise, regional Inuit associations and municipal governments – to talk of the importance of preserving and strengthening Inuit culture, language and tradition to step up, put aside any differences and work together to make such a worthwhile endeavour come to fruition?
In fact, let’s dream a dream even more vivid in its possibilities.
The combined efforts of the aforementioned would need to raise $10 million a year to have such excellent cultural centres constructed in every Nunavut community in one decade.
Just take a look at their combined annual spending, funding allocations and profit margins and decide for yourself if such a project is indeed feasible or just pie-in-the-sky dreaming.
Ten years would represent the opportunity for Inuit culture to be immensely solidified in its quest for everlasting continuity and national standing, as well as day-to-day functionality and importance while still embracing the future.
Programming to produce the best possible results from the centres would be of tremendous importance, which puts the emphasis to produce squarely on the shoulders of the three regional Inuit association with the Government of Nunavut in a strong supporting role.
Nunavut elders would also have to be strongly involved and directly connected to a number of specific programs delivered at the centres.
Leadership is not title, position or authority and true elder leadership will be paramount to the success of a number of programs aimed at healing, cultural importance, traditional skill development and language appreciation and learning.
The selection of the elders to have strong input into program development and delivery would also be paramount to program success.
The centres envisioned by Ningeongan would also contribute greatly to each hamlet’s sense of community, an often overlooked aspect vitally important to a still developing and evolving territory.
The cultural centres the KIA proposes would be a mammoth project across Nunavut, but totally within the realms of possibility if led by a united, dedicated and determined team of visionaries.
Numerous fundraising initiatives over the decade to give Nunavummiut the opportunity to contribute to their own cause is discussion for a dream of another day, but, for now, this is one dream worth pursuing relentlessly into reality.