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NTI PRESIDENTIAL RACE: Andrew Nakashuk strives for top job

Andrew Nakashuk is vying to become president of land claims organization Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated on Dec. 14.

He’s chairperson of the Nunavut Planning Commission. He’s also vice-chair with Qulliq Energy Corporation, was a councillor with the Hamlet of Pangnirtung for four years and a board member with the community’s Hunters and Trappers Organization.

Nunavut News sent the same seven questions to Nakashuk and to incumbent Aluki Kotierk, who is seeking re-election. Nakashuk’s responses are found below.

1) What makes you the right person for the job?

Andrew Nakashuk says his top priorities as NTI president would be addressing poverty, housing and mental illness.
photo courtesy of Andrew Nakashuk

I am easy to approach. I am a great listener. I believe that I am the right person because I am a hard worker, I believe in equality. NTI represents all the Inuit and know that as an Inuk everyone should be treated equal. I want to help unilingual Inuit benefit from all of NTI’s programs.

I have worked for hamlet, government of Nunavut and federal government for many years in all. I have also been with in executive committee in Pangnirtung HTO, Hamlet of Pangnirtung and a chairperson for Pangnirtung Eskimo Co-op and Inuit Ilagiit. I’ve done some work on my own time with four other friends following Article 06 of the Nunavut agreement. I am also a vice-chairperson for Qulliq Energy Corporation and a chairperson for the Nunavut Planning Commission. I held a public hearing in Iqaluit on the Nunavut Land Use Plan for Baffin Island and Northern Quebec people, so I have a little bit of experience in the workplace and as a board. I like working with Inuit and like to give other Inuit an opportunity.

2) As NTI president, what would be your top priorities over the next four years?

My top priority is poverty and housing and mental illness.

3) Nunavut Tunngavik recently stated that the Government of Nunavut has failed Inuit by passing Bill 25. What will you do to help overcome the lack of Inuktut education in schools from kindergarten to Grade 12 over the coming decades?

Since Bill 25 has already been passed it is a living document and will be reviewed every five years, which gives Inuit the opportunity to ensure that education and language are met and are the top priority. As the president, I will be able to work with the Government of Nunavut to collaborate and ensure that Inuit have the best opportunities.

4) How can NTI play a role in improving health outcomes for Nunavut Inuit?

Work collaboratively the Health Department of Nunavut on health issues in Nunavut. Any federal funding that NTI receives for mental health will be co-shared with the Government of Nunavut as they are the service provider.

5) Would you prefer to see more mining or less mining occurring in Nunavut, and why?

At this moment we have enough mines on the go. I’m not saying stop the mining. But the reason for it is that we, the Inuit, are still using the land and sea to hunt our food, and it will give the other mines (time) to recover after it’s been mined before opening the next one.

6) What other forms of economic development would you support in the territory?

With the use of technology and the future fibre optic cables coming to Nunavut, Inuit will be able to have fast internet to advertise their business using social media and high-speed internet. Businesses will be able to advertise and network within Nunavut to showcase their products. As president, I want to support more hands-on training for on-the-land programs using traditional skills through NTI.

7) Many Inuit want to see funds from the Nunavut Trust invested in the creation of new public housing. Is there any possibility that you would apply a portion of trust funds to building homes in the future? Why, or why not?

I would definitely push hard for the federal government to adequately house the communities in need, and that is all the communities in Nunavut. In collaboration with working with the Government of Nunavut, we can address the housing issues.