The guiding pillar for the Government of Nunavut are the IQ (Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit) Principles. For those who have not really seen these simple eight principles, allow me to point them out:
respecting others, relationships and caring for people;
fostering good spirits by being open, welcoming and inclusive;
serving and providing for family and/or community;
decision making through consensus;
development of skills through practice, effort and action;
working together for a common cause;
being innovative and resourceful and;
respect and care for the land, animals and the environment.
These should be the highlight when new hires go through orientation and cross-cultural awareness.
I tip my hat to the government of the Northwest Territories in their freeze of southern hire as they review current hiring practices and the government of Nunavut should do the same. We seem to have fallen into raising the number of employees and ignoring home-grown workers. When I joined the GN I was given a very short orientation and this seems to be the pattern today. We have foreigners who are oblivious to the customs and traditions of people they are supposed to be serving.
I have been watching how southerners are hired and for the first period (90-day) probation, the attendance and the effort in fitting in has been good. Once they have passed this short time, you begin to see a falling away of why they were hired. You see lots of visiting and very lax attitude towards office procedures with more time away from duties.
Word is sent to friends and relatives in the south of how you could make and save money by coming north. The rent is not like where they came from, you will be subsidized to the max and you don’t even have to engage with the locals-sound familiar?
Well, I’ve ranted enough; the principles pointed out are evidence of helping, sharing and inclusiveness. We want to belong but there are barriers, we want to engage but there are limitations, the strong hand of colonization just won’t let go. Our Elders who are wise, who have integrity and character are leaving us too quickly. We need to have them engage regularly and pass on their wisdom and confidence.
When working with people who have admitted they need the extra help, the caregiver is reminded to practice self-care which could include, taking a walk, buying something new for yourself, go for a drive, phone a friend, join in when public meetings or gatherings are announced. This brings out the awareness of the simple guiding principles given to us by our wise and caring Elders.