Warm hands, warm heart Always happy when you see Emily Angulalik. She was selling products made by Elders of the Pitquhirniqqut Ilihautiniq — Kitikmeot Heritage Society at the annual Christmas Bazaar in Cambridge Bay on Nov. 26. Navalik Tologanak/NNSL photo
Survivor shares memories of wolf attack
Kinngait hunter fends off predator with pocket knifeCharron-Leclerc Local Journalism Initiative
Temela Pitsiulak knows the terrifying feeling of being trapped under a wolf, fighting for his life.
Pitsiulak was hunting caribou when he had the extraordinary encounter with the predator in July 2016. Six years later, he recounts his traumatizing experience in an interview with Nunavut News.
“We were outside of Kinngait. There was a
few boats that went to Saqva for the caribou hunt, before we reached the camp site. A lot of us men got dropped off to the land so we could walk and look for caribou on our way to the camp site,” recalls Pitsiulak, who is captain of Kinngait’s fire department.
At that moment, Pitsiulak took a shortcut across the beach and ended up being stuck, as water rapidly started flowing in on the path he wanted to take.
“I turned back but the water was just as deep the way I went too so I decided to climb the
biggest boulder and wait for the boats to show up. Luckily, one of the captains saw me stand ing on top of a rock and they got to me right on time” he says.
The team ended up reaching the base camp that day and rested in hopes of finding caribou in the morning.
The following day, Pitsiulak and his friends separated and walked the land to try and find some game. After hours of searching, Pitsiulak didn’t have any luck in finding caribou so he decided to return to camp.
“I didn’t see one that day so I went back to the camp and had food and a coffee. After that, I left my tent and started walking towards where the other guys were but turned back to pick up my pocket knife just in case I had to help butcher a caribou,” remembers Pitsiulak.
Once he got back on his way, he stumbled upon one of his friends, lugging part of a car cass.
“I found one of them and he had a nice fat caribou that he was carrying on his shoulders so I ran to him. When I got to him I said, ‘All right, we will have the best boiled meat tonight,’ and I took a chunk of fat out of what my friend carried.”
He then asked him where the rest of the an imal was to help carry the remainder of the harvest to camp. His friend replied, “Let’s pick it up tomorrow. I left it on top of a big boulder.”
Pitsiulak was worried birds would eat all the fat overnight, so he decided to go get the rest of the animal by himself before heading back to camp. After being directed to the location, he went on his way, encouraged by the tasty bits of fat he had received from his friend’s hunt.
Jumped by the wolf
“I started to walk up towards it while munch ing on a chunk of caribou fat. About 15 minutes after splitting with my buddy, in the corner of my eye I saw something white coming towards
me really fast. I looked and it was an Arctic wolf running towards me! I started running away from it while still looking at it and soon after… I tripped on a rock because I was not looking where I ran and I was looking at the wolf instead,” he recalls.
“I was on my back when the wolf jumped on top of me. I blocked my face with both my arms fists up, elbows down, and it bit my arm. I got up really fast, it had my left arm but it did not bite through it.”
Although his arm was still free, he recalls the wolf having a really good grip on his hood and jacket sleeve.
“Every time I tried to pull off from its grip, the wolf just kept getting closer, so I started pushing instead. While pushing it away, I re membered I had a pocket knife in my right side jacket pocket,” he said.
The pocket was zipped and he was unsuc cessful in getting it open while being jostled by the powerful predator.
“I pushed the wolf away from me hard… that was the only way I was able to keep my jacket from going up and down while trying to open the pocket. I laid on my jacket so I was able to unzip the pocket and grab my pocket knife. I was lucky it was the kind of knife you can open with just your thumb,” Pitsiulak recalls. “First swing I missed the wolf and almost got my arm instead. At that point, every time I pulled the wolf got very close to me so I pulled hard and stabbed it right over the nose.
“I can never forget the noise the wolf was making when I stabbed it. It sounded like a wounded or hurt dog. It ran away so I started to run back to camp. After about 10 yards of running, I realized I only had one boot on, so I ran back and got my boot, and then ran all the way to camp.
“I feel very lucky to have survived these two incidents in two days at the camp,” he says.
Sedna animated film misrepresents Inuit culture, teacher contends
‘Sedna, Empress Of The Sea’ filled with cultural inaccuracies,’ according to Iqaluit resident
After the animated children’s movie called Sedna, Empress of the Sea was released on Nov. 7 at the Astro Theatre in Iqaluit, some viewers have been criticizing inaccuracies appearing in the film.
“Based on one of the most compelling indigenous legends of all time, Sedna, Empress of the Sea is the story of a courageous young Inuit girl, who is kidnapped by an evil raven, escapes by kayak only to end up at the bottom of the ocean where she becomes the ruler of the sea. Inspired by a story director Jerry Thevenet’s grandmother told him as a young boy, the film uses a “light-hearted musical as a vessel to introduce children to the concept of residential schools and their impact on Indigenous people,” describes the movie’s website.
Andrea Andersen, who saw the film with her friends and her child, is worried some aspects of the movie might be misleading to youth who are just learning about their culture.
The concerned Nunavimmiuq mother wrote an email to the movie’s producers, explaining why she thought the was inaccurate.
“I am Inuk from Hopedale, Nunatsiavut… (Recently), myself and a few friends, along with their children, went to watch your movie Sedna, Empress of the Sea here in Iqaluit. Once the movie was finished we were made aware that you welcomed feedback, so after some discussion with my friends, we decided to take up this offer and send along our thoughts. We have a few questions and we are hoping to be provided with answers.
I want to start by saying that we all agreed that the animation was really good. There was a lot of action which kept ours and the children’s attention. The songs were a nice addition and kept the movie fun and entertaining.
This is where our questions/concerns begin.
Were there any consultations with more Inuit across Inuit Nunangat? Since the story is known by all Inuit then it should have been reviewed by Inuit from each region, if it hadn’t already been done. And were there any Inuit cast in this film? We noticed many words in Inuktitut not spoken correctly (tuktu, maktaaq, angakkuq, qamutiik, qajaq) and if there was consultation with Inuit then this would have been corrected.
Sedna is not an Inuktitut word, it is a First Nations word. They too have their version of Sedna, but since this movie was focused on the Inuit legend then the correct word would have been best to use is Nuliajuk. Was this considered in your draft purposes?
Where else was this movie shown? We watched it here in Iqaluit but we are curious as to where else it played or will play. Where/ how can it be viewed?
The story line was not accurate. Maybe it was meant to have a spin on the legend, but this may confuse children. This may be a child’s first introduction to the story and children may believe this to be the original legend. As an example, one of the chil dren, after watching the film, continued to talk about Sedna’s hands being cold and being frozen off from the cold, and how the tulugaq (raven) would interact with the characters. They also tried to describe themselves as Eskimo and tried to “Inuk kiss” on the nose — which is a stereotypical way that society portrays they way Inuit kiss, but it is inaccurate.
Maktaaq misrepresented too
We think that some things were not represented accurately, one being the maktaaq. Why was it so gross? Maktaaq is a delicacy here and it doesn’t look grey and goopy. It is also not eaten from a bowl with a spoon. Maybe that was the little boy’s perception of it as he hadn’t seen/had it before, but young children watching this were confused. My friend’s child said, “Maktaaq doesn’t
look like that, and maktaaq is yummy.” They also stated during the movie, “I don’t know what maktaaq (stated in the way she had heard it said) is, but I know what maktaaq is,” and the other viewers in the theater laughed as they knew what she was referring to, but the pronunciation was not correct for whale blubber. Who was Kay the trans lady supposed to represent? This con fused me very much and was a big concern. I got the impression that she was supposed to be a fake, as she had first said she was “Pocahantas” (which, saying that in itself was inappropriate), and then she had to ask someone who she was. The tattoos on her face also told me she was a fake, because the circle lines did not represent Inuit tattoos. But having a trans person represent a fake? That’s being insensitive to the trans community. Also, how did she get in the ocean? She had legs, not a fin. Maybe she was like a fairy god mother figure?
Sedna having tattoos at age six is incorrect. Girls would have their first facial tattoos at the age of maturity, which would come with their first period. Age six is too young to have facial tattoos. Around age 12 would have been the time to receive the kakiniit (Inuit facial tattoos). It is also important to note that kakiniit are given based on the region where they are from — with the ones she received it does not represent any specific Inuit community. They were curved when they should have a more pointed shape.
I think the nudity was unnecessary. I get that it was meant to be funny but it was unnecessary.
The focus should have been kept to one topic. It seems as though a lot of topics were put into this movie, including aspects of traditions from various Indigenous cultures, and the combining of Sedna with residential schools. I was under the impression by the title of the movie that this would solely be about Sedna and was taken aback when I saw the inclusion of residential school topics. I think that this is a really heavy topic that shouldn’t have been combined with Sedna. Residential schools should be taught to children exactly how it happened, not in a lighthearted way. I think the whole topic of residential schooling also got lost throughout the movie…it was seen at the beginning and the end, but not mentioned during the movie’s entirety.
Why were the children speaking Mohawk at the end when the entire movie was based on Inuit legend? Yes, children who went to the residential schools spoke Mohawk but maybe they should have been Inuit children speaking Inuktitut? This confused the children watching who speak Inuktitut as they didn’t understand what was being said during those times.
At the beginning of the film, you had said that nothing was put in the movie by mistake and everything represented something. What was everything supposed to represent? I.e. the nanuq, Kay, tulugaq.
Additional things we are curious about: tea pot iglu, ice shaped like a puzzle, “rubbing noses” was a bit stereotypical.
Inaccuracies: First Nation designs on a qajaq, Sedna wasn’t sewing kamiik (it looked more mukluk style), beluga had a fin, the kamiik patterns on the father were more First Nations than Inuit.
I am a longtime teacher and work with young children. I would not recommend any more children to watch this version and I will not be watching it again either. Although, I would like my adult friends (Inuit and non-Inuit alike) to see this film so that we can all have a discussion because as it is now, it has left us with way too many questions and concerns.
Lastly, as a very important point, we would like to say that the film should have come with a trigger warning. Prior to watching the film, we were under the impression that the film was entirely a story about Sedna. I brought a friend’s child to this film. But only when the lights went down and the movie began to play did we realize that it was a movie with aspects of the residential
schooling system. Had I realized this I would have spoken to my friend about bringing her child; it would have been best if she was there, or if I hadn’t brought her at all. We were caught offguard and given the wrong impression based on the title and the movie poster. Residential schooling should not be sugar-coated. These questions have been on our mind… and we just wanted to bring them to light. Word is getting out now and other people have questions as well. We just wanted to share our thoughts; please take our concerns into consideration. Thank you for taking the time to read this over and we look forward to your response to our questions and concerns.”
Gifts of the season
Christmas, Cambridge Bay! Yes, the community of Cambridge Bay already started celebrating Christmas 2022 with the long-awaited annual Christmas Bazaar, which was not held during the past couple of years due to the pandemic. So many beautiful homemade crafts from kamiks, mitts, jewelry, bannock, Cambridge Bay’s famous Arctic char antipasto, and many, many more Christmas gift ideas.
Both youth and adults had fun shopping on a beautiful winter day in Ikalututiak. More than 500 residents crowded into the high school gym nasium on Nov. 26 to get ready for Christmas!
Voices raised against Agnico Eagle’s
Meliadine extension plans
Bevy of questions and concerns brought forward at Nunavut Impact Review Board meetingBy Stewart Burnett Northern News Services Rankin Inlet Local Journalism Initiative
Just about every relevant organization — from governments to hunters and trappers, plus dozens of community members — gave their input and asked questions regarding Agnico Eagle’s plans to extend the Meliadine mine during Nunavut Impact Review Board meetings in Rankin Inlet Nov. 23-26.
Speaking on his own behalf, Brian Zawadski was clear when he took the microphone during the community roundtable.
“I oppose the Agnico Eagle proposed mine extension,” he said.
The Meliadine extension proposes to mine more ore than the original project by develop ing a new depost, named the Tiriganiaq-Wolf underground, plus adding underground min ing activities at the Pump, Fzone and Dis covery sites, for which open-pit activities are already approved. The extension would increase the mine’s life by 11 years, pushing mine closure to 2043 instead of 2032. It would also increase camp capacity by 225 rooms, up to 905 employees. The company expects it to create 205 new jobs during the busiest year of operations.
The plans include three new components: a windfarm, airstrip and in-pit disposal.
The windfarm would comprise up to 11 wind turbines that would operate year-round for the duration of the Meliadine mine’s life and be dismantled and recovered upon closure. Building an alternative airstrip close to the mine site so that the company doesn’t have to use the Rankin Inlet airport was one of the most controversial options at the public meeting, Agnico Eagle says it would provide
flexibility during caribou migration, reduce dust emissions on the road and provide an alternative location for flights to land in the event of an emergency.
For the alternative in-pit disposal, another optional venture, that addition would evaluate locations for in-pit tailings and waste rock to optimize the site’s footprint and reduce the surface area impacted.
Zawadski told the company that individual additions to the mine site sometimes sound good on their own, but combined, they create a significant problem.
“When you add them all together, you come up with something that is going to be entirely detrimental to the environment and the ani mals that we rely on that are passing through here,” he said.
He didn’t believe the windfarm would create
minimal noise, and he echoed earlier sug gestions for the company to consider solar panels instead.
He also wondered how much the project would continue to expand.
“If they find gold 20 miles north, do they want to build another road?” asked Zawadski, adding that he would like to know the com pany’s long-term plans.
Pujjuut Kusugak, senior coordinator of community affairs with Agnico Eagle Mines, responded to the comment regarding the air strip.
“We’re proposing it now so we don’t have to do it further down the line,” he said, explain ing that the company wants to make sure it’s going through the proper processes ahead of time, even if some aspects of the plans like the airstrip never materialize.
Samuel Alagalak asked a direct question of
around the table: do they support the Meliadine extension plan, yes or no?
“Direct answer is no,” said Andrew Akero lik of the Kangiqliniq Hunters and Trappers Organization.
Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., the Kivalliq Inuit Association, the Government of Canada and Government of Nunavut all said that they are waiting for more answers and commitments during the review process.
Kusugak, responding to a comment about Inuit employment at the mine, indicated that it was a subject he was passionate about but larger than Agnico Eagle alone.
“When I was a child growing up, we didn’t have Inuit that were lawyers, we didn’t have Inuit that are doctors, not very many business owners,” he said.
But now at age 43, he sees that success around him, even if it can seem slow at times. He talked about the importance of creating a community that fosters growth.
“Our job is to create those foundations where students are going to be successful and be able to pursue whatever job they want,” said Kusugak. “It doesn’t have to be in the mining industry, but at the end, we have to create the foundation and encouragement and whatever else it takes to create children and youth that are going to succeed.”
Harry Towtongie, speaking on behalf of the Hamlet of Rankin Inlet, said the hamlet is against the airstrip.
“I want that to be heard,” he said. “We don’t want this… I want you to understand no is no. We don’t want that airstrip.”
As for the windfarm, the hamlet wants more studies done and more consideration for other locations for the turbines, he said.
Patterson steps down as Nunavut’s top doc; Sean Wachtel named as replacement
Patterson to return to work full-time at Qikiqtani General HospitalBy Trevor Wright Northern News Services Nunavut
The Government of Nunavut announced the ter ritory’s newest chief public health officer (CPHO) Dr. Sean Wachtel on Nov. 28.
He will be replacing Dr. Michael Patterson, who will be returning to full-time work at the Qikiqtani General Hospital. Patterson served as CPHO for four years and has guided Nunavut through the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I’d like to acknowledge and pay tribute to Dr. Patterson for his leadership over the past four years and his commitment to protecting the health and well-being of Nunavummiut,” said Nunavut Health Minister John Main. “I am extremely grateful for the tremendous work of Dr. Patterson and the pub lic health team, now and throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, to help keep Nunavummiut safe.”
Wachtel’s credentials include being the senior med ical director for the Aboriginal health and medical health officer for the First Nations Health Authority in British Columbia.
“I am honoured to be afforded the privilege to take on the CPHO position for Nunavut,” said Wachtel. “While working clinicly in Nunavut, I was touched by the spirit and the warmth of the people in the territory. I am eager to have the opportunity to build upon the excellent work of Dr. Michael Patterson and the Department of Health.
“I look forward to working closely with all com munities and stakeholders to further promote and protect the health of Nunavummiut in this beautiful territory.”
Kinngait hamlet warns of lockout if union insists on wage increases or more financial benefits
Nunavut Employees Union seeks better discretionary leave, increased wagesBy Trevor Wright Northern News Services Kinngait
The Hamlet of Kinngait says its latest proposal to the Nunavut Employees Union (NEU) for a collective agreement is a good one that values its employees given current circumstances and resources.
“The pay and allowance increases that the hamlet offered in this collective agreement are higher than the increases in the last collective agreement. This will result in more money in the pockets of employees,” stated Kinngait Mayor Timoon Toonoo in a Nov. 29 news release.
Current outstanding issues for the NEU include having different wording for discre tionary leave, particularly with regards to harvesting; the removal of rights to about one-third of the collective agreement articles for employees accepting positions directly funded by the Government of Nunavut; and to have planned wage increases match levels of ongoing inflation.
There are currently fewer than 25 employees working for the hamlet with almost half of the community’s positions vacant.
The hamlet’s current offer in each year of a five-year collective agreement would include pay increases of one, one, 1.5, two and 2.5 per cent for each year respectively, more than prior proposals, according to the municipality.
The NEU’s position is that it should take into account current inflation rates. Inflation rates in Iqaluit are around five per cent and it’s expected to be higher in communities such as Kinngait.
While there has been an agreement for 10 per cent market adjustment in certain male-dom inated classiciations, the NEU is continuing to argue for wage increases. Two times over the last six years the hamlet has had to adjust wages due to the municipality paying less than the Nunavut minimum wage.
“The Municipality of Kinngait is one of the lowest-paid hamlets in all of Nunavut,” wrote James Kaylor, communications officer with the NEU.
The NEU is also seeking a market adjust ment for female-dominated jobs, such as those in offices.
“The office workers are already saying they cannot afford to buy their normal groceries anymore,” Kaylor added. “Kinngait is on the bottom rung, paying among the lowest wages of any community in Nunavut.”
The hamlet is proposing to make discretion ary leave dependent on operational require ments, such as ensuring that water delivery is covered.
“The hamlet is not proposing to take this away from employees,” said Toonoo. “The hamlet is only proposing that, in situations where the hamlet needs a particularly em
ployee to work, then that employee must stay at work, instead of taking the leave — but as soon as the hamlet doesn’t need the employee at work anymore, the employee could then take the leave.”
The NEU’s position is that for Nunavut workers, having access to country food makes the difference between having to go hungry or not. The proposed change to discretionary leave could change that.
“Workers in Kinngait have been using the current discretionary leave language in the collective agreement to go hunting to feed themselves, their families and the community for many years,” said NEU president Jason Rochon on negotiations with the hamlet in early November. “It seems like current man agement wants to re-colonize the community instead of accepting the needs of its people and their traditional culture. They should
However, Toonoo contends that “this is a misunderstanding of Inuit culture. Having employees do important work for our com munity is not a colonial attitude.”
But the NEU says it hasn’t been made aware of any complaints at the bargaining table of employees taking advantage of harvesting opportunities instead of delivering water.
The hamlet is also proposing to replace the existing settlement, housing and vacation al lowance with a Northern allowance offering about $5,000 more for employees overall com pared to the other allowances.
While the hamlet’s Northern allowance can’t compete with the GN Northern allowance, it presents a “big increase for employees,” according to Toonoo. “More more than em ployees received the last time we bargained the collective agreement.”
The municipality is looking to have a respon sible budget, according to Toonoo’s statement, and is aiming to “not make decisions that would lead it back into a deficit.”
“The hamlet is willing to come back to the bargaining table,” he added.
However, “if the union continues to insist on greater wage increases or other financial benefits, then there is a good risk of a strike or lockout.”
It appears there will continue to be an im passe between the hamlet and the union on the financial end of the negotiations, with the NEU maintaining that the hamlet’s current offer is not enough.
“In the current economic climate, a raise of a few cents per hour is not sufficient for employ ees of the hamlet to keep food in the table,” wrote Kaylor. “Everyone knows how much prices have risen, and this is especially true in the small communities across Nunavut.” The last collective agreement expired on March 31, 2020. Negotiations on a replace ment began this past June.
Sports & Recreation
Iqaluit RCMP topples Iqaluit Fire Department on the ice
Cops beat the firefighters, 6-5, in charity hockey game to raise money, awareness for MovemberBy James McCarthy Northern News Services Iqaluit
At the end of the day, it was a fun way to help raise money for a very worthy cause.
But you can bet the Iqaluit Fire Department will be looking for a spot of redemption in short order.
The department took on the Iqaluit RCMP detachment at the Arctic Winter Games Arena on Nov. 26 in a charity hockey game to raise money for Movember, the movement which raises awareness about men’s health issues. As you could tell by the paragraph above, it didn’t go the way the fire department wanted it to as the RCMP squeaked out a 6-5 win.
It was the first time such a game had happened since 2018 and the first since Covid-19 restrictions were lifted.
Stephen McGean, Iqaluit’s acting fire chief, said the winning goal came on the power-play.
“We caught a late penalty and they were able to take ad vantage,” he said. “They’re going to hold that over our head for a while — you never want to lose to the other side — but it was all in good spirit.”
The evening began with a public skate 30 minutes before the game, featuring Sparky, the fire department’s mascot, and Safety Bear, the RCMP’s mascot.
Shanneyganock, a band based out of Newfoundland and Labrador, performed the national anthem, followed by the ceremonial faceoff, which was conducted by Chief Supt. An drew Blackadar, commanding officer of V Division RCMP, and Ted Clouter, Nunavut’s fire marshal.
McGean said around 100 people were in attendance for the game and admission was a donation of either money or a food item, the proceeds of which will be donated to Joamie School.
There were also two boots at the front entrance — one RCMP highbrown and one from the fire department — in which people could drop some money based on who they thought would win. No matter who prevailed, the money raised would go toward prostate awareness, the charity the fire department had been raising money for during Movember.
McGean said around $1,100 was collected through that method, but there was a bit of a change in the donation plans.
“Both sides decided to add that money to what was being donated already,” he said. “Our department had raised around $6,000 already, so we thought the proceeds from the boots should go toward the donations that night.”
An on-ice rematch in 2023 is already pencilled into the books, but McGean said it may happen earlier in the year.
“We’re thinking about throwing down a challenge sometime in the spring,” he said. “We’ll pick another charity to raise money for and try to get some redemption.”
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Suspicious death in Kinngait
Kinngait RCMP have responded to a re port of a deceased female at a residence.
The Nunavut RCMP ‘V’ Division Major Crime Unit and the RCMP Forensic Identi fication Unit are currently investigating the incident. It is being reported as a suspicious death, according to a news release that the police issued on Nov 29.
Pangnirtung TB outbreak still ongoing
On Nov. 25, Nunavut’s Department of Health issued a tuberculosis update for Pangnirtung.
Since January 2021, there have been 37 people diagnosed with active tuberculosis, and 147 people diagnosed with latent tu berculosis in a community of close to 1,500 people.
An outbreak was declared in the com munity late last year after the department found definitive links among all the cases in the community. A growing number of cases and challenges in contact tracing led to the declaration of an outbreak.
Pangnirtung residents who have been ex
posed to an active tuberculosis case, or are experiencing symptoms, are advised to visit the health centre for screening.
Symptoms of active tuberculosis include:
-A cough lasting longer than three weeks
-Feeling very tired
-Lost of appetite
-Fever or night sweats
Anyone experiencing these symptoms is asked to go to the health centre as soon as possible. Tuberculosis is a treatable disease, latent tuberculosis isn’t contagious but it can be treated to prevent it from becoming active. For more information, check out the Government of Nunavut’s tuberculosis information web page.
Progress in supporting FASD
The Piruqatigiit Resource Centre, which will soon be able to provide FASD-related services for Nunavummiut, is this year’s re cipient of the Claudette Bradshow FASD In novation Award, announced the CanFASD Research Network on Nov. 21.
This came as welcome news to the people behind Piruqatigiit, who worked hard to bring resources and awareness to Nunavum miut on fetal alcohol syndrome disorder
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(FASD) and prenatal alcohol exposure.
“We were elated to find out that we had won the CanFASD Claudette Bradshaw In novation in FASD Award,” said Miali Kuni lusie and Jennifer Noah, executive directors of Piruqatigiit, in an email to Nunavut News.
Prior to Piruqatigiit’s founding, there were volunteer efforts to create safe FASD messaging to support families and frontline service providers. It subsequently shifted into a non-profit society and organization with a building in 2018.
They faced many barriers, including un predictable project-based funding.
“We have had to be innovative at our core, just as many other Nunavut based non-prof its are. This award is meaningful to all of us… receiving an award like this that recog nizes the depth of the groundbreaking work we are doing and level of service provision we are providing to Nunavummiut is affirm ing,” they said.
Before the establishment of Piruqatigiit there were no specific FASD service pro viders in the territory. This resulted in some families leaving the territory in search of a diagnosis and follow-up medical services.
“After four years and being prepared to launch an FASD assessment clinic for chil dren and youth, we finally have the funding
and the multidisciplinary clinical team to be able to provide this service in Nunavut,” said Kunilusie and Noah. This team includes an Inuk speech-language pathologist.
People can find out more about prenatal alcohol exposure and FASD by reaching out to local health centres or Piruqatigiit at its Baker Lake and Iqaluit offices.
Currently determining the number of Nunavummiut impacted by FASD is diffi cult to answer according to Piruqatigiit, as there is no reliable or consistent numbers on it. The national average is four per cent, which would mean more than 1,500 people in Nunavut may have it. The Government of Nunavut currently doesn’t track the prev alence of FASD in the territory.
However, Piruqatigiit says the more aware ness there is around FASD, the less stigma there will be — less stigma will mean better data collection and increased access to sup ports for those who are affected by FASD, they predict.
“We really want Nunavummiut to know how ajungi and brilliant people with FASD and neurodiversities are. We want Nunavum miut to access our resources and learn more about FASD so they can become an ally to community members or even family who may have FASD.”