Around Nunavut

March 21, 2003

Edmonton declares "Kiviaq Day"

The pugnacious lawyer and former broadcaster, boxer and Edmonton city councillor, Kiviaq, also known as David Ward, was treated to a special honour last week in Edmonton, his adopted city.

Bill Smith, the mayor of Edmonton, proclaimed Friday, March 14 as "Kiviaq Day" in Edmonton.

"[T]here is no better way to recognize Kiviaq than to designate a day in his honour," the proclamation reads.

Kiviaq, 66, was born near Chesterfield Inlet, but was moved to Edmonton when he was three.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Kiviaq won numerous amateur boxing titles and used boxing and football scholarships to go to university in the U.S. After his graduation, an injury prevented him from playing football for the Edmonton Eskimos.

Ward later served on Edmonton city council, and got a law degree from the University of British Columbia.

While an Edmonton city councillor, he succeeded in winning recognition for David Pisurayak Kootook, a teenaged boy from Taloyoak who died while saving the life of Martin Hartwell, a medevac pilot whose small place crashed north of Yellowknife in the early 1970s.

Lately, Kiviaq has been campaigning for federal government recognition of the rights of Inuit who do not live in Inuit territories. His latest action is a Charter-based court challenge alleging that the federal government is failing to give Inuit the rights enjoyed by status Indians.

Although he’s now in the midst of a battle with cancer, Kiviaq is still pressing on with his fight for Inuit rights.


March 21, 2003

NTI updates enrollment procedures

Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. has announced what its hopes will be improvements to the procedures used to maintain its list of Inuit beneficiaries.

It has developed a new enrollment manual to streamline the application process, and created a computerized computer database to speed up the updating of the enrollment list.

The organization has also put a three-year limit on the length of time that a person may serve as a member of a community enrollment committee.

A revised Inuit Enrollment List will soon be distributed to each community so that people can look at their information and make corrections, if needed.

To get benefits from the Nunavut land claims agreement, beneficiaries must be on the enrollment list.


March 21, 2003

Current affairs figure at Nuuk’s Snow festival

NUUK, GREENLAND — The radar at Greenland’s Thule air base and the crisis in Iraq stood beside elaborate abstract snow sculptures of Arctic animals at Nuuk’s 10th international now festival last weekend.

A snow sculpture by Ivaaq Poulsen of Nuuk featured the wheels of an airplane hitting the World Trade Center in New York City. At last year’s festival, Poulsen and his friends made a big shoe of snow.

"Our figure is about Bin Laden," Poulsen explained. "We’re showing the attack on the World Trade Center to show the world that Greenland is a peaceful place."

Students at Nuuk’s art school made a work called "Peace in the world."

"It’s why we are making the Thule Radar," they said of their sculpture.

Some companies in Nuuk were using the festival as team building exercises, with workers collaborating on snow sculptures.

"It’s to strengthen co-operation between us and have fun. It’s kind of hard, but it’s an experience to work with snow sculptures," said Nina Kørvel of Nuuk’s Rambøll Company.

When Nuummiut felt the cold, they sat inside a large igloo and snacked on coffee and hot dogs.

The festival got under way last weekend with 50 participants from Nuuk, Denmark, Norway and Sweden.

Until 2001 Canada was also represented, but due to the lack of scheduled air service between Canada and Greenland, there were no Canadian participants this year.


March 21, 2003

NTI dumps on GN budget

Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. says the Nunavut government’s 2003-04 budget fails "to address key Inuit priorities."

Cathy Towtongie, the president of NTI, said in a news release last week that the budget, tabled in the legislative assembly last week by Finance Minister Kelvin Ng, demonstrates that Ottawa isn’t transferring enough money to Nunavut under the formula financing agreement for things like housing, education, training, health care, and economic development.

She also criticized some of the GN’s own policy choices, such as a decision to cut the sustainable development department’s budget by more than 20 per cent.


March 21, 2003

Federal committee seeks opinions on same-sex unions

The House of Commons standing committee on justice and human rights will be in Iqaluit next month to solicit input on marriage and the legal recognition of same-sex unions.

Eleven of the committee’s 18 members will be travelling across the country in April to find out what Canadians think about the issue.

The committee, chaired by Liberal MP Andy Scott, will be in Iqaluit on April 30. The meeting will take place at the Frobisher Inn starting at 9 a.m.

Organizations and individuals who wish to make a presentation should submit a request to Patrice Martin, the clerk of the committee by fax at 613-992-9069 or e-mail at

Interpretation services will be available and there will be a microphone available for anyone who wants to make an informal, unscheduled presentation.

The discussion paper on same-sex unions is available online at


March 21, 2003

New funding keeps food mail rates stable

The federal government has committed an extra $12 million a year to the food mail program, for a total of $27.6 million a year in funding.

The additional funding will mean food mail rates will remain stable for the ninth year in a row, Robert Nault, the minister for Indian affairs and northern development, said in a news release announcing the increase.

Food mail is a federal program that pays a portion of the cost of shipping perishable food and other essential items to isolated northern communities.

The news release said the new funding is in response to the December 2002 Auditor General’s report.


March 21, 2003

Inmates give back to communities

A charity art auction initiated by Correctional Services Canada and organized by Fenbrook Institution raised $14,000 for the Illitiit Society of Nunavut.

A total of 43 carvings, including a number donated by Inuit inmates in the carving program at Fenbrook, were auctioned off at the event held March 2 in Toronto.

The Illitiit Society of Nunavut is a charity that serves the homeless and those in need throughout the territory.


March 21, 2003

MLAs set election date for February 2004

MLAs decided last week to hold the next general election on Feb. 16, 2004.

A 2004 election will give the government time to complete work on a number of matters, including several pieces of legislation still on the table and the 2003 capital budget to be heard in the fall, members said.

By February 2004, most members will have served a five-year term.