Iqaluit-Sinaa hopeful Natsiq Kango will focus on Iqalummiut
“None of the MLAs have been speaking up for Iqalummiut”
Natsiq Kango has one major priority if she’s elected as the first MLA for the Iqaluit-Sinaa riding: its constituents.
“Here, I am focusing on Iqalummiut as an MLA,” she told Nunatsiaq News.
Kango, 56, was born in Iqaluit but has since split her time between Iqaluit and Arctic Bay.
That’s where she ran for MLA for the first time, in Quttiktuq, in a December 2000 by-election. Kango received a little over 14 per cent of the vote, but came up 28 votes short of Rebekah Williams.
Kango is now focused on Iqaluit after having moved to the city from Arctic Bay.
“My priority is to represent my constituency. In order to represent them, I have to make sure the government is open, is allowing me to be open to my constituents,” Kango said.
And the Iqaluit MLAs who sat in the last assembly did not represent their constituents, she said.
“None of the MLAs have been speaking up for Iqalummiut, not to my knowledge,” Kango said.
Kango wants the Government of Nunavut to allow her to “oversee or review” resource and infrastructure needs.
“We have a lot of social problems in Iqaluit. Why do we have a lot of social problems? Why aren’t people, families, improving their lifestyles? It’s because they lack resources.
To solve social issues, Iqaluit needs a rehab centre “for Iqalummiut — I stress that,” she said.
Kango said the GN needs to review policies for job placements as well.
“Here in Iqaluit, we are seeing a lot of newcomers from different countries, in different levels of jobs. And I know that there are people out there that have been applying for jobs but are not qualified,” Kango said.
“What are the reasons for not being able to get a job? And we have an education or training program sources that we lack. We don’t have enough training programs in Nunavut,” she said.
As well, Nunavut’s language legislation has not been “implemented properly yet.”
“I have not seen big change in Inuktitut signs yet. And businesses,” she said. “It has to be mandatory.”
Education is a contentious issue with Kango: her children faced difficult times when moving from Arctic Bay to Iqaluit, she said — and that’s why she is calling for all communities to have the same standard of education.
When Kango moved her five children from Arctic Bay to Iqaluit in 1991, all were told their “grades are not high enough,” she said, and they had to be dropped down by two grades.
Kango also adopted three children while in Iqaluit — one speaks Inuktitut, one understands Inuktitut but doesn’t speak it, and the other neither understands nor speaks Inuktitut.
“I want to be able to see that this school in Iqaluit versus other schools in Nunavut are at the same level,” she said.
“I don’t know if it’s the education system itself or if it’s the teachers itself. What is it? I need to find out.”
Kango has been an owner of Enokseot Holdings Ltd., the parent company of many businesses in Arctic Bay.
Kango has also worked for various airlines between 1976 and 1990 as an airline agent.
And she has been a business owner in Iqaluit as well.
In 2010, Kango, quit her position as an Iqaluit city councillor, to run for president of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., an election won by Cathy Towtongie.
A trained midwife, Kango has been involved with the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. This has seen her travel around Canada and the world as an advocate for Inuit traditional knowledge in midwifery.
Kango is a co-author of the book Birth on the Land – Memories of Inuit Elders and Traditional Midwives.
Solomon Awa, Leesee Papatsie and Paul Okalik are also contesting Iqaluit-Sinaa.