Nunavik beneficiaries choose new blood for their birthright organization
"We’ve been talking about how to bring unity to this organization"
A Jan. 16 election in Nunavik has promoted two young, trilingual Makivik Corp. staffers to the organization’s executive.
Adamie Delise Alaku, Makivik’s newly-elected vice-president of resource development, and Andy Pirti, the organization’s new treasurer, each took their bosses’ old jobs Jan. 16.
Alaku, executive assistant to Makivik’s long-time vice-president of resource development, Johnny Peters, won a tight race against Peters to secure the vice-presidency, with 52 per cent of the vote.
Alaku’s victory appears to have come thanks to voters in his home town of Salluit, who cast 320 ballots for Alaku and only eight for Peters.
In a four-way race, 31 per cent of Nunavimmiut voters elected Pirti to replace his boss and long-time treasurer Anthony Ittoshat, who decided not to run again in 2014.
Pirti’s second-place contender Jobie Epoo finished with 25 per cent of the vote. Candidates Joseph Annahatak and Michael Cameron finished with 23 and 20 per cent of the vote respectively.
In an interview with Nunatsiaq News Jan. 17, Alaku, 32, said his priority as vice-president will be to restore the region’s pride in its birthright organization.
“We have to be proud of Makivik as our birthright, and that’s going to be my biggest challenge,” he said. “Andy and I work well together and we’ve been talking about how to bring unity to this organization. I want to show people what’s really happening here.”
Alaku said he’s committed to following the organization’s major wildlife files, including polar bear and caribou management.
And as Makivik’s first French-speaking executive members, Alaku said he and Pirti will have a leg up dealing with Quebec government files and officials.
“I think that’s going to bring a very good dynamic to our executive,” he said. “We won’t have to wait for translation. We’ll be able to respond right away — it’ll be very helpful.”
Although Alaku brings new blood and new skills to the position, he recognizes that a large percentage of Nunavimmiut still voted to return Johnny Peters for a sixth term.
“He had a wealth of experience. He did so much for Makivik and for that we have much gratitude for this man,” said Alaku, who acknowledged the mentorship Peters provided to him over the years.
“He had a lot of loyal voters who wanted to bring him back,” he said. “But at the same time, there were Nunavimmiut who wanted to see young and modern leadership.”
“[Makivik president] Jobie [Tukkiapik] is our elder now,” joked the 32-year-old.
Forty-three per cent of Nunavik’s 7,320 eligible voters cast ballots in the election.
Voter turnout was highest in Tasiujaq at 68 per cent and lowest in Ivujivik at 36 per cent.
Two per cent of the ballots cast in the vice-president’s race were spoiled along with one per cent of ballots cast in the treasurer vote.