NCC working on making a sustainable future for the southern Inuit
The Nunatukavut Community Council has announced a new community sustainability initiative. The project, the ‘NunatuKavut Community Sustainability Vision 2017,’ announced on Feb. 15, has three pilot communities: Black Tickle, St. Lewis and Norman Cove.
Amy Hudson, manager of Research, Education and Culture for NCC, said sustainability is an issue in some of their communities and this project will be looking at what worked in the past, what is or is not working now and how to make sure the communities stay sustainable in the future. All three pilot communities are currently facing issues so it seemed logical to go to them first, she said.
“They are very eager to be a part of this,” she told TC Media. “This is the first time to anything of this nature has been put in place in our communities. The people of the pilot communities are happy to be part of the planning and vision of the sustainable future for their communities; based on their priorities, their hopes, their strengths, and their expertise.”
A part of looking at the future is looking at the past, specifically in terms of how the communities have survived and how that is connected to the land.
“We recognize that Southern Inuit have survived and thrived for hundreds of years on our land,” she said. “Our connection to the land is real. It’s important for communities and this connection continues today, so it only seemed fitting and relevant that we have a project that values the knowledge and expertise of those connected to the land. Communities are an integral part of navigating a way forward in the future.”
The community of Black Tickle has been facing challenges for some time. The community of 140 recently lost the only fuel supplier in the area and lost its main employer in 2012. Hudson, who is originally from Black Tickle, said since it is going through such arduous times they see it as a s a model community for a project like this because of the strength they have demonstrated, the resilience that they have demonstrated and the community knowledge that exists.
“This is the type of community that we want to help. We want to make sure that our role is to create a sustainable opportunity for a sustainable future for our communities and we want to work with all of our communities. It makes sense that we begin with those that may be facing more urgent and immediate challenges. Many of the specifics of the project are still being hashed out right now, and will be as they work with and talk to the pilot communities. The first initiative is planned for the latter end of March and will bring representatives from all the pilot communities to Happy Valley-Goose Bay to participate in a three-day workshop where activities will range from identifying community values and strengths that are specific to each.
“That is another important piece of this puzzle; we acknowledge our community share similar history and similar realities. They have unique expertise and unique knowledge. We are going to be bringing them together for the workshop and really focus on community achievements and values, their vision of the future.”
The project will also include visioning workshops, consultations, leadership initiatives for youth and adults, and learning opportunities.
Andrea Proctor, research assistant for the project, said they are really trying to focus on working with the three pilot communities to create community visions that are unique to each place.
“Instead of taking a needsbased approach to community development that focuses on problems and looks to outside help, we’re aiming instead to build on existing strengths and to encourage community members to envision strong images of the future grounded in the best of the past,” she told TC Media. “We’re hoping to create positive and lasting momentum by looking inwards and celebrating the wisdom, the initiatives, and the successes that these communities have achieved.”