NCC work­ing on mak­ing a sus­tain­able fu­ture for the south­ern Inuit

The Aurora (Labrador City) - - EDITORIAL - BY EVAN CAREEN

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.”

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