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June 2020 Message from the Chair
As Inuvialuit, we can welcome the geese and ducks to our Region as usual and commend those who celebrate our Spring traditions with their households.
No matter what our role and responsibilities in the COVID-19 response and in our current life and household situation, we may not find this time easy or quick. While we are not yet safe, or close, the North and Inuit Nunangat have proven to do well and better than most globally in our preparations, precautions, strategies and in the willingness of our households to follow sense and proper conduct- all of which should give us hope and some advantage going forward.
We did not choose the imposition of coronavirus and it is especially hard as it unfairly menaces our elders exactly when we need their perspective and guidance. Challenge, especially with concern for food security and disease outbreak is not new. We look to elders for how to find the patience and calm required to withstand matters that may be out of our control, but that we have to deal with. Elders are able to encourage and help us relearn our language for our cultural strength. They might even suggest how to face our challenges with more ease and better attitudes; we have to be mindful not to take on attributes unknown to us or deny the discipline with which Inuvialuit have always endured during difficult times.
IRC immediately understood that households were going to need to cover basics, so food baskets were provided for those families in need and for all elders so that they could be a little more secure at home. We also know and expect that Inuvialuit have much more to rely on and can find resources within our culture and land for health and well-being and so IRC will continue to do what we can to support your efforts.
Meanwhile, IRC is willing to attend and figure out how to complete regular required business in order to deal with all the normal matters that need to be looked after. 93 beneficiaries that turned 18 years old and completed their enrolment packages by March 31 were newly enrolled. IRC dealt with audits, and annual financial reports as well as dividend matters were completed for Inuvialuit. IRC is also working to make sure previously secured funding and staffing for projects will be ready and undiminished for when we can restart.
IRC is also willing to continually push governments on your behalf specifically during this time with regards to all aspects of ensuring safety and security in our communities. IRC will conduct ongoing negotiations with Federal departments and governments in order to broaden Emergency COVID-19 Support programs as possible. We will continue to make constant requests for the health and benefit of Inuvialuit over this duration, specifically for those households in most need.
IRC asks that beneficiaries be diligent in reading notices and respecting criteria ; as well as ask for patience while IRC completes all aspects from applying for funds, asserting best terms and through all necessary management and reporting processes in program implementation.
We must especially respect the people engaged in essential activities including frontline healthcare, those stocking the shelves in our stores, cleaners and janitors, elder care, transportation and infrastructure and who are working as hard as they can to ensure things keep going for communities to function. Others are busy figuring out how to redesign processes and answers to the anxieties that have increased.
If you find that you have more time than you are used to, do anything you can do from home or camp. Let us all come out of this time mentally healthier, more in touch with our culture and having put more thought into what we can improve going forward.
IRC could suggest that you go out and appreciate the land as you are able to or take the time to read or write, a book for your children. We are also grateful to have cultural answers to how to spend our time well. Take deliberate pride in careful preparation of our traditional food, hear recordings in Inuvialuktun, and pluck the geese. Shape the snow and rock as you would like to see it or sew something to wear for our future Regional events, including Northern Games 50th Anniversary and Qilausiyaqtit Drum Dance Workshop.
Memorize a section of the IFA and recite it in your home.
If you find you must work much harder, longer and now under more uncertain conditions throughout this time or are caring for children with less relief please feel determined to continue and know that your efforts to carry on and persist in your tasks will not go unnoticed when we next gather all together.
Stay as healthy as you can at this time. Practice your culture, continue to contribute to our resiliency, build your family bonds and please be safe on the land.
We will also grieve together at that time for our losses which are already hard enough to take without the introduction of COVID-19. Our thoughts are with the families and on continued strength with all these hard challenges.
Duane Ningaqsiq Smith
Chair and Chief Executive Officer
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Find previous ICG Updates on IRC Media Centre page: https://www.irc.inuvialuit.com/media-centre