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GN and NTA reach tentative settlement on collective agreement

IQALUIT, Nunavut (December 15, 2017) – The Government of Nunavut and the Nunavut Teachers’ Association reached a tentative settlement on a new collective agreement on December 9, 2017.

The previous agreement expired on June 30, 2017. The agreement is subject to ratification by both parties, at which point more details will be provided.


Media Contacts:

Denise Grandmaison
Manager, Communications
Department of Finance

John Fanjoy
Nunavut Teachers’ Association
867-979-0750, ext. 221


An emotional thing:’ Returning sacred objects lifts Indigenous communities – CP

Source: The Canadian Press
Dec 15, 2017 

By Bob Weber


Ryan Heavy Hand had been helping First Nations bring home ceremonial objects from museums for years, but this call from an institution in Oregon was a first.

“The museum had a beaver bundle,” said Heavy Hand, referring to one of the Blackfoot people’s most sacred and ceremonially important objects.

Many institutions were reluctant for such items to leave their collections, but not this one.

“(This museum) actually phoned the tribe and said, ‘Can somebody come and pick this up? Our staff are hearing animals sounds in the storage .. where the bundle was kept.

“’They’d just like you to come and take it and bring it back home.”’

First Nations have been repatriating items for decades now. Masks, rattles, bundles, medicine pipes, bentwood boxes and headdresses in the hundreds have left urban museum cases and collection storehouses for the lands where they were made.

And, when they arrive, they no longer sit behind glass. Many have resumed their place at the heart of Indigenous cultural life. They have become spiritual and artistic inspirations to the descendants of those who made them.

“It definitely gave life to a lot of people,” said Jerry Potts Jr., a Piikani elder from southern Alberta, who was involved in many repatriations of Blackfoot ceremonial items. “There’s universities and collections all over that have given stuff back to the communities that’s back in full use right now.”

The movement home began in the 1970s, driven by the desire of young Indigenous people to revive their ceremonies and traditions before the elders who knew them died. Many of those ceremonies had one-of-a-kind objects at their heart and many, if not most, were in museums, universities and private collections.

Getting them back was hard work, said Heavy Hand.

In 1994, he sat down with a fat directory of museums worldwide and sent out 4,000 form letters asking them if they had any Blackfoot material. Almost 200 museums wrote back saying they did.

“There were many, many thousands of items,” he said. “All of the major museums in Canada have really big Blackfoot collections.”

On the West Coast, Andy Wilson, co-founder of the Skidegate and Haida repatriation committees, was getting summer students to look through museum catalogues and write letters.

“They had to be proactive about it,” he said. “Now, museums are starting to contact First Nations.

Sometimes negotiations took months; sometimes they took years.

Museums were reluctant to part with some artifacts or were uncertain about where they should go. First Nations had to work out who was entitled to receive the material and how the transfer should be done.

They were determined. Bundles are considered to be living things that gain strength from use and which connect their owners to their creation myths.

The objects started coming home. And, as soon as they did, the ceremonies and societies that depended on them resumed.

In 1992, a thunder medicine pipe bundle was used for the first time in 30 years. A decade or so later, the Blackfoot had possession of and were using all 25 bundles associated with the Horn society.

“I don’t think (that society) has been complete since about 1923,” wrote the late Kainai elder Frank Weasel Head in a recent book on repatriation titled “We Are Coming Home.”

For Wilson, repatriation involved artifacts and human remains. The Haida had almost lost the art of making bentwood boxes, used, among other things, for burials.

Wilson and others used the returned boxes _ and totem poles, drums, masks, paddles and rattles _ to relearn how to make them.

The boxes were painted, but not just with any design.

“It’s got to be your family crest,” said Wilson. “And if you don’t know what your crests are, then you have to go and ask your family about it. You have to open that line of communication and history.”

The return of the bentwood boxes also led people to recover the songs and language appropriate to their use.

“It’s an emotional thing,” Wilson said. “All this stuff was beaten out of them (and) when they’re doing it, they realize how much they’ve lost, so there’s quite a bit of grief in there.”

For the Blackfoot, repatriation has meant rejuvenation. Many of the traditional societies _ the Brave Dogs, the Horns _ have bounced back.

Potts said his reserve used to have the resources for one pipe ceremony a year, but now they can do two or three on the same day.

“There’s people that make vows to (bundles) for sickness, for good luck. There’s been nothing less than miracles that have happened from some of the ceremonial protocols.”

The ripples of repatriation, said Wilson, spread wider than anyone expected.

“One of the things we didn’t realize with repatriation was it said ‘Enough is enough. We’re not going to allow you to take away our ancestors, our sacred artifacts, our knowledge.’

“If we had all day, I couldn’t explain to you what it did for us.”


Whitehorse Salvation Army shelter sees higher demand, fewer donations – CBC

Demand for meals has gone up about 30 per cent this year, says executive director

Dec 15, 2017

The Salvation Army in Whitehorse says it’s serving 30 per cent more meals than last year.

Ian McKenzie says the new Centre of Hope in Whitehorse has been busy since opening on Oct. 6.

Staff at the facility have been preparing lunch for as many as 160 people some days. The dinner crowd is smaller, but some nights can see up to 90 people coming in for a meal.

McKenzie believes the dining hall at the new Centre of Hope is attracting more clients. Everyone is welcome, he says, but the increased demand requires more groceries and more work.

Read More:

Include more voices in the Aurora College review, says MLA – CBC

Registered nurses, teachers and social workers associations should get a say, says Shane Thompson

Dec 15, 2017

More voices should be included in the review of N.W.T.’s Aurora College currently underway, says the territory’s Standing Committee on Social Development, in order to speak to the proposed program cuts to teacher education and social work.

Proposed cuts to both the college’s social work and teacher education programs for 2017- 2018 were put on hold while the review is taking place. However, the programs are not currently accepting new students.

MLA Shane Thompson, committee chair, says the comprehensive review needs to include the Association of Social Workers in Northern Canada, the NWT Teachers’ Association, and the Registered Nurses Association of the N.W.T. and Nunavut.

Read More:

Deadline this Friday, December 15: Baffinland launching Work Ready program in Igloolik to help prepare Inuit for work at Mary River Mine

December 11, 2017

Baffinland Iron Mines, in partnership with the Mining Industry Human Resource Council, is launching the Mining Essentials Program (Work Ready Program) pilot project in Igloolik from January 8 to April 2, 2018.

The free program will help prepare Inuit for work in a career in mining, providing practical skills and teaching Inuit what it’s like to work in a heavily industrial setting. The program will also provide skills for Inuit to adapt to the unique challenges of a fly-in-fly-out, two-week-on-two-weeks-off working rotation.

Are you eligible for the program?

If you are unemployed, over the age of 18 and have a grade nine-or-higher education, you are eligible to apply for the Work Ready Program.

How to applyTo apply, contact Judah Sarpinak, Baffinland’s Community Liaison Officer in Igloolik at the Baffinland Igloolik office in the Savik Enterprise building, or by calling (867) 934-4260. If you would like to learn more about the program, you can also contact Robert Tookoome, Baffinland’s IIBA Employment and Training Specialist at (416) 364-8820 extension 5040 or by email at

The deadline to apply is December 15, 2017.


Yukon College recognized as ready to offer undergraduate degree programs

December 14, 2017

The Campus Alberta Quality Council (CAQC) has recognized Yukon College’s readiness to deliver and sustain high-quality undergraduate degree programs following an organizational evaluation process. This marks the first time that a post-secondary institution in any territory has been evaluated to grant degree programs.

CAQC is an arm’s-length agency that evaluates the quality of proposed degree programs. Following a memorandum of agreement between the Governments of Yukon and Alberta, CAQC reviewers visited Yukon College in June 2017 to assess the college’s preparations. This fall they confirmed that the college meets the organization criteria and standards to deliver degree programs.

As a result of a second memorandum of agreement signed between Yukon and Alberta in September 2017, CAQC will provide ongoing quality assurance for Yukon College. This includes the review of new degree programs and monitoring them after implementation.

Yukon College’s proposed Bachelor of Arts in Indigenous Governance program is currently under evaluation. The college plans to launch the new made-in-Yukon degree in September 2018.


“The Government of Yukon is proud of Yukon College’s strong showing in this organizational evaluation. As the college prepares to become a university, this recognition shows that it already has a strong foundation and high standards for education and research. We will continue to work with Alberta and the Campus Alberta Quality Council to ensure the college’s proposed degree programs meet established national and international quality assurance standards so that students have more post-secondary opportunities here in Yukon.”

–Minister of Education Tracy-Anne McPhee

“We know the future prosperity of our provinces and country will benefit greatly from a skilled and educated workforce. For years, the Council has assisted in preparing Alberta’s post-secondary graduates in achieving success by ensuring high quality educational programs are offered. The Government of Alberta is proud that the Government of Yukon and Yukon College now have an ongoing relationship with the Campus Alberta Quality Council to ensure the same high quality educational opportunities are available to students in the north.”

–Government of Alberta Minister of Advanced Education Marlin Schmidt

“Achieving this significant milestone in our institutional journey was made possible by a remarkable team of faculty and staff at Yukon College. We are pleased their dedication and hard work was recognized by CAQC and look forward to presenting our first degree for evaluation.”

–Yukon College president and vice-chancellor Dr. Karen Barnes

Quick facts

  • Quality assurance councils or boards exist in most provinces to ensure quality and equivalency across degree levels and post-secondary institutions.
  • Yukon College does not currently require the approval of an external quality assurance council for any certificate or diploma programs it offers since certificate and diploma programs offered by post-secondary institutions in Canada are subject to internal quality assurance processes.


Sunny Patch
Cabinet Communications

Jason Mackey
Communications, Education

Michael Vernon
Yukon College – Communications


Results of cannabis survey released – Government of NU

December 15, 2017

IQALUIT, Nunavut (December 15, 2017) – Minister of Finance David Akeeagok released the results of the Government of Nunavut (GN) online cannabis survey today.

“Our newly elected government must make important policy decisions in the next few months, before the Government of Canada legalizes the recreational use of cannabis in July 2018,” said Minister Akeeagok. “The survey responses helped us understand what Nunavummiut think about the issue, and will guide us in our work to regulate cannabis in Nunavut.”

Between August 22 and September 22, 2017, over 1,400 Nunavummiut responded to the 26-question survey. The survey’s key findings show that respondents:

  • mostly favor legalizing cannabis;
  • have different views on how smoked and non-smoked cannabis products should be used in public;
  • have different views on who should distribute and sell cannabis;
  • think the GN should set the legal age at 19;
  • want the GN to focus most on fighting the illegal market and researching the impacts of cannabis use; and
  • want to be more informed about the impacts of cannabis use.

The GN will continue seeking input from Nunavummiut on cannabis legalization in early 2018 through public consultations in all three regions.

Views on cannabis in Nunavut – Highlights from the Government of Nunavut’s Cannabis Legalization Survey can be found at:

For more information about cannabis legalization, please visit the Government of Canada’s website at, or the GN’s website at:


Media Contact:

Denise Grandmaison
Manager, Communications
Department of Finance


Deadline for Public Comments on Draft 2030 Energy Strategy – Government of NT

YELLOWKNIFE (December 14, 2017) – The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) would like to advise residents that the deadline for submitting feedback to the Draft 2030 Energy Strategy is January 3, 2018.

The GNWT has made commitments in its mandate to investigate and implement renewable and alternative energy solutions, explore the potential for the development of hydroelectric power and transmission lines, and develop wind and solar energies to replace diesel.

Transitioning away from expensive fossil fuels for home heating and electricity generation will be critical for reducing the cost of living for residents, and protecting the NWT environment.

The Draft 2030 Energy Strategy, released for public comment on September 25, is a long-term approach to energy supply and energy use in the NWT. Click here to download the document, and then send your comments by:

Energy Strategy Feedback
GNWT – Infrastructure
PO Box 1320
Yellowknife NT  X1A 2L9

  • Or calling: 1 (867) 767-9021 Extension 32015


Nááts’įhch’oh National Park Reserve Management Plan Tabled in Parliament

From Parks Canada

Parks Canada announces plan to connect Canadians to nature in NWT’s Sahtu Region

December 14, 2017          Tulita, Northwest Territories                      Parks Canada Agency

The first management plan for Nááts’įhch’oh National Park Reserve was tabled in Parliament recently. Management plans are a legislative requirement of the Canada National Parks Act and guide the management of Parks Canada’s places. The plan – the first for Nááts’įhch’oh – was developed jointly with the Sahtu Dene and Metis of the Tulita District, with whom Parks Canada co-operatively manages the park.

Canada’s national parks are gateways to nature, adventure, and discovery.

The new plan for Nááts’įhch’oh National Park Reserve outlines a number of key objectives:

  •    Support and encourage use and access by the Sahtu Dene and Metis of the Tulita District
  • Ensure cultural values and traditional knowledge shape Park operations
  • Take care of the land and waters, and regularly measure the health of the Park

The plan was developed through public consultation and based on input from local residents and organizations, visitors, stakeholders, partners, and Indigenous communities. Through this management plan, Parks Canada is meeting its promise to protect and present Canada’s natural heritage while also providing an opportunity for Canadians to experience and discover our environment in new and exciting ways.

As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation throughout 2017, the Government of Canada invites Canadians to learn more about our environment. Canada’s national parks have played a big part in the celebration of Canada 150.

The Nááts’įhch’oh National Park Reserve Management Plan is available for viewing on the Parks Canada’s website at


“Canada’s national parks, national historic sites, and national marine conservation areas belong to all Canadians and offer truly Canadian experiences. As the Minister responsible for Parks Canada, I applaud this collaborative effort and I am pleased to approve this management plan for Nááts’įhch’oh National Park Reserve.”

Catherine McKenna,
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada

Quick Facts

  • Nááts’įhch’oh National Park Reserve is Canada’s 44th national park, and is 4,895 square kilometers in size.
  • When combined with the adjacent Nahanni National Park Reserve, the size of the two parks totals almost 35,000 square kilometers. The park reserves together protect 86 per cent of the South Nahanni River watershed.
  • Travellers on the South Nahanni River, a Canadian Heritage River, can start their journey in the Moose Ponds of Nááts’įhch’oh (Mount Wilson), the mountain after which the national park reserve is named. “Nááts’įhch’oh” is the Shúhtaot’ine language description of this mountain, referring to its unique shape, which is sharp and pointed on the top like a porcupine quill.
  • Parks Canada will consult on an Ecological Integrity Management Plan for Nááts’ihch’oh in spring 2018 as a priority next step in the management planning process.

Associated Links


Tim Gauthier
Partnering, Engagement and Communications Officer
Southwest NWT Field Unit

Media Relations
Parks Canada Agency


RCMP investigating suspicious death of a man in Pelly Crossing

December 14, 2017

Pelly Crossing, Yukon

The Yukon RCMP are investigating the death of a 37-year-old First Nation man in Pelly Crossing.

His death was reported on December 13th and is being treated as suspicious.

The Yukon Coroner’s Service is assisting with the investigation. An autopsy has been ordered and is expected to take place in Vancouver on December 18th.

More information will be communicated as it becomes available.


Contact information

Yukon RCMP
Media Relations

Yukon Coroner’s Service
Heather Jones
Acting Chief Coroner for Yukon
Office: 867-667-5317
Cell: 867-332-0807


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