Let the countdown begin
Nunavut celebrations kick off in Rankin Inlet
by Jennifer Pritchett
RANKIN INLET (Mar 30/98) - When a Rankin Inlet elder lights the kudlik April 1, the flame will be a symbol of the optimism associated with Nunavut and the 365 days left until division.
"It's symbolic of the pride we feel for the future of Nunavut," said Ollie Ittinuar of the Inuit Cultural Institute.
The symbolic lighting is the official beginning of the countdown to Nunavut to take place in Rankin Inlet on Wednesday. Celebrations are expected to include a community feast and square dance, as well as an introduction of the deputy ministers to the people of Rankin Inlet by the office of the interim commissioner.
Rick Denison, hamlet recreation co-ordinator, said that the festivities will also include a giant cake with a map of Nunavut.
Eva Arreak, public relations officer for the OIC, said that the event is designed to start the celebrations linked to the historical event.
"The public is welcome," she said.
Arreak also maintained that the time in Rankin Inlet will also be used as a briefing session for the deputy ministers, who have already been publicly introduced in Iqaluit.
While the Rankin Inlet countdown is organized by the commissioner's office, the rest of the celebrations will be set up by the Nunavut Implementation Commission, Arreak added.
"We're going to be busy implementing the government," she said.
In addition to the Rankin Inlet event, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. is sponsoring a celebration at the museum of Nature in Ottawa for the capital's political community. The reception and news conference is planned to celebrate Inuit stories, music, language and culture.
"There are still many Canadians who know nothing about the changes happening to Canada, or even who Inuit are," said Jose Kusugak, president of NTI.
"We are the official caretakers of Nunavut ... we let go for 50 years or so, and look what happened. In one year, we will be back in control."