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Stable funding the key

ITK asks for 'new commitment' from Ottawa

Kevin Wilson
Northern News Services

Ottawa (Dec 10/01) - Less than 24 hours after adopting its new name, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami called on Ottawa to make another name change.

"Just as we changed our name to reflect our commitment to re-dedicate ourselves to Canada," the federal government should signal its commitment to Inuit by renaming the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, said ITK president Jose Kusugak.

At a press conference Monday, Kusugak also called on Ottawa to provide stable and predictable funding."

Flanked by Nunavut MP Nancy Karetak-Lindell and ITK chief operations officer Rob Martel, Kusugak said his staff "spends 70 per cent of their time developing funding proposals, not developing programs."

Martel said about 10 per cent of ITK's $4-million annual budget "is funding we can rely on year by year." That money comes from Heritage Canada. The rest of the budget is for specific programs and comes from a variety of government agencies.

The former Inuit Tapirisat of Canada used the occasion of its 30th anniversary to unveil a name that affirms the Inuit commitment to Canada.

Whit Fraser, ITK's political specialist, said the organization hopes that by changing the word "Canada" to its Inuktitut equivalent, "Canadians will see that the Inuit have embraced Canada."

He added that changing the tense of "Tapirisat" to "Tapiriit" signifies the completion of some of ITK's objectives.

"Tapirisat is a forward-thinking word, which I'm told means an organization we aspire to be in the future," said Fraser. "By taking out the 'sat' it's saying that we are that organization."