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Monday, February 10, 2014

Tlicho says no to super board

The Tlicho Government could take legal action against the federal government if it amalgamates the territory's land and water boards into a super board, says Grand Chief Eddie Erasmus.

As part of the Northwest Territories Devolution Act, Bill C-15, the Gwich'in, Wek'eezhii and Sahtu regional land and water boards would be eliminated from the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board, according to the federal government.

Instead, 11 representatives from each region of the territory would sit on the superboard.

Erasmus said the Tlicho Government is against combining the boards water boards and said legal action is a possibility.

"It could take place down the road," he said of possible legal action.

Dene National Chief Bill Erasmus said in a press release that the Dene Nation would support the Tlicho Government if they decided to move forward with a lawsuit.

"We are standing together on this to ensure that our future is in our own hands," he said in the release.

- Kassina Ryder

Fort Smith website to be redeveloped

The Town of Fort Smith is about to redevelop its website.

"We're looking at upgrading it and making the website a little better," said Mayor Brad Brake.

A contract for the work has already been awarded to Outcrop Communications of Yellowknife.

"One of the things we want to do is try and streamline it and make it a little easier for people to work around," said Brake.

- Paul Bickford

Last day of work for Enterprise SAO

Terry Testart, the senior administrative officer (SAO) with the Hamlet of Enterprise, is now the former SAO of the community.

Testart's last day of work with the hamlet was Feb. 7. By mutual agreement, no information is being released on the personnel matter.

No replacement has yet been named for Testart, who had been Enterprise's SAO since January of last year.

- Paul Bickford

Student wins scholarship

Lance Gray, a graduate of East Three Secondary School and a first year Bachelor of Science student at the University of Alberta, has won a scholarship worth $1,500.

Gray, who was also briefly the co-ordinator at the Inuvik Community Greenhouse late last summer, was one of 325 students at the university to be awarded a scholarship in recognition of excellence in academics, fine arts, athletics, and leadership.

- Shawn Giilck

Traditional games clinic


Derek Squirrel of the Aboriginal Sports Circle NWT and Dene games instructor Manny Buckley from Hay River were in Ulukhaktok to run a traditional games clinic at Helen Kalvak School.

The clinic ran from Jan. 28 to 30 with students from kindergarten through to Grade 9 all taking part.

"They had a blast," said principal Geoff Buerger.

Squirrel said they were teaching children both Dene and Inuit games, including stick pull, snow snake, one-foot and two-foot high kick, and muskox push.

"They were great, they were very enthusiastic," said Squirrel. "Especially the Dene games, because they don't get exposed to that up in that area."

Squirrel left behind a traditional games kit at the school for the students to continue using.

Squirrel said the Aboriginal Sports Circle NWT has also visited Aklavik and Sachs Harbour since the beginning of the school year in September.

He said teaching the games is as much about preserving the history of the games as it is having fun.

"It's important to pass that on to the kids because for the elders it wasn't just a game, it was a way of life."

- Cody Punter

Six teams in tourney


Aklavik's own Team Shandel McLeod won the community's women's volleyball tournament last weekend. There were six teams involved from across the territory in the tournament, which kicked off with round-robin games on Jan. 31 and concluding with finals on the evening of Feb. 1.

Two teams from Inuvik captained by Liz Gordon and Saralynne Ruben fell short of making the playoffs, while Tsiigehtchic's team captained by Bobbie Jean Andre fell to Aklavik's Crystal Koe in the bronze medal game.

That left McLeod to play Joyce Blake's team from Fort McPherson in the final on Saturday night.

Blake's team put up a good fight but McLeod and her team took them down in two straight sets 25-22 and 25-18.

"It was close," said McLeod.

McLeod said that for some reason the hometown Aklavik crowd was cheering against her team during the final. "It just made us stronger and we ended up winning," she said. "We won undefeated."

- Cody Punter

Info about council for potential candidates


Enterprise Mayor John Leskiw II believes potential candidates need to learn more before running for hamlet council.

At a Jan. 28 meeting of council, Leskiw told a delegation from the Department of Municipal and Community Affairs (MACA) that some people run for council without knowing what that really involves.

"In the past, I have heard a couple of people say, 'Well, this isn't what I expected when I ran,'" he said.

Dan Schofield, director of MACA's School of Community Government, said the department has a series of DVDs on what a person can expect as a councillor.

"Other councils have also asked for training to be delivered to the public so that it encourages them to get involved in future years, and so they do know what they're getting into ahead of running for council," said Schofield.

The DVDs were developed in co-operation with the NWT Association of Communities.

- Paul Bickford

Caribou harvest in Paulatuk


Paulatuk's justice committee funded a community caribou harvest in conjunction with the Paulatuk community corporation to start the month.

Gilbert Thrasher, employment officer for the hamlet, said three youth were selected to go out on the land and hunt caribou with two hunters.

"Out there they taught the youth how to hunt, track and follow the caribou and how to skin the caribou," said Thrasher.

After spending five days on the land they returned with three caribou which were divided up between elders in the community.

"I was hoping they would get eight but the caribou right now are travelling way far out on the land," said Thrasher.

Thrasher said he was promoting the program as a way of teaching youth the importance of taking care of elders in the community.

"The feeling of how proud you are of doing that for your elders - I don't know how to put it into words."

He added that the influx of computer games and other modern amenities into the community have resulted in youth spending less time on the land. He hopes to inspire younger generations to continue to hunt.

"It will helpfully let them know there's more precious things to do with your time than be on electronics," he said.

- Cody Punter

Spring carnival dates set in Fort Resolution

Deninu Ku'e/Fort Resolution

The Hamlet of Fort Resolution Spring Carnival will be held next month.

The dates for the annual community event are March 20 to 23.

Among the many family-friendly events, a carnival king and queen will be crowned from contestants aged 16 years and over. A carnival prince and princess will also be chosen from children 15 years of age and under.

- Paul Bickford

Sunrise at last

Ikaahuk/Sachs Harbour

Sachs Harbour's sunrise festival finally took place the weekend of Feb. 1 after it had to be delayed due to a lack of dry fish and volunteers the previous week.

Acting recreation co-ordinator Kyle Donovan said the event was a huge success.

"It went really well," said Donovan. "We had a lot of food and there was a lot of fun."

Donovan said around 40 people showed up to the Inualthuyak School Gym to eat dry meat, caribou head soup, frozen char, reindeer soup, bannock and donuts.

"We were going to play some (traditional) games but everybody got too full to jump and stuff," joked Donovan.

He said some of the youth at festival ended up playing


Sachs Harbour is starting to get about three hours of sunlight per day.

"Everyone always enjoys getting to look at the sun," said Donovan.

- Cody Punter

Track and field society to hold AGM

Thebacha/Fort Smith

The Fort Smith Track and Field Society will hold its annual general meeting on Feb. 20.

The AGM's agenda will include a review of 2013, information on activities planned for 2014, a financial statement, and an election of officers.

- Paul Bickford

Firefighters kept busy in Iqaluit


There were no dull moments for Iqaluit firefighters who were called into action twice last week to battle separate fires.

The first incident took place on Feb. 4 when a home in the Tundra Valley subdivision caught fire, causing more than $250,000 in damage.

Approximately 20 firefighters fought the blaze, which destroyed the interior of the home.

The next day, firefighters were once again called into action after a Pontiac Grand Am caught fire near Hotel Arctic.

Emergency crews blocked the road in front of the hotel while firefighters put out the small fire.

- Myles Dolphin

Management system praised


This week, Nunavut officials will share wildlife management knowledge with other jurisdictions when they attend hearings on the southern Hudson Bay polar bear population in Inukjuak, Que.

Drikus Gissing, the Department of Environment's director of wildlife, said Nunavut has a proven management system that may be adopted by Ontario and Quebec.

"Up until now Nunavut is the only jurisdiction with a total allowable harvest," he said.

The southern Hudson Bay polar bear population is shared by all three jurisdictions, and Sanikiluaq is the only Nunavut community to hunt from the population, which has been stable for about 30 years.

"The population is estimated at just under 1,000 animals," Gissing said, "and surveys in the early 1980s and early 2000s concluded the same number.

"It shows that the population is very productive and has been able to sustain a significant harvest for a period of time."

The meeting will focus on the results of an aerial survey conducted by Ontario and how both provinces can possibly incorporate a total allowable harvest management system of its own, based on Nunavut's model.

- Myles Dolphin

Byelection to break tie

Kangiqliniq/Rankin Inlet

Voters in Rankin Inlet South are heading to the polls on Feb. 10 to select who will represent them in the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut when the new government begins its first session on March 6.

The byelection would break the deadlock between incumbent MLA Lorne Kusugak and challenger Alexander Sammurtok.

The extra vote became necessary when a judicial recount of the ballots confirmed a tie between the two after the Oct. 28 general election.

Polls will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Siniktarvik Hotel.

All special ballots must reach Elections Nunavut by 5 p.m. Feb. 10.

- Laura Busch

Fibre optic link a step closer


Arctic Fibre's proposed 15,000-km fibre optic line that would connect Europe to Asia through the Northwest Passage is now one step closer to reality.

The Nunavut Impact Review Board ruled the project does not require an environmental assessment, and filed a screening decision report outlining 52 primary terms and conditions with the federal minister on Jan. 23.

Conditions include that all garbage be stored in metal containers until disposal to keep out wildlife, and that all project activities be suspended if any dead or injured fish or wildlife are observed in the wake of the side sonar vessel.

The $620-million private project would connect Iqaluit, Cape Dorset, Hall Beach, Iglulik, Taloyoak, Gjoa Haven and Cambridge Bay residents to high-speed fibre Internet.

It also gives Industry Canada the option of investing another $230 million to connect 23 other communities in Nunavut and Nunavik.

- Laura Busch

Youth council gathering


Pangnirtung's Youth Council will hold its annual general meeting on Feb. 24 at the Youth Centre.

The time is yet to be determined and door prizes will be offered.

All Pangnirtung youth are welcome to attend the event and nominate themselves, or a friend, to become a youth council member.

- Myles Dolphin

Top principal named

Kangiqliniq/Rankin Inlet

Sarah Ayaruak of Leo Ussak Elementary School in Rankin Inlet is one of 40 principals across the nation to receive a Canada's Outstanding Principals award.

The announcement was made by the Government of Nunavut late last month.

Now in its 10th year, Canada's Outstanding Principals program was developed by The Learning Partnership and recognizes the importance of strong leadership in education.

Ayaruak is the third Rankin principal to win the prestigious award, joining Jesse Payne of Maani Ulujuk Ilinniarvik and Bev Ford of Simon Alaittuq School on the list of our nation's finest principals.

Ayaruak will receive her award at the 10th annual Canada's Outstanding Principals gala dinner and award ceremony at the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel in Toronto, Ont., Feb. 25.

- Darrell Greer

New faces on board

Ikaluktutiak/Cambridge Bay

Three new people have joined the board at the Cambridge Bay Hunters and Trappers Organization.

Four of the six seats on the board were up for grabs in an election on Jan. 30.

Newcomers Mercy Panegyuk, Mark Haongak and Jimmy Haniliak will join Wendy Kootoowood, who was re-elected to serve another term.

- Laura Busch

Senior men start playoffs

Kangiqliniq/Rankin Inlet

The semifinals in the Rankin Inlet Senior Men's Hockey League were set to begin Feb. 2 and Feb. 3.

The best two-of-three in each series will continue on Feb. 5, Feb. 10 (if necessary) and Feb. 12 (if necessary).

- Darrell Greer

Here comes the sun


The sun is finally back in the northern Baffin Island communities of Arctic Bay, Pond Inlet and Clyde River, whose residents have once again endured several months in relative obscurity.

The first rays emerged last week after having disappeared in November.

Arctic Bay resident Darlene Willie said she was really looking forward to the sun's return.

"I'm so happy the sun is back because the 24/7 darkness is too long to live with," she said.

"Going to work at 7 a.m. felt like midnight, lunch hour felt like midnight and by the time you're going to bed, it was midnight."

- Myles Dolphin

Dragon dance performance


Nakasuk School in Iqaluit celebrated the beginning of Chinese New Year on Jan. 31 with a colourful presentation.

Two students, Andrew Ma and Thomas Ma, accompanied their father Tat Ma in the presentation.

"Thomas wore a traditional lion's head dress and danced in an intricate and entertaining fashion," said principal Tracey MacMillan.

"The tempo and cadence was provided by his brother, Andrew, on drum. We thank the Ma family for the presentation and the homeroom teachers, Layli Joamie and Amanda Kerton, for providing the venue."

- Myles Dolphin

Peewee tourney postponed

Kangiqliniq/Rankin Inlet

The annual Powerful Peewees hockey tournament had to be postponed for the second week in a row in Rankin Inlet.

The announcement was made Jan. 31 by Rankin recreation coordinator David Clark.

"Unfortunately, due to bad weather conditions across the region, only kids from one community would have been able to come in to Rankin," said Clark.

"We tried to work something out with Calm Air to bring them in the following day, but, unfortunately, it just couldn't be done."

The Powerful Peewees tournament has been rescheduled for the weekend of Feb. 21.

- Darrell Greer