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Celebrating our achievements

Dignitaries at the announcement of the First Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework at the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health in Ottawa, Ontario. L to R: Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief for Manitoba Kevin Hart, representative of the Inuit Early Learning Working Group Jenny Lyall, ITK President Natan Obed, Federal Minister of Health Ginette Petitpas Taylor, representative of the Métis National Council David Chartrand, Federal Minister of Status of Women Maryam Monsef, Algonquin Anishinabe elder from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation Claudette Commanda, and Federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Jean-Yves Duclos. © ITK

No matter what you do in life, it is important to pause and celebrate achievements. It could be on an individual level, like passing a test with a better grade than expected or record­ing a personal best on a 10K run. The boost of pride that comes with individual accomplishment is an important motivator that spurs on greater ambition, stronger resolve, and personal confidence.

Defining and celebrating success in the work­place is sometimes more difficult, as the indicators for success sometimes seem insignificant in comparison to the challenges at hand. Administering a successful housing program in one Inuit community may only seem like a small bright spot in the face of 52 per cent overcrowding across Inuit Nunangat, but it means the world to those who benefit from the housing provided. It is imperative that we celebrate the successes that come along the way, so as to keep our resolve and lift up those who are doing amazing work even though they might not be feeling they have made a dent in their overall goals.

Much of the work we do at ITK is done in boardrooms, on teleconferences, or crisscrossing the country in pursuit of the next step toward Inuit self-determination. Success for an Inuit representational organization like ITK is very different than for public governments that deliver services, or for businesses that measure success in profits or growth.

Sometimes, success is just getting the right leaders in the right room, such as when federal cabinet ministers and Inuit leadership meet together as the Inuit-Crown Partnership Committee to further our actions related to land claim implementation, housing, health, environment, reconciliation measures, and achieving the Inuit Nunangat policy space.

At the end of each meeting we feel the success of moving our combined Inuit priority areas closer to action.

In September, Employment and Social Development Canada announced a new Indigenous early learning and childcare framework that includes an Inuit Nunangat section with accompanying funding that effectively doubles the investments the government of Canada provides to Inuit children. Inuit leadership, along with the energetic ITK early learning and childcare working group should celebrate this moment, when we have achieved a hard fought victory for our children.

In October, the department of fisheries and oceans created a new region inclusive of Inuit Nunangat. It consulted with Inuit leadership throughout an 18-month process to realign its regions within an Inuit Nunangat policy space. This means that for the first time, the Inuit Nunangat coastline, which accounts for approximately 50 per cent of Canada’s coastline, will be treated as an important focal point in the way DFO organizes its work. This is another small step towards reconciliation and meaningful change.

I’m proud of the work we do at ITK. I am pleased that our combined efforts create new realities that may not be celebrated widely in the moment but have long lasting positive contributions to the betterment of Inuit. It is so important to understand that the work we do is a part of a greater whole. I appreciate all Inuit elected leadership, all those at the community level providing supports and services, those who work in government and those who work in education, health care, justice, and culture. I appreciate your combined efforts that make Inuit Nunangat stronger every day.

Natan Obed
President, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami

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