Kuujjuaq, Monday August 12, 2002

Inuit in Kuujjuaq are playing host to fellow Inuit in Canada, Greenland, Alaska, and Russia. The Inuit Circumpolar Conference General Assembly, held every four years, is the largest gathering of Inuit leaders in the world. The theme of this years conference is: Inuit Voice Enlightening the World.

Aqqaluk Lynge, President of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, from Greenland, welcomed the delegates to the newly completed Kuujjuaq Cultural Centre shortly past 9:00 a.m.  The opening ceremony features a ceremonial qulliq lamp lighting, the singing of Oh Canada in Inuktitut, musical performances by the Kuujjuaq Youth Group, throat singing by Akinisie Sivuaraapik, Martha Nakula, Leah Grey, and Anne-Marie Aitchisen, and a performance of We Are The World by Ulayuk Pilurtuut with guitar accompaniment by Etua Snowball. The opening ceremony is the first event in the Nunavik region to be webcast live and can be viewed atwww.krg.ca

President Aqqaluk Lynge said, I believe so strongly about ICC because I know our work at the international level has a positive effect on lives at the community level.

Welcoming addresses from local and regional Inuit leaders are also on the agenda. Kuujjuaq Mayor Michael Gordon, Kativik Regional Government Chairman Johnny Adams, and Makivik Corporation President Pita Aatami are all slated to make welcoming remarks, underlining the development of the Nunavik region, and the first time an Inuit Circumpolar Conference General Assembly is being held in Kuujjuaq. Mr. Michel Letourneau, Member of the National Assembly for Ungava will also present a message of welcome from the Government of Quebec.

Opening remarks will be made by representatives of the governments of Canada, Quebec, Nunavut, the Greenland Parliament, the State of Alaska, the Governor of Chukotka, the Chair of the Arctic Council, the President of the Saami Council, and the President of the Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North (RAIPON).

Day one of the conference will also feature a Presidents Report, and an overview of current issues presented by representatives of Alaska, Greenland, Canada, and Chukotka.

The Inuit Circumpolar Conference has Observer status at the United Nations, and has a mandate to represent Inuit at the international level. This general assembly is an opportunity to address developments taking place in the Inuit world, and issues Inuit face through modernization and global change. The vision developed through the discussions this week will guide Inuit politicians in their work over the next four years and their discussions at the World Summit in Johannesburg at the end of the month.

Six major sessions are scheduled as the formal conference agenda. These are:

  • United Nations and Human Rights
  • Land Claims and Self-Government
  • Environment and Sustainable Development
  • Inuit Communications
  • Inuit Language
  • Trade and Development

The week-long event also includes an International Inuit Elders Conference, and an International Inuit Youth Meeting concurrent with the ICC General Assembly.

Finally, an Inuit Circumpolar Conference General Assembly is also an opportunity to celebrate Inuit culture. The annual Aqpiq Jam music festival in Kuujjuaq has been modified to accommodate the General Assembly and feature performances from Inuit in the circumpolar regions. The Aqpiq Jam begins Monday August 12th and concludes on Friday August 16th.

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Stephen Hendrie
Inuit Circumpolar Conference Media Centre

Lisa Koperqualuk
Makivik Corporation

Robert Mackey
Nunavik Tourism Association


Live Conference Streaming Video :      Www.krg.ca