July 24, 2014, Inuvik, NWT – The Inuit Circumpolar Council General Assembly, a quadrennial gathering of Inuit leaders from Canada, Greenland, Chukotka (Russia) and Alaska, concluded today with the signing and adoption of the Kitigaaryuit Declaration. This Declaration outlines the guiding principles and activities for the ICC over the next four years and is inspired by the spirit of Kitigaaryuit, a traditional whaling village and meeting site near Tuktoyuktuk that served to bring together and sustain Inuit – a reminder of the connection between past, present and future. The full text of the Declaration can be found at www.iccga.com.
Under the theme of the Assembly: “Ukiuqta’qtumi Hivuniptingnun – One Arctic, One Future,” the Kitigaaryuit Declaration covers many challenges and opportunities shared by Inuit across the circumpolar Arctic, including environmental changes, development of renewable and non-renewable resources, sustainable wildlife use, health and wellness, food security, the sharing of traditional knowledge, improved communications among Inuit in the circumpolar region and the vital presence of Inuit at decision-making and other international fora like the Arctic Council.
Notably, the Declaration also makes way for the planning of Inuit-specific Conferences on Inuit Economic Development and Wildlife Management and Planning.
Speakers and presentations at the ICC General Assembly focused largely on empowering Inuit to act on their own vision for their Arctic homeland and how international cooperation, working together and learning from other experiences in the circumpolar region can advance the interests of Inuit.
Canadian Okalik Eegeesiak also assumes the role of Chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, International for the next four years. James Stotts, President of ICC Alaska, Tatiana Achirgina, President of ICC Chukotka and Duane Smith, President of ICC Canada all maintain their positions as Vice-Chairs on the ICC International Executive Council. Hjalmar Dahl, incoming President of ICC Greenland assumes the role of Vice-Chair for Greenland. In addition, three new members were also elected to the Executive Council to replace retiring members: Herb Nakamayak (Canada), Martha Abelsen (Greenland) and Elena Kaminskaya (Chukotka, Russia).
The 2014 Assembly was hosted by the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation in Inuvik, NWT, bringing 18 delegates from Canada, Greenland and Alaska and 10 delegates from Chukotka. Including speakers, performers, volunteers and sponsors, close to 600 people were involved in the Assembly. While the General Assembly was ongoing, Inuvik also hosted the Great Northern Arts Festival and the Northern Games.
The next ICC General Assembly will be hosted in Barrow, Alaska in 2018.
Okalik Eegeesiak, Incoming Chair of ICC: “It is an honour to assume this role to advance the interests of Inuit in the circumpolar region. We know that the world is looking to our homeland to develop our renewable and non-renewable resources and Inuit must be at the table as discussions and decisions are being made about activities in our own backyard. Inuit will still be in the Arctic when the last barrel ofoil and the final piece of ore is extracted from our land.”
James Stotts, Vice Chair (Alaska): “As always it is such a pleasure to see old friends and meet newfriends to discuss the many issues important to Inuit. But I must say for me what I appreciate the mostis the chance to celebrate our culture.”
Hjalmar Dahl, Vice Chair (Greenland): “I am honoured to be elected Vice Chair. I am also humbled to receive the honour as I have been working internationally for many years and have observed that the visibility of Inuit is growing. The whole world is watching the Arctic and that creates a huge responsibility for ICC to promote the right of Inuit to be part of the decision making regarding our future where the internationally recognized principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent is one of thekeys.”
Tatiana Achirgina, Vice Chair (Chukotka): “We consider the Inuvialuit land lucky. In 1992, it was here that we joined the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC). We have been together for 22 years now. It is at the ICC General Assemblies that the Yupik peoples living on the shores of the Bering Sea learn to solve problems, conserve their culture, obtain political experience, and learn to discuss matters with national governments. Every four years we impatiently wait to be called to a General Assembly where our expectations are always met and we are never left disappointed.”
Duane Smith, Vice Chair (Canada): “Canada was pleased to host the 2014 ICC General Assemblywhere Inuit had a tremendous opportunity to discuss our shared experiences in the circumpolar region. I would like to thank outgoing ICC Chair Aqqaluk Lynge for his many years of service to Inuit and the town of Inuvik for being gracious and accommodating hosts.”
For more information, please contact:
ICC – Canadaymoorhouse@inuitcircumpolar.com
Kelly Eningowuk ICC – AlaskaKelly@iccalaska.org
Tatiana Achirgina ICC – Chukotkadareva44@mail.ru
ICC – GreenlandHjalmar@inuit.org+299556126