7 July 2010 – Ottawa – Canadian Inuit returned this week from Greenland, where the quadrennial General Assembly (GA) of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) was held 28 June – 2 July.

Inuit delegates from Chukotka (Russia), Alaska and Canada joined Greenland Inuit in Nuuk last week, where they debated issues and planned activities for the ensuing 4 year mandate of ICC. An executive council, which directs the organization until the next GA, was elected, and a Nuuk Declaration was drafted.

The Nuuk Declaration contains several important mandates from the Assembly, most of which are of importance to Canadian Inuit, and to the two Canadian council members, Duane Smith of Inuvik, and Kirt Kootoo Ejesiak of Iqaluit. Mr. Smith, who was re-elected by Canadian Inuit to be ICC Canada President for a further 4-year term will also serve as the ICC Vice Chair for Canada on the international ICC executive. Mr. Smith said he was very happy with the debate in Nuuk, especially how Inuit “spoke frankly with on another and at the same time displayed an incredible show of unity across Greenland, Canada, Alaska, and Russia”.

Mr. Ejesiak, who was elected by Canadian Inuit to also serve as ICC Canada Vice President (International Affairs) said upon his return to Canada, “it is an honour to serve the Inuit of Canada” in his new position and that he is committing his term on the international executive council to “the idea of renewal” and added that he looks forward to “working with the current and new members over the next 4 years”.

Duane Smith and Kirt Ejesiak will serve on a 9-member ICC executive council along with newly-elected ICC Chair, Aqqaluk Lynge, from Greenland. At the Canadian level, Mr. Smith will continue on not only as ICC Canada president, but also as Vice President of the national Inuit organization, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.

The ICC delegates debated issues ranging from resource development in the Arctic, the role of Inuit in Arctic governance, circumpolar health, the Inuit language, the consequences of increased shipping in the Arctic, economic development, Arctic governance, and environmental issues.

For more information: ICC Canada Office
+1 613 563 2642