February 4, 2020, the Kativik Ilisarniliriniq Post-Secondary Students organized a one of a kind event to support the Isuarsivik Regional Recovery Centre: the Cycle to End the Cycle initiative.
In conjunction with the College Montmorency and John Abbott College, post-secondary students from Kativik Ilisarniliriniq organized a simultaneous indoor cycle-a-thon between both schools. Inspired by Hannah’s Journey Across Canada, the project was part of the 2020 National Suicide Awareness Week. It focused on mental health awareness with activities such as traditional music and wellness. Over 70 students, teachers, and collaborators cycled between 1 to 2 p.m. in the two participating CEGEPs.
A total of $2,441 was raised in support of the Cycle to End the Cycle initiative and Isuarsivik. The event was very successful and emotional. Students of the Montmorency CEGEP ended the event by writing the names of those lost to suicide, followed by a moment of silence.
“We understand the importance of Isuarsivik’s mission to help healing and to strengthen the region. It was unanimous amongst all students: they had to cycle for the cause, for those in need of recovery,“ shared one of the students.
The Isuarsivik family wishes to address its more sincere thanks to both teams for initiating this project. “On behalf of my whole team, and especially our guests, thank you for your support and for giving space to the students, who don’t often have a platform to express and process all of what happens in our region. Nallina, nakurmiik from my core!”, gratefully stated Alicia Aragutak, Isuarisivik Executive Director.
On February 17, 2020, three NAV Canada employees welcomed Alicia Aragutak, Isuarsivik’s executive director, and Aputik Forrest, administration manager, in their distinctive work environment: the Kuujjuaq airport tower.
This visit was more than just a friendly gathering between NAV Canada and Isuarsivik. While they were there, Alicia Aragutak and Aputik Forrest received in person a special donation from the Flight Service Specialists team in Kuujjuaq, a contribution to the 2020 Pingngupaa Challenge.
The $2,000 donation is the result of a unique initiative of the employee of NAV Canada who, every year, raise funds for a local charity. This year, NAV Canada also donated youth hockey equipment to the communities of Nunavik.
“We are proud to contribute for the first time to Isuarsivik’s cause, which is to help Nunavimmiut heal from addictions and trauma, and access a healthier lifestyle,” stated Shawn Schliep, part of the Kuujjuaq FSS team.
“Hopefully, this initiative will have a snowball effect and will convince other companies or employees to donate this month as part of the Pingngupaa Challenge”, reiterate Schliep.
The whole Isuarsivik family would like to extend its appreciation to NAV Canada’s employees, and especially to its team based in Kuujjuaq.
Now that the access road is done, Isuarsivik is enthusiastic about the upcoming steps to break ground for the new Centre. On January 10, 2020, the team launched the public call for tenders on SEAO after several busy weeks finalizing the construction documents.
Isuarsivik is grateful of the great collaboration received from EVOQ Architecture, NCK, BPA and SNC-Lavalin to respect the deadlines and make sure to include all last minute’s adjustments.
The bids shall be opened in the week of February 17, 2020. If all goes well, the contract should be awarded this Spring, right on time to kick off the construction season starting this July with the first sealift.
On February 4th, our Executive Director, Alicia Aragutak was decorated with the Indspire Award – Inuit Youth (2020) for her outstanding achievements, life experience and community involvement. By winning this award, she became the first Inuk in Nunavik to win the Inuit Youth Category.
Originally from Umiujaq and now living in Kuujjuaq, Alicia has been engaged from an early age to ensure a better future for her fellow Inuit. She is a staunch protector of Inuit identity and history. She never misses an opportunity to advocate and speak for her fellow Inuit while having the highest respect for elders and maintaining a strong comprehension of the younger generation’s concerns.
Isuarsivik is privileged to count on the leadership of such a role model to guide the management team’s orientation, liaise diligently with the Board of Directors as well as to encourage and empower the staff.
January 2020 will remain a very significant month for Isuarsivik, but especially for its employees. Last month, four team members received keys to access their new home fully furnished by the organization. Two of them got a two-bedroom apartment and the other two a one-bedroom. All units come with a shed next door two of which were built by local construction trainees from the Sanajiit Project.
There is a lot of work behind the scenes for a community-based organization to have set out the needs for a staff house and see it to completion. But the work is not done since two additional fourplexes are confirmed from the funding agreement for the new Centre. Isuarsivik will be launching the call for tenders for the remaining eight lodging units before the end of February.
This accomplishment was made possible by our volunteer Board members, Kautaq Construction, EVOQ Architecture, Bouthillette Parizeau, NCK and SNC-Lavalin who have been great allies since the beginning in the realization of this project.
The major construction project for the new centre is to build three fourplex to lodge Isuarsivik Regional Recovery Centre employees by the end of 2020. While two building pads were prepared this summer for next year’s construction, the third fourplex is up already.
The construction of this fourplex started back in the Summer 2018 in Kuujjuaq with the preparation of the building pad. As soon as the first sealift arrived this year, Kautaq Construction began the construction of the residence. The original schedule was respected so that the fourplex is now at the stage of the interior finishing. The building should be accessible to Isuarsivik by the beginning of December 2019, ready to be furnished with appliances and furniture in the same month and available for employees in February 2020.
Alongside this fourplex four sheds will be installed to store equipment and materiel. Two of these sheds were built out of a Sanajiit carpentry workshop in partnership with Kautaq Construction, the Kativik Ilisarniliriniq and the Kativik Regional Government.
As part of the Sanajiit Project, ten apprentice workers used their new skills to build two small sheds for employees of the Isuarsivik Regional Recovery Centre (Isuarsivik). Both facilities will be installed alongside two other identical ones, next to the brand new quadruplex that will house the organization’s employees as of February 2020.
In partnership with Kautaq Construction, the Kativik Ilisarniliriniq, and the Kativik Regional Government, students participated in a Level 1—Charpentry workshop from September 17 to 27, 2019 under the guidance of Patrick Paquette. The Sanajiit Project aims to increase the number of Inuit workers in the construction industry.
Isuarsivik is proud to partner with inspirational projects that promote local employment and training of tomorrow’s workforce.
After less than three months of work, the construction of the access road is now completed. The contractor GÉLY Construction respected the proposed timeline and the workers are closing the site in the coming days. The private road will not be accessible until the construction of the new centre has started. During this time, rocks will be placed at the entrance of the new road to restrict access up to July 2020. The collaboration of all Kuujjuamiut will be required to not wander around this location because it remains a construction site environment.
Several steps were needed to build this new road including tracing the rough pavement, breaking rocks for excavation along the road, installing culverts and making drainage ditches. About 60 blasting activities were done in a well controlled environment. No incidents were reported.
Furthermore, the previous months have been busy on site not only for the construction of the access road but also of the parking lot for the new centre as well as the preparation of two building pads for the staff houses.
Our Isuarsivik team is pleased to have not experienced any delay in this first phase of a major $40.5 million project and is still strongly committed to make it a success at all levels in respect of the culture, the land, the vegetation and animals. While the aesthetic impact of the road was different than anticipated, the team has been proactive. Various strategies have been explored to mitigate and encourage regrowth of the flora at the site.
During the 2018–2019 Annual General Meeting (AGM), the Isuarsivik Regional Recovery Centre (Isuarsivik)’s members announced the appointment of three directors to represent the community. Following a public call for interest advertised in the 14 Nunavik communities, several candidates had attracted the attention of the Board members. The members of the Board were impressed by the quality of the applications and the region’s people’s interest in our cause.
Interviews were therefore held on September 16 and after further administrative procedures, the three new members were announced. Sean McDonald (Kuujjuaq), Louisa Kuananack (Puvirnituq) and Minnie Maali Snowball (Kanqiqsualujjuaq) now sit with the six members already in office.
A native of Newfoundland and a resident of Kuujjuaq from an early age, Mr. McDonald has been the manager of Kuujjuaq weather station for over 23 years. He has also held various positions as a mechanic, educator, fisherman and manager. He is motivated by Isuarsivik’s cause because “never have there been so many broken families from trauma and substance abuse in the region to a point where children are taking their lives or going to Foster care. The cycle will not end until we heal,” he stated.
Ms. Kuananack, is an Isuarsivik’s individual healing program alumni from 2011. Coordinator of the justice committee in Puvirnituq, she has been leading a healthy lifestyle since her time at our Centre. Her touching testimony during the Isuarsivik’s 2017–2018 Annual General Meeting inspired many. She is a true model of perseverance for the region and especially for her children. By sitting on Isuarsivik’s Board, she wishes to give back what she has received to those in need because she reveals perseverance, courage and faith no matter the trauma and challenges.
Ms. Snowball is proudly representing the Inuit younger generation on Isuarsivik’s Board. She is the coordinator of Qarmaapik House in her hometown. A graduate of Ulluriaq School in Kangiqsualujjuaq, she is a strong advocate of various northern issues and has represented the region at numerous meetings and events. As a former Students on Ice alumni delegate, she attended the United Nations Rio +20 Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012 and met with then Premier Jean Charest to share her impressions of the Plan Nord. She feels privileged to sit on the Isuarsivik Board because she believes that it’s fulfilling and empowering to be involved in different initiatives as much as it is to help others in need. By being engaged locally and regionally, she also wants to show by example to her children that we can together make a difference.
During the 2018–2019 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Isuarsivik Regional Recovery Centre (Isuarsivik)’s members, the Board of Directors (BOD) wished to publicly acknowledge the exceptional contribution of five Kuujjuamiut who contributed substantially to the organization’s growth over the past decade.
Isuarsivik President, Dave Forrest, accompanied by Vice-president, Mary Aitchison, and Directors, Martha Greig and Shirley White Dupuis, addressed a few words to acknowledge the contribution and special support of each of the supporters to Isuarsivik’s various projects and operations.
It is therefore with pride that Samantha David, Sammy Duncan, Alec Gordon, Sammy Koneak, and Tunu Napartuk received these honors. A personalized frame with an exterior view of the new Recovery Centre was given to them as a token of appreciation.