NNSL Photo/Graphic

Canadian North

Home page text size buttonsbigger textsmall textText size Email this articleE-mail this page

Higher Inuit presence in economy, society

Jeanne Gagnon
Northern News Services
Published Monday, March 5, 2012

To increase Inuit participation in the economy and grow the Kitikmeot Corporation at a measured pace are some goals the new head of the corporation says he would like to achieve.

David Omilgoitok started in his new position as president and chief executive officer of the Kitikmeot Corporation earlier this month, a challenge he said he decided to take as he has an interest in and knowledge of the region.

The corporation is the development arm of the Kitikmeot Inuit Association.

Omilgoitok, 53, who grew up in Cambridge Bay, said he would like to develop partnerships across the North and explore opportunities in different sectors of the economy.

"I would really like to see Inuit participate more in the economy and in society," he said.

He said he needs to look at current levels of Inuit participation in each sector before establishing benchmarks and determine what the corporation can do to support Inuit involvement. A very healthy and diverse private sector is good for everyone as it attracts investments and people to the North, said Omilgoitok.

"It's not just about Inuit. I think it's about growing the economy and growing interest," he said. "When a person has a job and has a purpose and a reason for getting up and going out the front door in the morning, they walk a little taller with their head held up high and have a sense of purpose."

As the territory grows so will the demand for the service industry, he said, adding there might also be opportunities with the new High Arctic research station, set to open in Cambridge Bay in 2017.

Omilgoitok spent 24 years working in the public sector, including as senior advisor with Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada in Cambridge Bay. He left the territorial government on July 1, 2010 as one of the longest-serving public servants - a career which included 10 years as deputy minister in various portfolios.

"It's different in the private sector. I have a very steep learning curve but I am up for the challenge," he said.

On Feb. 29, two candidates were announced for one three-year position of Cambridge Bay board member. They are Bob Aknavigak and Jeannie Evalik. Eligible voters can cast their ballot at the advance poll on March 19, or on the official vote day of March 29.

Locations for polls will be posted in Kitikmeot communities, according to a Feb. 29 press release.

E-mailWe welcome your opinions. Click here to e-mail a letter to the editor.