by Harry Maksagak
Interest groups and organizations are formed because someone or a group expressed concern and took the steps to assist in improvements. This covers a wide spectrum and I hope I can shed some light around this idea.
In every community across Nunavut, there was a time when the federal government began to assert its authority and sense of responsibility known as sovereignty, and looked north.
They introduced to the sparse population that they needed to organize and select a group who showed their attributes in leadership, and to form councils and forums in the best interest of the community. This thought-of organizing implied services and programs that would have the community move forward in positive steps in family services, recreation, infrastructure and many other types of community development.
This idea or concept was already practiced in earnest in the early years of our parents and grandparents as they traversed the land in their trapping, fishing and harvesting. They were aware of the condition of the small group and in serving and providing for, everyone concerned was attended to.
As the years rolled by, this kind of awareness took on a more southern or western type approach, as they refer to it today, and made it more complicated. You need to elect a chairman, board members. This board has to be broken down to an executive and in this executive setting we need a finance person, a human resource person, a director, a superintendent and all of a sudden you have ‘more chiefs than Indians’ and things really become complex and hard to deal with. All this because a foreign body said we had to organize.
Today we have the hamlet council who’s responsible for our municipal requirements, such as road maintenance, water, sewage and garbage delivery, by-law enforcement, recreation, sports complex and land use or land inquiries by interested parties, to name a few.
So, although the need to organize is crucial for community growth, we need to ensure that the group or organization is not distracted by internal conflicts or personal gain by the members given the responsibility in community governance. This is a tall order and the best interest of the community members makes for positive growth and expansion.