Duane Smith has been re-elected for a second three-year term as the chair and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC).
Following Tuesday’s vote, Smith said that he wants to continue to make Inuvialuit feel more proud of who they are.
“We need to make sure our kids have self-identity and are proud of themselves growing up so that they’re proud Inuvialuit, because they’re going to represent us in the future,” he said.
For the next couple of days, Smith said that the task is to work with the IRC’s board of directors to draw up the next strategic plan.
“It will be my mandate to implement what they put together for the next three years,” he said.
Smith said that he has a number of initiatives that he will continue to work on, such as the housing funding program with the federal government.
“We’ve been working with the other Inuit organizations in regards to Indigenous children and care legislation, as well as national Indigenous language legislation,” he said. “Again, we’re working on a long-term post education program for Inuit across Canada with the federal government.”
Smith said that he was relieved to have been re-elected, adding that he was initially feeling tense and stressed.
“It feels very good. It shows that the directors have given me the confidence, support and trust with what I’ve been doing, along with the board over the last few years,” he said. “They’ve given us that faith to continue to implement those initiatives.”
In terms of what people can expect in his second term as chair, Smith said he hopes that it’s consistency.
“I would hope they expect stability and growth, as well as enhancing what we’ve been doing over the last three years,” he said.
The 2019 IRC Chair Election took place at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, January 29th in Inuvik, at the Midnight Sun Complex. The election, as well as Monday’s all candidate forum, was live streamed on Facebook for the public to view.
Smith was running against six other candidates for the position: Richard McLeod of Inuvik, Kurt Wainman of Inuvik, Randal Pokiak of Tuktoyaktuk, Mervin Gruben of Tuktoyaktuk, Wayne Gordon of Aklavik and Kenneth Ruben of Paulatuk.
The 42 directors of the community corporations of Aklavik, Inuvik, Paulatuk, Sachs Harbour, Tuktoyaktuk, and Ulukhaktok were entitled to vote.