Kivalliq Inuit Association dismisses petition to remove president

The Kivalliq Inuit Association’s board of directors has dismissed a petition to remove Kono Tattuinee as president of the organization.

“The petition provided no evidence, and KIA does not otherwise have any evidence, that suggests the president of KIA acted disloyal and in a manner that did not reflect the objectives of KIA,” stated the organization in a news release issued Oct. 31.

The Kangiqliniq Hunters and Trappers Organization (KHTO) started the petition in early October after expressing concern with comments Tattuinee made at the Draft Nunavut Land Use Plan meeting in Rankin Inlet.

During the meeting, Tattuinee discussed the potential circumstances under which industrial development in caribou calving grounds could take place, saying “the Kivalliq Inuit Association would only consider supporting development of a mine in a calving ground under very specific conditions,” including no activity during pre-calving, calving or post-calving periods, as well as operations being shut down entirely from mid-May to mid-July.

From the KHTO’s perspective, that statement “dismissed the demand by the Inuit of the Kivalliq region to protect the caribou populations, thereby threatening the remaining food security, traditions and culture of Inuit against the membership’s demand and direction.”

But in KIA’s opinion, Tattuinee’s statement at the land use plan meeting “reflects a hypothetical response to a future hypothetical request in respect of development, and exemplifies KIA’s desire to balance the interests of all members through consultation.”

The hunters and trappers listed two other concerns in their formal petition to remove Tattuinee, accusing him of violating a KIA bylaw during the organization’s board meeting Oct. 5 and omitting a motion from the KHTO at the annual general meeting Oct. 6.

“We’re not going to be pushed aside by anybody,” said Harry Ittinuar, interim chair of the KHTO, at the time. “We are going to stand our ground. It’s Inuit-owned land we’re fighting for. It’s our caribou herds we’re fighting for.”

KIA’s board recently gathered to discuss the petition with Tattuinee not involved to avoid a conflict of interest.

The board determined the petition not to be valid “as it failed to meet the basic formal requirements.”

“The petition incorrectly alleged that voting members are entitled to vote at meetings of the board of directors, when in fact voting members are only allowed to vote at the annual general meeting or at a special meeting of the members,” states the news release, countering the KHTO’s second point in its petition.

Addressing the last point about Tattuinee omitting a motion from the KHTO at the annual general meeting, KIA stated that a member had made a statement regarding the Agnico Eagle Mine’s gold mining operation north of Rankin Inlet.

“The member expressed his desire that the project be cancelled indefinitely,” stated KIA. “While it is acknowledged that the matters raised were important, they were too large to be addressed at the time and in manner requested. Based on the above, the facts do not suggest, or support any claim, that President Kono Tattuinee’s actions or statements at the KIA AGM have met any of the grounds for removal.”

The release ends by stating KIA’s board and president look forward to continuing their important work with HTOs and Inuit beneficiaries.

“No further comment will be made at this time,” states KIA.

Ittinuar said the KHTO is aware of KIA’s response but he has no comment until the board meets. The original petition ended by saying that if KIA denied the petition, the KHTO would then petition Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. to revoke the designation of KIA itself.

Stewart Burnett, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kivalliq News