After a 20-year hiatus, the Kivalliq Inuit Association (KIA) is bringing back its regional youth council.

“The reason we want to initiate a youth council again is to have input from the communities on what kind of programs they want to see and input from the youth directly,” said Christine Tootoo, youth co-ordinator with KIA.

The organization is seeking two members to represent each of the communities in the Kivalliq region.

KIA is looking to leverage the youth council to not only get feedback about programs to run, but help form connections to turn ideas into reality.

“The people in the communities know their communities the best,” said Tootoo.

So if the council thinks a sewing program in one community would be best, the representatives from that community can use their on-the-ground knowledge to find the best teachers and reliable contacts to facilitate it.

Tootoo explained that there may be many knowledgeable people in the communities KIA doesn’t know about because they don’t always apply for jobs, but youth living in the communities would know who they are.

Connecting youth and knowledge keepers across the Kivalliq will build capacity, said Tootoo. She would like to see youth trained to eventually run workshops and programs related to the needs they identify themselves.

“I want to empower them and make them feel like they have the knowledge and the skills to provide those kinds of programs in their own communities by themselves,” said Tootoo.

Though KIA hasn’t run a youth council in several years, Tootoo knows a bit about them, as she is currently vice-president of the National Inuit Youth Council.

“It’s good for connections and building communication between communities,” said Tootoo, as well as forming relationships.

At the same time, KIA is seeking adult men and women from each community to form a regional council. This council would have elder representation and work in conjunction with the youth council, increasing the connections and relationship-building across the region.

If you or anyone you know would be interested in representing your region on either of these councils KIA is forming, the deadline to apply is Dec. 3. For more information and to apply, visit www.kivalliqinuit.ca.

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