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NTI gives details on $2.5 million in Covid aid for Inuit living outside of Nunavut

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Aluki Kotierk: "As Inuit of course we speak Inuktut among ourselves (at the office). How do we actually get to a point where we can achieve Inuktut as the working language of the public service?"

Land claims organization Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated announced Monday $2.5 million in funding to assist Inuit living outside of Nunavut who are trying to meet shelter and food security needs during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated is striving to aid the most vulnerable Nunavut Inuit living outside the territory, says NTI President Aluki Kotierk.
NNSL file photo

“Coronavirus is hardest on those people with weakened immune systems. We want to support the most vulnerable Nunavut Inuit, living outside of Nunavut, to help meet their most basic needs,” Aluki Kotierk, president of NTI, stated in a news release.

Shelters in urban centres will split $1 million to help them "adapt to health protocols, support physical distancing and purchase personal protective equipment for staff or clients," the news release indicated.

Another $1 million will go toward food to be delivered by urban organizations serving Nunavut Inuit, as well as to purchase personal protective equipment for staff.

The overall funding will also include money for the harvesting of country food in Nunavut that will be shipped and distributed to organizations for Nunavut Inuit in Ottawa, Winnipeg, Yellowknife, Edmonton and Montreal.

“Country food is nutritionally high quality food and is often the preferred food for Inuit. Given the stress of coronavirus, Inuit outside of the Nunavut Settlement Area have also shared with us that country food is important for mental health,” said James Eetoolook, vice-president of NTI.

There are approximately 5,014 Inuit residing outside of Nunavut, according to NTI's enrollment list.

The money is coming from the federal Indigenous Community Support Fund, from which NTI received $22.5 million in March.