April 28, 2020 – Kuujjuaq, Nunavik – Makivvik announces it finally received the $11.25-million from the Government of Canada yesterday. These funds are related to the Indigenous Community Support Fund for the Inuit of Nunavik. On March 25, 2020, the federal government announced $45-million to assist Inuit communities with the coronavirus pandemic. The following week it was determined that Nunavik would receive $11.25-million from that amount, and the funds would go to Makivvik for distribution to the Nunavik region.
“It has taken well over a month for us to receive these funds during a time of extreme stress and anxiety for the Inuit of Nunavik,” said Makivvik President Charlie Watt. “During this time we have received many urgent letters and requests from Inuit in the communities. Meanwhile, we have been working long and hard to ensure the funds reach us, and I am pleased that the $11.25-million has finally arrived, and that we will do everything we can to ensure it reaches the communities rapidly, although we know the funding will not be enough, especially if a second wave of the virus hits us.”
Following a Makivvik Board of Directors teleconference held April 24th, Makivvik has determined how the funds will be distributed. Each Nunavik community will receive a base amount of $50,000, and an additional amount, based on the number of total Inuit beneficiaries. Together these amounts total $9.25-million for the 15 communities, the funds will be used to meet the needs of the communities and will not be distributed directly to individuals.
Of the remaining funds, $1.5-million will be distributed between Kativik Ilisarniliriniq (KI), Urban Inuit in Montreal, and Makivvik. Each will receive $500,000. Makivvik will also hold back an additional $500,000, which will be used to address unforeseen needs from the Northern Villages that arise in the upcoming months. Makivvik will not be taking any administrative fees, to ensure that the maximum amount of funding is provided to the communities where they are needed.
Makivvik has received numerous requests from the communities covering a range of items and activities related to the effects of the coronavirus. The requests fall well within the five themes eligible for funding under the Indigenous Community Support Fund. The themes are: Support for elders and vulnerable community members; measures to address food insecurity; educational and other support for children; mental health assistance and emergency response services; and preparedness measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The distribution to the 15 Nunavik communities is as follows:
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Makivvik is the land claims organization mandated to manage the heritage funds of the Inuit of Nunavik provided for under the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement. Makivvik’s role includes the administration and investment of these funds and the promotion of economic growth by providing assistance for the creation of Inuit-operated businesses in Nunavik. Makivvik promotes the preservation of Inuit culture and language as well as the health, welfare, relief of poverty, and education of Inuit in the communities.