In the Legislative Assembly


Historical Information Silas Arngna'naaq is no longer a member of the Legislative Assembly.

Last in the Legislative Assembly September 1995, as MLA for Kivallivik

Lost his last election, in 1995, with 11% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Item 9: Replies To Opening Address June 21st, 1995

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I would like to take a few moments of my honourable colleagues' time today to speak on one of my cornerstones in life, one that I have tried to impress upon people at every opportunity over the past four years, especially those who are young aboriginal people. It appears that it will be the last opportunity in this Assembly until the fall.

This, Mr. Speaker, is education. My motto, in passing this on, has been "the key to the success of our people is education." It is a very simple motto, but it has the most significant meaning in my mind. I hope that by this statement, my colleagues will understand its meaning and will pass it on to their respective people.

I would like to break this expression into segments and go through each segment and explain.

I would like to start at the second segment, which is success. Mr. Speaker, each and every person that I have met has wanted to succeed in one form or another, whether it be to be able to receive social assistance -- which I believe must be the most degrading position to be in -- or to have a few million dollars and change. Mr. Speaker, I say this because most people believe that money is the only form of gratification by today's standards, although there are many other forms of gratification that are just as satisfying.

Succeeding means to fulfil one's dreams. How many of our young people, regardless of race, are going to be able to fulfil those dreams?

The first segment of the expression is the key. As everybody knows, a key will open a whole new world. The new world could be as simple as a new hotel room, which I am sure every Member is familiar with, to a new world, such as that experienced by our ancestors when they crossed the Bering Strait, or for those who came later, such as Eric the Red, Leif Ericsson or Christopher Columbus.

The key opens doors to wonders, to dreams or to the gates of heaven, if you are so inclined. The key has been referred to for centuries as an implement to new beginnings. All people have had to start anew to become leaders of their times. For all peoples, to start anew has meant change from their usual lifestyles.

The most recent major change occurred with the industrial age. Others just as significant have been the search for new routes to the Asian markets by the Europeans and the search for new worlds by aboriginal peoples of North and South America.

Mr. Speaker, the key means change from our present lifestyle. That change has to be made by our people. The surest and most positive way to change people's lifestyle is through education.

Mr. Speaker, there is much to say about our people, as that applies to every single person in the universe. A person identifies with a people. The group of people will apply regardless of where you go in the universe. In this case, it applies to the Inuit, who, for centuries, were self-sufficient. You are able to see a minute sample of who they are in the production through the Tiktu series of the Netsilikmuit.

Mr. Speaker, regardless of race, "our people" has the same meaning, but it has meaning to each and every one of us, because it means our family, and our family has the most significance in our lives. They are the ones that have the most influence in our lives.

Education, Mr. Speaker, has the broadest meaning in this matter. It is the final of the segments; however, it also has the most to offer in our lives.

The dictionary defines the word "education" as, "to provide schooling for, or, to develop mentally or morally, especially by instruction". When defined by the dictionary, education is very limited. However, as we all know, education means training; or, for that matter, experience is a form of education. When one is willing to gain knowledge, that is education.

We see life today as a comfortable way of subsistence, but the underlying fact is that it is much more stressful for aboriginal peoples because they did not grow up with this lifestyle. We can break this facade which displays a comfortable lifestyle through education.

Education will multiply the efforts of people who are trying to improve the life of their people.

Mr. Speaker, sometimes words have to be harsh for people to see what is meant by those words. Ten years ago, as chairman of the education society in Baker Lake, I put these words together, and Mr. Speaker, the paper is now brown as it has now been 10 years. It says, "Why are there so many Inuit unemployed today? This is a question that I have often asked myself. The answer I always come up with is that there aren't enough of them who are educated enough to work in the positions that are available. Where is their work? What jobs are available? All the government positions with MOT, RCMP, nurses, carpenters, managers, bookkeepers, teachers, just to name a few, are available in all communities: Baker Lake; Rankin inlet; Iqaluit; Inuvik, et cetera. Who runs the NWT right now? The government runs the NWT right now. Who is the government? People from the south who are brought up here at great expense to work and educate the Inuit. What I am trying to say is there are jobs around that your children could be doing five to 10 years for now, but first they need education.

You may have heard that years ago, around the 1960s, if your children had a grade 12 education, they would be able to get a job anywhere at any time. When you were told that, it was true then, but it isn't true anymore. Today, a person requires a grade 12 and more to get a good job. That is why not many Inuit are working; they don't have the education. You should be making sure your child is going to school and getting the proper education. They may not want to go to school today, maybe because one or several other students are teasing them or they don't like their teacher. I think you should be saying tough, you are going to school today. Don't say to them that they don't have to go to school if they don't want to and this is because you love them. If your child does not finish his or her education today, they will end up exactly the way you are. Maybe in a worse position than you are. Imagine what your favourite child will be going through when you are gone. Will he or she be able to get a good job? Will he or she be happy waking up every morning with no food or no money? What about his or her children? Will they be waking up in the morning to go to school after having a big breakfast? Will they be waking up to go to school at all? These will be your grandchildren.

I was told once that Inuit used to get up with the sun and go to sleep with the sun. What happened to that? Why aren't your children getting up in the morning? Is what they are doing at night going to get them a job after your gone? What happened to all your parents taught you, to teach your children the proper ways? Did your parents teach you to stay up at night? Did your parents teach you to sleep in the morning? If you really love your children, then you should be teaching them what will be good for them after your gone. If you don't, who will?

In the next five or ten years, who will be working; your children or more people from the south? What will your children be saying about all the people who come from the south and get all the jobs? When the Inuit lived on the land, they had to learn from their elders how to hunt, trap and live on the land. They had to work hard to live. Today we live in a society where teaching is done for us. Their minds are being moulded for us. You should be helping them to teach your children. Bring your children to school tomorrow and have them run our country in 25 years. There are a lot of opportunities out there, but you have to work to get them. Don't expect someone else to do it for you, you will never get anywhere that way.

Mr. Speaker, that was 10 years ago. I think that statement would still apply to this day. Mr. Speaker, after I made that statement, some people took note and do have children who are now very productive in the community. I spoke in the House, at one point, that the problems in our education system do not completely lie with our system; parts lie with the parents, many of whom are aboriginal and do not understand the western style of education. The statement was an attempt to put a focus on the system for those people.

My hope, by making this statement, is that you will take the intent of the statement and pass it on to our young aboriginal people. Mr. Speaker, the key to the success of our people is education. Thank you.


Item 4: Returns To Oral Questions June 21st, 1995

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I have a return to an oral question asked by Mrs. Marie-Jewell on June 21, 1995, regarding the date employees were hired to replace dismissed Bird Dog officers.

Mr. Speaker, only one employee has been hired to replace the dismissed air attack officer and assistant manager of air operations. Mr. Ernie Campeau was hired as a casual air attack officer from June 19, 1995 to August 25, 1995. Mr. Campeau recently retired from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources where he was a regional air coordinator. He has been involved in air attack activities since the 1970s and has also prepared Ontario's air attack manual.

Over the years, he has bird dogged many different tanker types including CL-215s, heavy land-based, Cansos, Avengers and others. Mr. Campeau comes highly recommended by the Ontario government because of his extensive experience. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 669-12(7): Allocation Of Community Freezer For Arctic Bay June 20th, 1995

(Translation) Thank you, Mr. Speaker. The Arctic Bay community freezer was one of the freezers inspected during the annual inspection. They figured out which communities needed new freezers and reported on what needs to be repaired and what needs to be done in each of the communities. This report will be ready next month and will be taken to Cabinet for consideration. At the meeting of FMBS, these things will be considered. I'm quite confident that Arctic Bay will be considered to the best of their benefit. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 666-12(7): Dall Sheep Survey In Nahendeh June 20th, 1995

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I believe the study is being done on how to better manage the quotas that are allotted for big game hunters. The study should be completed and the report should be forthcoming. At this point, I am not sure where it is at. I believe it is at the stage where the researcher will be providing a report to the department. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 666-12(7): Dall Sheep Survey In Nahendeh June 20th, 1995

Mr. Speaker, the research being done was with regard to the way in which outfitters are operating in the various zones, and not necessarily to count caribou, but to come up with a report on the situation of each of the zones with respect to caribou outfitting. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 666-12(7): Dall Sheep Survey In Nahendeh June 20th, 1995

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. No, it was not specifically to do with Dall Sheep. It was regarding caribou, I believe. I don't know whether that was extended to Dall Sheep. However, as a Renewable Resources department, one that believes in conservation and sustainable development, I think it is warranted that something should be done. There should be discussions with the outfitters; not just with the outfitters, but with the people in the area around Fort Simpson. Thank you.

Question 666-12(7): Dall Sheep Survey In Nahendeh June 20th, 1995

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I know that the Department of Renewable Resources has hired a consultant who was to be working on the various guidelines set out for the outfitters in the different zones in the western Arctic, but I don't know specifically whether there is work being done at the present time on Dall Sheep in the Mackenzie Mountains. However, with respect to caribou and animals that are hunted by big game hunters using outfitters, there is a study being done.

I also understand that there was a meeting recently in the town of Fort Simpson with regard to the sheep, but I do not have the results of that meeting. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 664-12(7): Date Employees Hired To Replace Dismissed Bird Dog Officers June 20th, 1995

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I'll take that question as notice.

Question 656-12(7): Monitoring Fishing Activity At Trout Lake June 18th, 1995

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I think we received requests from all regions in the Northwest Territories, where there is either a lot of fishing or hunting activity, especially on the part of sport hunters and sport fishermen. Certainly, I would be willing to consider the requests being made, but I would have to look at them in the context of what resources are available and where the work is most required. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Question 656-12(7): Monitoring Fishing Activity At Trout Lake June 18th, 1995

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I know the department has regulations about how many fish can be taken out of the Northwest Territories by sport fishermen. I also realize that to try to enforce a regulation which is not applied directly in the communities is very difficult to monitor. I believe renewable resource officers are out to as many camps as they possibly can be throughout the fishing season, and they are trying to enforce these regulations. That is a general policy followed across the Northwest Territories by our officers. Now, with respect to the particular area the honourable Member is asking about, I will have to check that out. Thank you.