Dene leader remembers Jose Kusugak
Friday, January 21, 2011 - 5:44 PM
Yellowknife, N.W.T. - The North is mourning the passing of an Inuit leader this week.
Jose Kusugak was an advocate for Inuit autonomy and rights, and many here in the NWT, including the Dene, were also touched by his spirit.
The Chief of the Dene Nation, Bill Erasmus, remembers working with Kusugak on the 2005 Kelowna Accord, during which he was the delegate for the Inuit people.
"We had the opportunity to share ideas and views and collaborate on the issues, for example, a part of the agreement was to provide assistance to Northern people on housing and that was a big area that Jose brought out because of the need for housing in the North," he said.
Part of the comprehensive $5 billion dollar Kelowna Accord was to improve housing for First Nations and Inuit—the Accord was axed by the Harper government in 2006.
In the 1990s, Kusugak played a pivotal role in creating Nunavut, and served as president of the Inuit land claim organization, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.
At 60 years old, he died Tuesday night of cancer.
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