In the lively restaurant of the Kuujjuaq Inn, Hilda shares her life story. Born in Kangiqsualujjuaq, Nunavik, she is very close to her home community and holds public responsibilities since her twenties.
Born in February 1987 in the especially picturesque community known for sport fishing and caribou hunting, the youngest of eight children grew up with her grandparents. Having completed high school in Kangiqsualujjuaq, she began post-secondary education in Kangiqsujuaq. While she demonstrates a sustained social commitment to citizens of all ages, she says: "staying connected to the land is my priority." A fishing enthusiast, she is familiar with the techniques of capturing Nunavik species such as Arctic char and trout species. Now a mother of two children aged 12 and 15, Hilda entered the workforce in 2005 as an educator at the childcare center. The awakening of a career in public organizations emerged in the winter of 2012 while she worked as a liaison wellness worker.
Due to the many needs of isolated communities, the challenges have proven many. We are talking about prevention and control of alcohol and drug addictions, sexually transmitted diseases and finally the fight against a tuberculosis (TB) outbreak. Hilda also has also worked with the medical authorities to implement a plan to combat TB. She was then noticed for her efficiency and her sense of commitment. The young woman was offered the position of mayor of the northern village of Kangiqsualujjuaq and was elected in November 2012. This desire to improve democratic life was already present in her family. Her father had been elected to the council of his Northern Village!
Participating in a workshop for Nunavik leaders triggered her desire to join the public services. "I felt I could play a central role in the well-being of my community. Faced with the overwhelming number of children and adolescents, displaced from the community of 900 souls to foster families, colleagues and I set up an aid program by providing support to parents to take their responsibilities and, of course, fight poverty. Children have rights. Inuit in my community, resilient by nature, have the capacity to take care of their children." Teamwork is the key to success, but above all, she says, "to be mayor of a small community is to provide support to the population and assist them when needed.”
Her experience as mayor from 2012 to 2018 was a springboard for a governance position at the Kativik Regional Government (KRG). Elected to the KRG's executive members in November 2018, the new Vice-President was to draw on the lessons learned: community mobilization, health and wellness organization, and strategic links with outside organizations.
The governance challenge is daunting for Nunavik's young population of more than 13,000 people. With a convinced attitude, Hilda presents to me her vision of tomorrow's plans for Nunavik… "The implementation of our policies requires the presence of qualified and adequately trained personnel, whether it is a worker job or a managerial position. The provision of training programs for young people and the qualification for social service positions are also essential. Access to property and investment in social housing have an impact on the quality of life ».
"Maintaining Inuit identity is closely associated with mastery of the Inuit language and culture. To this end, we must also influence our partners in Québec and Canada so that our culture and the issues of Nunavik are taken into account in legislation." The values of respect, tolerance, listening to the teachings of elders, the sense of commitment and exemplariness, guide her daily life. To young people she says: "focus on education; seize the opportunities available to you; think about your health and see your work as self-fulfillment."