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Inuvialuit Regional Corporation takes family law on tour to inform Beaufort Delta residents

Zoila Castillo, the training specialist for Maligaksat, has been leading a tour to inform Inuvialuit families in the Beaufort Delta about the IRC's family law. (Dez Loreen/CBC - image credit)
Zoila Castillo, the training specialist for Maligaksat, has been leading a tour to inform Inuvialuit families in the Beaufort Delta about the IRC's family law. (Dez Loreen/CBC - image credit)

Staff from the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC) have been travelling across the N.W.T.'s Beaufort Delta region to answer questions and present their work to the communities.

The tour has been to Paulatuk and Sachs Harbour so far. The IRC is letting people know about the Inuvialuit Family Way of Living Law and what services are offered to families who need legal assistance or help navigating the foster care system.

Signed in 2021, the law — also called Inuvialuit Qitunrariit Inuuniarnikkun Maligaksat — helps support Inuvialuit youth who are in the care of Child and Family Services, in ways that can help them stay in their home communities instead of being shipped off elsewhere in Canada.

Maligaksat is a word made from all three of the Inuvialuktun language dialects.

Zoila Castillo is the training specialist for Maligaksat who led the tour. She has been working with the team since November 2022. She held information sessions to answer questions.

"So there was a lot of questions, a lot of information gathering. They want to know what are we and how can we help support them and I have been explaining that we are a new program, we are building our capacity right now but we have the potential for so much growth and that is only going to benefit people as we move forward," said Castillo.

Castillo plans to visit Tuktoyaktuk this month to visit with families there. Their visit was postponed out of respect for a death in the community.

Castillo said her job is to help Inuvialuit families navigate the foster care system and to help children in foster care across Canada.

"We're here to promote best interests for Inuvialuit children and families in a culturally appropriate lens while also doing it through kind of an anti-oppressive practice," said Castillo.

"We want to ensure the language being used is appropriate. We want to ensure that Inuvialuit understand what is happening so they can make an informed decision for themselves."

She said the department offers advocacy services and support services like writing letters or attending meetings with service users.

"I really want and encourage everyone that if they feel that they could benefit, please call us. Our number and information is on the IRC website. Even if it's hypotheticals, they just want to ask a question, that is what we are here for," she said.

Castillo said she hopes the visits to the communities will leave the residents feeling more comfortable with the new law and programming services offered by the Inuvialuit.

"I think the communities were really receptive and open to hearing about our services. This was our first time really actively promoting up in the north talking about what we can do," said Castillo.