The NIHC will provide many and diverse benefits to Nunavut Inuit and to all Nunavummiut. These benefits align with the four pillars of sustainable development: social, economic, environmental, and cultural. 1 The 1987 United Nations’ Bruntland Commission described sustainable development as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” 2 Bruntland included only three pillars: social, economic, and environmental. In 2010, the United Cities and Local Governments added culture as a fourth pilar of sustainability with their Policy Statement “Culture is the Fourth Pillar of Sustainable Development.” 3 The NIHC will also help to address the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

1 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Retrieved from: United Nations
2 Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future. 1987. np. Retrieved from: United Nations
3  Culture: Fourth Pillar of Sustainable Development

Social Sustainability

Collaborate with QIA and the City of Iqaluit to coordinate subdivision development including road construction and utilities to allow access to the proposed site and future housing
Create a beautiful iconic building that will become a part of Iqaluit and Nunavut’s identity
Promote the use of Inuit languages through collections, research (including oral histories with Elders and other knowledge holders), exhibitions, and programs
Collaborate with organizations in Iqaluit and throughout Nunavut to address social issues by connecting with tangible and intangible heritage
Develop social programs that promote literacy, mental wellness, restorative justice, and accessibility, and support those living with multi-generational trauma and dementia, for example
Foster Inuit pride

Economic Sustainability

NTI and QIA have each committed $5M to the project; IHT is consulting with KitIA and KivIA to secure their commitment; NTI provided $500,000 in 2021 and has committed an additional $5.2M through the federal Indigenous Community Infrastructure Fund (ICIF)
Create construction jobs that will build capacity in the region
Hire more than 15 FTEs, in addition to current IHT and CH staff, to operate the facility once it is open to the public
Provide professional development and training for Nunavut Inuit to ensure heritage workers become qualified professionals who can not only care for collections but interpret them in ways that southern counterparts cannot
Hire Elders and other traditional knowledge holders on a part-time basis to provide knowledge and expertise in exhibitions and programs
Support artists, craftspeople, hunters, and fishermen throughout Nunavut through programming and by carrying local goods in the café and shop
Become a significant tourism attraction that will encourage visitors to lengthen their stay in Iqaluit

Environmental Sustainability

Demonstrate commitment to green construction and operations
Contribute to climate change resilience through exhibitions and programs about the relationship between Inuit and the land, the environment, traditional knowledge and sustainable hunting and fishing practices, for example
Increase Canadians’ awareness of climate change in Nunavut

Cultural Sustainability

Support cultural revitalization and nation building for Nunavut Inuit
Promote greater awareness of Inuit culture, cultural healing and reconciliation between Inuit and non-Inuit
Allow for the consolidation, return, and further development of the Nunavut Collection which is currently divided between Parks Canada (PCA), the Canadian Museum of Nature (CMN), and the Winnipeg Art Gallery (WAG), and storage in Iqaluit, and inaccessible to Nunavut Inuit
Allow for the repatriation of cultural belongings and ancestral remains from institutions and individuals throughout Canada and the world
Allow the examination of traditional designs and techniques used in the creation of cultural belongings and inspire artists and craftspeople to emulate and/or create original works 
Create opportunities for collaboration with local, regional, national, and international museums

IHT Director of Planning Catherine C. Cole, discussed the NIHC within the context of an International Council of Museums (ICOM) webinar on “Museums, Sustainable Cities and Communities” in September 2021. While planning towards the NIHC has advanced – for example, we now intend to build as one building, not two – many ideas remain current. Catherine’s talk begins at 35:38.