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  • Stacey

Inuit Success

The Inuit people are often a forgotten community of so-called Canada. We see their voices silenced by those on the left during their traditional subsistence practise of hunting seal and silenced by the right when they ask for their rights as original peoples on their land. With all of that stacked against these resilient peoples, they have still shown a warrior presence on this land.

The Inuit have endured the attempted genocide through small pox, residential school, forced relocation, the 60s scoop, inequitable health care, etc like all Indigenous people of this land; however, much like the Métis, they were not considered “status Indian” under the federal government. What this meant, is that although the federal government had control over all aspects of their life, they had no responsibility.

A young Inuk man, Kiviaq, living in Edmonton, became the first Inuk lawyer. His first success was appealing to have his traditional single word name legalized (which he won). He proceeded to sue the federal government for his people to receive equal compensation to that of status "Indians." Unfortunately, this case was not resolved in the courts before his death in 2001.

Perhaps one of the most significant successes, was the recognition of Nunavut. In 1993, it was one of the largest land claim treaties in so-called "Canada." In 1999, it was put into place. The NWT was split into two and Nunavit became the largest province or territory on this occupied land. This did not just mean that this territory was governed by primarily Inuit people, but it included the beginning of traditional ways to become embedded within the systems. For example, all provincial government institutions must include how they incorporate, Qaujimajatuqangit, the Inuit way of being in the world. Although, there is still a long way to go to see true equity and sovereignty, this is a start.

We as Indigenous peoples of turtle island continue to fight the ongoing genocide, we must not forget to include and elevate our Inuit brothers and sisters voices.

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