January 29, 2013 – Toronto, Ontario – National Inuit Leader Terry Audla, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), released a compendium of Inuit ideas and attitudes towards Arctic security and sovereignty today during the Munk-Gordon Arctic Security Program’s third annual conference, “Arctic Peoples and Security.”
Nilliajut (to speak up, speak out) is the title of a film and companion text produced by Inuit Qaujisarvingat: The Inuit Knowledge Centre (IQ) in collaboration with the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation and the Canada Center for Global Security Studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto.
The project explores the multifaceted views of security, patriotism and sovereignty in the Arctic through the eyes of established and emerging Inuit leaders and thinkers, including Pujjuut Kusugak of Rankin Inlet, Myrna Pokiak of Tuktoyaktuk, and Rosemarie Kuptana of Sachs Harbour, who participated in a panel discussion during the conference.
“Inuit have played our part in asserting the sovereign rights of Canada in the Arctic,” said Audla, who appears in the film and contributed a manuscript to the collection of papers. “These rights are founded on the bedrock of Inuit use and occupation of Arctic lands and waters.”
Yet Inuit are at or near the bottom of a great number of indicators of core socio-economic well being, resulting in significant insecurities – such as uncertain access to nutritious food, susceptibility to disease and limited assistance for those who suffer mental illness or addiction.
“Climate change at a rate and of an intensity that appears unprecedented, and well outside Inuit cultural memory, creates insecurities of an entirely new nature,” added Audla, “generating concerns about the sustainability of large aspects of our inherited and acquired patterns of life, and our very sense of who we are as Inuit.”
The video Nilliajut: Inuit Voices on Security, and edited volume Nilliajut: Inuit Perspectives on Security, Patriotism and Sovereignty are available at www.inuitknowledge.ca