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Inuit Mourn the Loss of ITK Founding Member Jacob Oweetaluktuk

Statement: November 04, 2013

Monday November 4, 2013 – Ottawa, Ontario – National Inuit Leader Terry Audla, President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) offered condolences to the extended family of Mr. Jacob Oweetaluktuk of Inukjuak, who passed away last Thursday at the age of 76.

Mr. Oweetaluktuk was one of the founding members of Inuit Tapirisat of Canada (now ITK), and spoke of the need for an “organized voice” among Inuit during the group’s first gathering in 1971.

“We have to find an organized voice amongst ourselves so we may direct our lives the way we want them to be,” he said. “Maybe we should have something like an Inuit organization. Right now is the time to act so we may control ourselves in the kind of life we would like to have in the future. It is for these main reasons I think we are here at this very moment."

He was a key figure during ITK’s 40th anniversary conference in November 2011, and participated in a panel discussion with other founding members, including Tagak Curley and Meeka Kilabuk.

“Jacob Oweetaluktuk was an inspiration to Inuit as a young man, and as an elder, he showed us the way forward as we looked to chart the next 40 years of ITK” said Audla. “His words guided me during my life, and they live on in the work of our organization.

“I am grateful for his wisdom and his foresight so many years ago to stand up for our culture. My thoughts are with his children Nooma, Harry and Helen, his extended family, all Nunavimmiut and Inuit across our four regions during this difficult time.”

Visit to listen to Jacob Oweetaluktuk speak during the Founders Forum of ITK's 40th anniversary conference, From Eskimo to Inuit in 40 Years.