March 22, 2018, Ottawa, ON
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) is pleased to release the National Inuit Strategy on Research (NISR), a pivotal document that outlines the coordinated actions required to improve the way Inuit Nunangat research is governed, resourced, conducted, and shared.
The document promotes a shared understanding of the legacy of Inuit Nunangat research and connects this legacy to current research practices, defines Inuit expectations for the role of research in our regions and communities, and identifies areas for participation and action between Inuit and the research community.
For far too long, researchers and research institutions have tended to be the primary beneficiaries of Inuit Nunangat research, despite the present and ongoing need for Inuit-specific data and information that can be used to shape solutions to our most pressing challenges. Furthermore, Inuit Nunangat research is too often governed, resourced, and carried out in a manner that limits Inuit participation, marginalizing Inuit from the benefits of research.
The National Inuit Strategy on Research seeks to remedy these problems. It identifies five priority areas in which coordinated action is necessary to facilitate Inuit Nunangat research that is effective, impactful, and meaningful to Inuit.
The objectives identified within each priority area are intended to be achieved between 2018-2022 through shared short-, medium-, and long-term actions undertaken by Inuit, governments, and research institutions.
ITK, as the national representative organization for Inuit, was tasked with developing the National Inuit Strategy on Research through the ITK 2016-2019 Strategy and Action Plan. The NISR was developed in coordination with the Inuit Qaujusarvingat National Committee made up of representatives of each of the voting and non-voting members of ITK’s Board of Directors.
- Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) is the national representative organization for Inuit, representing 65,000 Inuit across Canada.
- 73% of Inuit live in the 51 communities in Inuit Nunangat
- Inuit Nunangat makes up about one third (1/3) of Canada’s landmass and fifty percent (50%) of Canada’s coastline
- Inuit Nunangat is made up of the four Inuit regions, Inuvialuit Settlement Region, Nunavut, Nunavik, and Nunatsiavut
- ITK’s Board of Directors is made up of the elected Leaders of the four Inuit regions as voting members. On ITK’s board are also three no-voting members: the President of the Inuit Circumpolar Council Canada, the President of the National Inuit Youth Council, and the President of Pauktuutit, Inuit Women of Canada.
- The voting members on ITK’s Board, along with two additional delegates from each region chose the ITK President.
- Inuit means people
- Inuk means person
- Inuit Nunangat means Inuit homeland and, in this context, includes land, water and sea/ocean
- Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami means Inuit are united in Canada
“Inuit recognize the important role research can play in informing actions that create safer, healthier, and more resilient communities. We have long insisted that researchers and research institutions respect Inuit self-determination in research through partnerships that enhance the effectiveness, impact, and usefulness of research for our communities. The National Inuit Strategy on Research identifies the specific actions and partnerships required to achieve this goal.”Natan ObedPresident of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, National Inuit Leader
“The Government of Canada is committed to working in partnership with ITK, Inuit communities, and researchers to strengthen the impact and effectiveness of Indigenous knowledge, Arctic science, and evidence-based decision making for strong Arctic communities. We welcome ITK’s National Inuit Strategy on Research and look forward to reviewing the recommendations. We will continue to engage in an open and collaborative way as we work towards achieving greater Inuit self-determination.”The Honourable Carolyn BennettMinister of Crown Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs
“The Government of Canada recognizes that Inuit are best placed to determine their own relationship with researchers within their regions and communities. As a result, Canada is supporting this path towards Inuit self-determination by providing $82 million over 10 years, with $6 million per year ongoing, for the creation of a permanent Inuit Health Survey, which will build capacity in Inuit communities to develop and collect survey information.”The Honourable Jane PhilpottMinister of Indigenous Services Canada
“I look forward to working together with Inuit to promote better collaboration between researchers and Indigenous people, and to support the sharing of knowledge that will improve people’s lives.”Dr. Mona NemerChief Science Advisor of Canada
“Canada’s universities are committed to working in partnership with ITK and others to improve the health and wellbeing of Inuit through advancements in higher education, research and innovation. We were pleased to stand with ITK in 2011, when it released its education strategy, and today’s release of ITK’s Research Plan is another important step forward in achieving its vision.”Paul DavidsonPresident of Universities Canada
“We are delighted to receive the National Inuit Strategy on Research and look forward to implement its guidance in our programs. We are also excited to be partners in the historic opportunity to shape the respectful relationship and cooperation that should become the hallmark of research in Inuit Nunangat”Dr. Martin RaillardChief Scientist, Polar Knowledge Canada
“We welcome the new National Inuit Strategy on Research and look forward to continue working with ITK on Inuit research priorities. Through its action plan to strengthen Indigenous health research, CIHR is committed to collaborating with Indigenous communities to increase research capacity and improve the health and wellness of Inuit. We believe it is imperative to establish a solid foundation for Indigenous health research driven by and grounded in Indigenous communities in Canada.”Michel Perron & Dr. Carrie BourassaExecutive Vice-President, CIHR & Scientific Director, CIHR Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) and the Inuit Qaujisarvingat National Committee (IQNC) have finalized and published the National Inuit Strategy on Research (NISR). As a sub-committee to the ITK Board of Directors, the IQNC follows the same membership structure with representation from Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, Makivik Corporation, Nunavut Tunngavik, Inc., Nunatsiavut Government, Inuit Circumpolar Council Canada, Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada, and the National Inuit Youth Council. The IQNC focuses on improving Inuit Nunangat research practice and policy.
The IQNC was formed in 2010 shortly after ITK launched Inuit Qaujisarvingat as a research department. The mandate of Inuit Qaujisarvingat is to focus efforts to ensure an increasingly active role for Inuit in research in Canada that leads to the generation of innovative knowledge for improved research, science and policy decision making. Having an Inuit-specific strategy on research was identified as an early priority of the IQNC, and it became a key deliverable of the ITK 2016-2019 Strategy and Action Plan.
The NISR is needed to articulate Inuit expectations for research, define Inuit-preferred approaches to building research partnerships, as well as to identify the actions needed to enhance the effectiveness, impact, and usefulness of Inuit Nunangat research for Inuit. Inuit are seeking to ensure that research carried out in our homeland equitably benefits our people and communities and that governments and researchers respect our right to self-determination, including in the area of research governance. Inuit have the greatest insight on the nature of the challenges facing Inuit families and communities, coherent ideas for how to address those challenges, and the strongest incentives to use research as a tool for developing and implementing innovative solutions to society’s problems. Inuit self-determination in research is therefore necessary to ensure that research undertaken in Inuit Nunangat adds the greatest possible value to society by being efficacious, impactful, and meaningful. Doing so is needed to improve upon current research processes that too often prioritize the interests of researchers above those of Inuit.
The NISR does the following:
- Promotes a shared understanding of the legacy of Inuit Nunangat research and connecting this legacy to the current research context;
- Defines Inuit expectations for the role of research in our regions and communities;
- Identifies areas for partnership and action between Inuit and the research community.
Part I of the NISR provides an overview of the Inuit Nunangat research context by setting forth the Inuit vision for Inuit Nunangat research and demonstrating the link between research and the broader goal of creating social and economic equity. It discusses how a national Inuit Nunangat research policy can create greater efficiency and provide guidance to governments and research institutions in Inuit Nunangat research. It describes how advancing Inuit governance in research is mutually beneficial to Inuit and researchers, as well as for creating success in research capacity building, ethics, and funding.
Part II of the NISR outlines the five priority areas for action and investment that Inuit have identified for enhancing the effectiveness and impact of Inuit Nunangat research for Inuit and all Canadians.
The NISR sets forth 27 actions and 19 objectives in the following five priority areas:
- Advance Inuit governance in research;
- Enhance the ethical conduct of research;
- Align funding with Inuit research priorities;
- Ensure Inuit access, ownership, and control over data and information;
- Build capacity in Inuit Nunangat research
The objectives identified within each priority are intended to be achieved between 2018-2022 through shared short-, medium-, and long-term actions undertaken by Inuit, governments, and research institutions. Outcomes will be evaluated in year 1, year 3, and year 5. Implementing the NISR will require a coordinated approach based on partnership. The interrelated, interdependent nature of these five priority areas, as well as the number of stakeholders involved in Inuit Nunangat research, means that new relationships must be brokered between Inuit, government departments, and research institutions in order to implement the NISR. ITK in tandem with the IQNC will develop an accompanying NISR implementation plan by June 2018 that targets potential partners and associated timelines for implementing the actions identified in this section.