Drum dancing on the St. John’s harbour front starting off iNuit Blanche

Drum dancing on the St. John’s harbour front starting off iNuit Blanche.
Photo Credit: Inuit Studies Conference 2016/Facebook

Inuit culture celebrated in St. John’s


Dozens of artists, elders, researchers and policy makers gathered in St. John’s this weekend for a scientific and cultural event featuring and celebrating Canada’s Inuit people.

The Biennial Inuit Studies Conference 2016, which runs from Oct. 7 to 10 in the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador, brought together representatives from Canada’s four Inuit regions: from Nunatsiavut, in northern Labrador, Nunavik, in northern Quebec, the territory of Nunavut and Inuvialuit, in the Northwest Territories.

The conference was hosted by Memorial University and by Nunatsiavut, marking the first time an Inuit government co-hosted the event.

“It used to be mostly white academics who would present on their research in the Arctic and very much contributed to the frustrations that Inuit have of being researched without much benefit to the community,” said Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory, a well-known Iqaluit-based poet, performer and advocate.

“But as it evolves, there are more and more Inuit who are engaging on an academic level about our own communities, so I find it very important to be able to speak with and engage with all of these Inuit intellectuals who are astute in their own work and also very challenging of other people’s work in a very progressive way.”

(click to listen to the full interview with Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory)


The Katingavik Inuit Arts Festival and iNuit Blanche — the first ever all-Inuit, all-night art crawl spread across downtown St. John’s — also ran simultaneously with the conference.

Speaking to RCI on the phone from St. John’s, Williamson Bathory said she and Vinnie Karetaq, chairman of the Qaggiavuut non-profit society for performing arts in Nunavut, will be taking part in panel discussions on the future of performing arts, as well as performing in a number of different capacities.

The Katingavik Inuit Arts Festival and iNuit Blanche event allow participants to sample and taken in various forms of Inuit art, Williamson Bathory said.

Williamson Bathory and Karetak said they will also use the opportunity to champion for the creation of a dedicated performance arts centre in Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut.

Nunavut is the only territory or province in Canada without a performing arts centre and Iqaluit is the only capital city in North America without a space to present the performing arts, Karetak said. Nunavut performance artists have to borrow performance spaces in school auditoriums or community centres that are too scarce and often not properly equipped for performance arts, he said.

“Having our own performance arts centre will free us to start really doing what we want to do, which is performance arts,” Karetak said.

(click to listen to the full interview with Vinnie Karetak)


Nunavut-based artists have collaborated with artists from Nunatsiavut, Nunavik and Inuvialuit , but having their own performance arts centre will allow them to take their collaboration to a new level and include whole of the circumpolar world, Karetak said.

“Hopefully soon we could start working more closely with international folks,” Karetak said. “Greenland has a strong performing arts scene and we’re looking at ways of maybe working together so we can be what we aspire to be.”

The event also presents Inuit artists and performers an opportunity to learn from each other, as well as educate non-Inuit about the realities of life in the Arctic, Williamson Bathory said.

“I’m very motivated to make art and performance within my community, I love the collaborative aspect of creating art with Inuit, for Inuit,” Williamson Bathory said. “But also I do really believe that it’s important for us to engage in an artistic dialogue with all sorts of non-Inuit too because that’s the way that art keeps on forming, and there is such power in using art to create dialogue.”

Karetak, who produces a popular TV show in Inuktitut, said he was interested in attending some of the presentations focused on education and preservation of Inuit culture and Inuktitut language, especially among children who are increasingly exposed to other cultures.

Categories: Arts and Entertainment, Indigenous, Society
Tags: , , , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.