Canadian Inuit elect new president

Natan Obed (pictured above in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut) was elected president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami last week. (Mitchel Wiles/CBC)
Natan Obed (pictured above in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut) was elected president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami last week. (Mitchel Wiles/CBC)
Canada’s national Inuit organization, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, has elected Natan Obed as their new president.

Obed was elected with 54 per cent of the vote during the organization’s annual general meeting last week.

He will take over the organization from Terry Audla, who served as ITK’s president since 2012.

“My priorities have been shaped by the processes I have been part of over the years and the grounding I have in Nunavut and Nunatsiavut with my family and friends,” Obed said in a letter submitted to the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami board of directors as part of his nomination package.

To read Natan Obed’s election speech from last week, click HERE

Worked on health issues facing Inuit

Obed, originally from the Inuit self-governing region of Nunatsiavut in the Atlantic Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, chaired the National Inuit Committee on Health and has been active on issues around suicide prevention  and mental health.

“I have learned so much by being a part of major processes such as helping create and implement the Nunavut Suicide Prevention Strategy for NTI, or participating in the Kelowna Accord process at ITK, or helping implement the Impacts and Benefits agreement for the Voisey’s Bay nickel mine for the Labrador Inuit Association,” he said in the letter.

Besides Audla, Obed ran against Nunavut-born Jerry Komatsiutiksak, a former teacher.

ITK was founded in 1971 and represents Canada’s approximately 60,000 Inuit in areas including environment, politics and culture.

Canada’s four Inuit regions
  • Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut
  • Nunavik in Canada’s eastern province of Quebec
  • Nunatsiavut in the Atlantic Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Inuvialuit Settlement Region of the Northwest Territories
Related stories from around the North:

Canada:  Canada’s national Inuit organization opens nominations for president, Eye on the Arctic

Norway:  Norway visa rules worry indigenous peoples, Barents Observer

Russia:  Russia to give indigenous peoples priority in Barents chairmanship, Barents Observer

Sweden:  Sami demand rights as indigenous people, Radio Sweden

United States:  Arctic conference spotlights indigenous issues, Alaska Dispatch News



Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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