Reinstilling pride in the Inuit seal hunt

Aaju Peter. (Michelle Varberg/Courtesy Aaju Peter)
“There’s a big lack of understanding in the European community,” says Aaju Peter. “(The seal ban) has effected us so negatively: economically, culturally and socially.” (Michelle Varberg/Courtesy Aaju Peter)
This month, Inuit launched a new offensive in their battle against the EU seal ban.

The 2009 EU law bans the import of seal products in the European Union.

The policy had an immediate and devastating effect on Inuit  and indigenous communities around the circumpolar world.

Despite an Inuit exemption in the the law, the political and public rhetoric around the law, effectively killed the market for seal products, whether they were produced by Inuit or not.

Inuit Sila, an organization that represented Inuit hunters in Greenland, established itself as an NGO on October 1, 2015 to represent Inuit seal hunters all across the Arctic,.

It’s a move they hope will allow them to better fight the EU ban and the ongoing negative consequences it’s having on indigenous Arctic communities.

Feature Interview
Eye on the Arctic spoke with Inuit Sila spokesperson Aaju Peter about the ban and how its impacts on Inuit aren’t just financial, but emotional and cultural as well:

Related stories from around the North:

Canada:  Nunavut gets EU exemption for seal products, Eye on the Arctic

Finland:  Sámi politician calls Finland “racist country”, Yle News

Greenland: Inuit launch new offensive against seal ban, Eye on the Arctic

Norway:  Norway visa rules worry indigenous peoples, Barents Observer

Sweden:  Sami demand rights as indigenous people, Radio Sweden

Russia: Russia brands Arctic indigenous organization as “foreign agent”, Barents Observer

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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