Natan Obed re-elected as president of Canadian Inuit organization

Natan Obed at Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami’s annual general assembly in Inuvik. He was re-elected as president of the organization on Thursday. (Gabriela Panza-Beltrandi/CBC)
Natan Obed has been re-elected as president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.

The vote was held during the group’s annual general meeting Thursday morning in Inuvik, N.W.T.

“I’m honoured and humbled for your faith in me for a second term. I’ll do my best to continue implementing our strategy and action plan,” Obed said in his acceptance speech.

“I’m very thankful for the opportunity to hold this job.”

Two other candidates were vying for the organization’s top job — Peter Williamson, a former policy analyst, and former MP Peter Ittinuar.

There were 13 eligible voters, all of whom voted.

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami is a national organization representing 65,000 Inuit living across Canada and in communities throughout Nunavut, Nunavik, Nunatsiavut in Newfoundland and Labrador and the Northwest Territories’ Inuvialuit Settlement Region.

An outspoken leader

The president of the organization holds a three-year term. Obed was first elected to the job in 2015.

During his first term as president, Obed was outspoken about the high rate of suicide in Indigenous communities and climate change, and said that he found the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos team name racist.

Right after it was announced that Obed won the election, Duane Smith, chair of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, gifted him an Edmonton Eskimos hat, which garnered laughter from Obed and others in the room.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Inuit Circumpolar Council – Canada elects new president, vice-president, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Sámi school preserves reindeer herders’ heritage with help of internet, Cryopolitics Blog

Iceland: Can environmental diplomacy save Arctic languages?, Blog by Takeshi Kaji

Norway: Arctic Indigenous food culture takes the day at international cookbook awards, Eye on the Arctic

Russia: Russia plans fenced parks to confine reindeer herding in Arctic, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Legal battle over hunting and fishing in Sweden’s far north, Radio Sweden

United States: Feature Interview: Every Inuk needs to stand up and be counted, says new ICC chair, Eye on the Arctic

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