Inuit women’s org wants federal party leaders to commit to having Inuit women at decision table

“We want an assurance from all party leaders that Inuit women will have an equal voice on how UNDRIP will be implemented by every federal department and agency,” says Pauktuutit President Rebecca Kudloo, pictured here in a file photo. (Eye on the Arctic)

With Canada in the midst of a snap election, the organization that represents Inuit women in the country is calling on federal party leaders to commit to having Inuit women at the table for all decisions that directly affect them, especially when it comes to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

“Pauktuutit expects that Inuit women will be full participants in the development of the Action Plan to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Persons (UNDRIP) Act in the coming months,” Rebecca Kudloo, the president of Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada said in a news release.

“However, we want an assurance from all party leaders that Inuit women will have an equal voice on how UNDRIP will be implemented by every federal department and agency.”

UNDRIP was adopted by the United Nations in 2007. It includes 46 articles that affirm the rights of Indigenous peoples, and touches on everything from language to culture to resources. 

Bill C-15 was introduced by Canada’s Liberal Government in December 2020, and received Royal Assent on June 21. It requires that the law in Canada be consistent with the rights set out in UNDRIP.

Implementation of  UNDRIP was called for by both the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, set up to examine the legacy of the residential school system in Canada, and the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG), set up to examine the high rates of violence against indigenous women in the country.

Action plan

The government has set out a time period of no more than two years to develop an action plan to implement the Declaration.

The government has  pledged to “engage with Indigenous partners” on the action plan, including organizations, rights holders, modern treaty and self-governing nations, women’s and youth organizations, 2SLGBTQQIA+ Indigenous persons, urban Indigenous people and other identified Indigenous groups. 

Right to left, Natan Obed, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Canada’s Justice Minister David Lametti and Assembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde at a press conference discussing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, on December 3. (Adrian Wyld/The Press Canadian)

On Tuesday, Pauktuutit also called for Inuit women to have full inclusion in the ongoing work from the MMIWG. 

The MMIWG action plan was released in June, and said work on an implementation plan was a coming part of the process.

“The next step involves preparation of an implementation plan with in-depth descriptions of short-, medium- and long-term priorities, and the identification of those responsible for implementation of each action, as well as milestones and required resources,” the action plan said.

Kudloo said she wants a commitment that Inuit women will have a leadership role in the process. 

“Inuit women know best the solutions to protect our personal safety and security,” Kudloo said.  “Our experiences, priorities and ideas must inform every element of the plan’s implementation.”

New funding for Inuit-specific shelters and transition housing, increasing the services of Inuit midwives and better access to healthcare services are among the other election priorities for Inuit women, Pauktuutit said.

Write to Eilís at eilis.quinn@cbc.ca 

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Liberals, Conservatives announce candidates for Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut, CBC News

Greenland: Greenland’s more prominent role on Arctic Council important signal to int’l community says foreign minister, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Are Norway’s energy policies caught between ‘black gold’ & green ambitions?, Blog by Marc Lanteigne

United States: Biden admin goes back to drawing board on oil leasing in Arctic Refuge, Alaska Public Media

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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