International Inuit Day on Nov. 7 marks Inuit leadership and accomplishments

“Inuit Day is a time to reflect on our inner being, who we are as Inuit, and to acknowledge our past leadership for their accomplishments and persevering through the many challenges to protect, enhance and elevate our voice and well-being as Inuit,” says Kasaŋnaaluk Marie N. Greene, Inuit Circumpolar Council’s Alaska’s President. (Courtesy Inuit Circumpolar Council)

International Inuit Day on Nov. 7 remains an important moment to commemorate Inuit leadership and accomplishments, the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) said. 

“Inuit Day is a time to reflect on our inner being, who we are as Inuit, and to acknowledge our past leadership for their accomplishments and persevering through the many challenges to protect, enhance and elevate our voice and well-being as Inuit,” Kasaŋnaaluk Marie N. Greene, ICC Alaska’s President, said in emailed comment. 

ICC represents the approximately 180,000 Inuit in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Chukotka, Russia.

The motion for International Inuit Day was made at their 2006 General Assembly in Barrow (now called Utqiagvik), Alaska, “to urge all Inuit governments, agencies, and communities to annually proclaim this day as Inuit Day, and conduct appropriate ceremonies and celebrations.”

In honour of Eben Hopson Sr.

Eben Hopson, Sr. pictured at the first Inuit Circumpolar Conference in Barrow, Alaska in 1977. ICC chose his birthday, November 7, as International Inuit Day. (North Slope Borough/Courtesy ICC-Canada)

November 7 was chosen as it was the birth date of Eben Hopson Sr., founder of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, the precursor to the Inuit Circumpolar Council.

“International Inuit Day is a significant day for the Inuit community,” Eleanor Partridge, the communications manager at Tungasuvvingat Inuit (TI), a counselling and resource centre for Inuit in Ottawa, told Eye on the Arctic on Monday. 

“It’s a day for celebration of our culture and a time to raise awareness about the unique challenges that we face.

“TI will be spending time with Inuit Elders on this day, to listen to their feedback on our food security program for the community. Elders hold valuable knowledge that we can learn from and implement into our programs and in this way we are following Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit, the Inuit societal values.” 

Observed across Canada

In Ottawa, an International Inuit Day celebration was observed on the weekend featuring cultural performances and activities.

Mother and daughter throat singers Janice and Evelyn Oolayou at the 2023 International Inuit Day in Ottawa hosted by Isaruit Inuit Artists. (Jane True Love/Courtesy Isaruit Inuit Artists)

In Canada, the day is also observed by southern institutions like universities and professional bodies.

Memorial University in Atlantic Canada is hosting an afternoon of throat singing and Inuit games along with other cultural programming.

International Inuit Day also coincides with Treaties Recognition Week. The Law Society of Ontario is holding a professional event on Nov 7 to mark both occasions to help people in the legal field, and the general public, better understand Indigenous Peoples and communities and learn about building positive relationships with them. 

Vendors at the market at the 2023 International Inuit Day in Ottawa hosted by Isaruit Inuit Artists. (Anabelle Latreille Young/Courtesy Isaruit Inuit Artists)
This story has been updated with information and photos from the weekend International Inuit Day celebrations in Ottawa.
The sentence previously included in this article about Trent University’s International Inuit Day resources for people who want to learn more about Inuit culture and accomplishments has been removed. The sentence hyperlinked to a pdf that contained an out-of-date number for the international Inuit population.

Write to Eilís Quinn at 

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Short NFB film tells story of trailblazing Inuk teacher in Labrador, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Project to educate Finnish students about Sami needs to be permanent: Youth Council, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Sami-led project seeks to revitalize Indigenous education across Europe, Eye on the Arctic

Sweden: Award-winning novel set in Sapmi to get Netflix treatment, Eye on the Arctic

United States: How Inuit culture helped unlock power of classical score for Inupiaq violinist, Eye on the Arctic

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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