More than 200 gather in Iqaluit for Black Lives Matter rally

Protesters marched from city’s main intersection to the RCMP detachment

A Black Lives Matter rally in Iqaluit wound its way from the city’s Four Corners intersection to the legislative assembly to the RCMP detachment this afternoon. (Photo by Meagan Deuling)

By Meagan Deuling
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

A crowd of over 200 people rallied in Iqaluit today to show solidarity for Black people in the territory.

Many of the protesters wore face masks because of the COVID-19 pandemic and held placards.

The crowd chanted, “Black lives matter!” and “No justice! No peace! No racist police!”

They also chanted, “Justice for Kinngait!” in reference to a video widely circulated this week, showing an RCMP officer in that community using the door of his truck to knock over an Inuk man.

The rally was organized by the Nunavut Black History Society. It started at the city’s main intersection, known as the Four Corners, where protesters blocked traffic as organizers said the names of Black people recently killed by police in the United States.

One organizer poured some water from a plastic bottle after each name. Organizers then asked the crowd to kneel for eight minutes and 46 seconds—the length of time a Minneapolis police officer knelt on the neck of a Black man named George Floyd.

  • Protesters gather in front of the RCMP detachment in Iqaluit to call for solidarity between all people in Nunavut and to find solutions to end racism. (Photo by Meagan Deuling)

The death of Floyd, which was captured on video, has sparked protests in the United States and around the world.

The crowd then wound down the street to the steps of Nunavut’s legislative assembly building, where protesters used a megaphone to call on Premier Joe Savikataaq to create anti-racist government policies.

The next stop was Iqaluit’s RCMP station. Here protesters knelt again. Organizers then gave the megaphone to whoever wanted to address the crowd.

Many Black people spoke, saying that they’re usually afraid to speak up about the racism they face every day in Nunavut.

The organizers said that this rally is just the beginning. They plan to form a committee to push for government and RCMP reform.

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(20) Comments:

  1. Posted by Worst Racsism in Nunavut on

    The amount of racism black people experience in Nunavut is shameful. The amount of racism on rant and rave about taxi drivers is ever present and it doesn’t take long to literally see racism against black people in public. It is unfortunate and sad that this most often coming from Inuit, as it somehow seems culturally acceptable to many to be overtly racist in this territory, citing colonization and jobtaking as some sort of justification. This needs to be dealt with at home just as much as in government policy.

    • Posted by oh ima on

      this is uter none-sense, not to dismiss some of the incidents however any non-Inuit including black people have it an advantage in every way over Inuit. No one ever speaks or aknowledge systematic racism face by Inuit in our own home land. 3 shooting incidents and recent incident in Kingait how blind do people of Nunavut and even amongst us Inuit cannot see that Inuit are at such a disadvantage in our own homeland? I support black lives matter movement but we need to deal with systamatic racism that Inuit face everyday within justice system, education and job opportunities before dealing with other racist attitude from a small group of Inuit that don’t have any power over other groups.


      • Posted by Golden Handcuffs on

        Just because you don’t like what someone has to say about racism in Nunavut doesn’t make their comment non-sense. I agree with the original poster, I have seen a lot of open racism from Inuit, definitely toward black people and other groups as well. This isn’t surprising as we have a population that is very isolated, many people with little experience or understanding of the outside world and many people who are not that well educated. Where ignorance abounds racism is likely to be also, this applies anywhere.

      • Posted by Not nonsense on

        Utter nonsense? How do you explain that literally everyone who posted a photo to rant and rave or public service announcements about this rally had to turn off comments because of the overt racism by inuit being posted? Let’s just pretend that didn’t happen i guess.

      • Posted by Dual Identities on

        Sorry bud/buddette, while Inuit have historically clearly been victims, many also hold extremely racist views. You just can’t say that our loud you without being attacked is the difference.

        It is easily possible to be both a victim and an oppressor at the same time. That is the case with many of our Inuit brethren, or for that matter, humans anywhere.

        Watch how incredibly vile some of Inuit customers are, especially when drunk, to some of the Iqaluit cab drivers. Deep deep veins of racism there. I’m sure that if you look around on youtube you could find some examples.

    • Posted by 2nd class on

      It’s the battle for second place in action. While you’d think Inuit and other people of colour would be natural allies, many will fight with each other, particularly people with less education/awareness. This happens when people make the incorrect assumption that “ok, white people are clearly dominant and I can’t fight them…but they’ll like me if I put down this person from another group that they don’t like”.

      This mentality isn’t unique to Nunavut, you see it everywhere with catholics/protestants, or POC vs other POC. One example is in Los Angeles where African Americans and Lations and Koreans are often at odds instead of uniting.

      • Posted by Golden Handcuffs on

        Consider a different perspective on this; class differences, which you allude to, are also powerful markers in terms of identity and affiliation. For example differences in education and income can create a dividing line similar, or perhaps even more prominent than race might. In reality there are impoverished people of Inuit and white origin, and there are well educated and financially secure people of those same origins. Individuals will almost certainly find they have more in common with others based on their socio-economic class than they do with members of their own racial group who fall outside those parameters.

  2. Posted by Okay on

    I am not sure how to respond to racism as a black person in Nunavut. I was never bothered by it when it came from Inuit. However, it hurt a little bit more when the person was white-inuit. I do not know why racism from white-inuit hurt more but it did.

    • Posted by Racist Elderly Inuks on

      I would never, ever, want to be a mixed ancestry part-Inuit, not in this lifetime.

      The abuse that I have watched a good friend of mine take, particularly from elderly Inuks, is enough to make anyone cry. The racism is strong, but he is much stronger.

  3. Posted by Participant on

    great support and turn out. Strong message.

    I only saw one MLA and one Minister who attended this important event. We won’t forget. Thank you to them and all who came.

    • Posted by All Ministers Matter on

      One MLA (I dont have to mention which one) is very much a part of the All Lives Matter movement and has been very vocal about it.

  4. Posted by Equality for all on

    Because an injustice happens to one group of people, does not somehow lessen an injustice against another group. Just because one person is hurting does not mean another person cannot hurt jus as badly or that the other person’s hurt is somehow less. This is not a battle of who hurts more or who is treated worse or who experiences more racism. Just because you have suffered injustice does not give you the right to inflict this same pain on others. We all need to heal and embrace one another as members of the human race.

  5. Posted by Racism is Alive and Well on

    I can’t count the number of times I witnessed people of colour being racially abused in plain view of the public in Iqaluit. I have heard the most hateful words come out of the mouths of everyone from Elders to 10 year old kids. Every time it happens it comes as a shock. I always assumed that Inuit as a racially marginalized people would have more empathy for others, however clearly many do not.

    • Posted by Same Idea on

      As mentioned elsewhere, you can be a victim of racism and simultaneously hold vile racist views yourself. We have all had our hearts broken, and have lso broken hearts, much the same idea I guess.

  6. Posted by Concerning on

    The hate towards non-Inuit is very real in Nunavut. I know of situations of Inuit in our workplace that make a point of trying to ruin people’s lives but lying and fabricating stories just because they didn’t like someone, it is sadly more common that we think. It’s real, it’s unacceptable, it’s ignorant, it’s illegal, it’s scary and must be talked about. All lives matter!

  7. Posted by All the kings horses, All the kings men. on

    A really big march for anti-racism, and well done !
    But just like sexual abuse, absentee fathers, small town
    corruption & all the rest , nothing will be done.
    Not by law, Not by leaders.
    All Nunavut lives matter.

    • Posted by Stan Richards on

      How can you say nothing will be done? The massive protests in over 400 cities in the US forced the Minnessotta authorities to charge all 4 cops. Other racist cops have been fired or suspended because of their violent and racist actions. You’re right that capitalist government officials dont’ want to do anything. But mass protest movements can force capitalist goverments to act. That’s how Jim Crow segregation was overthrown in the US and apartheid in South Africa. And how racism among Caucasians was pushed back, as it will be among Inuit.

      There have been rallies against the cop killing of George Floyd in over 40 cities and towns in Canada. Like the demonstration in Iqualuit they have also been protesting against cop violence and racism in this country. This massive movement can’t easily be ignored. What is the alternative to standing up and fighting for our rights?

      • Posted by Together again. on

        I was referring to Nunavut, like any where time will tell.
        Many unsolved issues over the years.
        Power with good honest people can accomplish much good.
        As I mentioned good for the protest & well done,
        I just wish the other local issues, I mentioned, could be dealt with.

  8. Posted by Inuk hunter on

    And the justice minister said this is an isolated incident. Apparently the justice minister has blinders on because the cape Dorset incident is just the tip of the ice burg.

    There are numerous incidents involving rcmp that go unreported all the time.

    Each community needs a liaison officer where residents can make local complaints against the rcmp. Then the justice minister will realize that this is just the tip of the ice burg.

  9. Posted by Jeff on

    Hunter,look at the numbers 3 Inuit RCMP out of 131, shame on us in NUnavut,we have so many young Inuit unemployed.why don’t young Inuit do these very important careers,but that can be said about teachers,nurses,you ask young people why,they just don’t want these jobs .too much abuse by their fellow Inuit .but all we talk about is the dog slaughter.time to move on and look to the future and train young Inuit to participate more,we have enough activists here now

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