Inuit resident denounces NTI president’s opposition to rainbow flag

“I am in complete shock that you would use your capacity as president of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. to spread such prejudice”


This morning [March 6] on CBC radio, I heard your discouraging comments about the raising of the pride flag at Iqaluit City Hall and furthering this by saying that homosexuality is not a part of Inuit culture.

I am in complete shock that you would use your capacity as president of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. to spread such prejudice, hate and misinformation.

As we live in a society with extreme levels of suicide, violence and substance abuse, we — as Inuit — need to use every means possible of creating an environment of inclusivity, welcome, openness, respect, relationship building and care for others — inuuqatigiitsiarniq and tunnganarniq.

This includes people who may not live life in the same manner as you, such as lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgendered and queer (LBGTQ) people.

As a person who is well versed in the research and statistics of Nunavut and also someone who is sensitive to the need for equality and openness in our society, I am sure that homophobia, or the hatred of LBGTQ people, contributes to the extreme levels of people hurting themselves and others in Nunavut. This hate simply has to stop.

As someone who grew up with you and someone who shares the work you do for Inuit, I would like to ask you to publicly apologize for your statements and further to this, announce love and respect for all and everyone living Nunavut — that is my understanding of Inuit values.

The prejudice you showed to fellow Inuit and to other human beings is not fit for your very important position in society. Your forceful voice could be used to unite Inuit rather than tearing the hearts out of people you do not feel affinity with.

Unlike places like Uganda and Russia, in Canada we are proud to be inclusive — it would be amazing to see you embrace this, in an Inuit way.

Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory

Editor’s note: The writer has sent copies of this letter to the presidents of NTI and the three regional Inuit associations in Nunavut, as well as to certain NTI officials.

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