Pauktuutit wants action on violence against Inuit women, but Ottawa denies funding

Pauktuutit says Ottawa rejected proposals on helping victims and combating child exploitation


Pauktuutit says it’s “disappointed” that the federal government has yet again turned down a funding proposal related to women and violence.

This lack of financial support is part of a troubling pattern that’s become evident over the past couple of years, Pauktuutit said in a Feb. 28 statement that calls for “national action” on violence against Inuit women.

“We have been very disappointed that in the last two years, three of our proposals to the federal government have not been approved,” president of Pauktuutit, Rebecca Kudloo, said in the press release.

The statement comes a day after a couple was charged with the murder of Loretta Saunders, an Inuk from Nunatsiavut, whose remains were found in New Brunswick this week.

Kudloo said that in 2012, a proposal it submitted to Justice Canada’s Victims Fund and Public Safety Canada’s Contribution Program to Combat Child Sexual Exploitation and Human Trafficking was declined.

And on Feb. 28 they received another rejected proposal from the federal justice department’s Access for Justice for Aboriginal Women’s program.

But Pauktuutit is still waiting for a funding decision from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada for “a national prevention campaign to raise awareness of family violence.”

“We hope this will be well received, as it is urgently needed,” Kudloo said.

The press release said Pauktuutit will still work with governments “at every opportunity to implement these and other important recommendations, and hopes to be invited to the March open caucus meeting on the issue in the Senate.”

Pauktuutit said they are working on a project with Status of Women Canada to engage men and boys in reducing violence against women.

That will include involving Inuit men’s groups, regional Inuit organizations and “front-line services” such as women’s shelters.

Pauktuutit’s regional director for Qikiqtani South, Sheila Pokiak Lumsden, called for implementation of a national action plan to address violence against Aboriginal women.

“The work has been done. We know what is needed. We can’t have any more of these tragedies,” Lumsden said.

At a meeting in June 2011, Pauktuutit participated at an aboriginal women’s forum in British Columbia, where they developed Inuit-specific recommendations for action on violence against women.

“We attended this forum with heavy hearts but even stronger resolve as this took place the week after a triple murder-suicide in Iqaluit,” said Charlotte Wolfrey, Pauktuutit’s regional director for Nunatsiavut.

Pauktuutit also said they will recognize Loretta Saunders at their annual general meeting in Ottawa which begins March. 9.

Pauktuutit released a letter of condolence Feb. 27 to Saunders’ family and friends.

“She was a bright shining light who loved and was loved by her family and many friends. Our hearts are with everyone in Nunatsiavut and we share your shock and grief,” Kudloo said in the release.

Pauktuutit’s board of directors had a moment of silence during their teleconference Feb. 27.

They “expressed hope” that the thesis Saunders was writing, on murdered and missing Aboriginal women in Canada, might one day be released.

Saunders had been studying sociology at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax.

Terry Audla, the president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, also expressed his condolences on behalf of ITK.

“The impacts of this heartbreak extend across Inuit Nunangat and, indeed, across Canada; it is beyond tragic to witness such a senseless loss of a bright life.”

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