ITK plans “From Eskimo to Inuit in 40 years” conference this November
Gathering marks 40th anniversary for national Inuit org
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami plans to celebrate its 40th anniversary with a conference in Ottawa called “From Eskimo to Inuit in 40 years,” the organization announced Sept 14.
“From the original meeting of the minds in 1971 that kickstarted the land claims process, to the series of constitutional debates leading to the inclusion of Aboriginal rights and freedoms in the Constitution Act of 1982, and more recently, the apology to victims of residential schools, Inuit history is an important chapter in the story of Canada,” ITK president Mary Simon said in a news release.
“Inuit history is Canadian history, and our future as a people is fundamental to the future of Canada.”
The conference takes place at the National Arts Centre from Nov. 1 to Nov. 3, with Nov. 1 marking the 40th anniversary of ITK’s incorporation.
Speakers include Tagak Curley and Meeka Kilabuk, who were founding members of the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada.
Other invited speakers include Nunavut Premier Eva Aariak, Nobel Peace Prize nominee Sheila Watt-Cloutier, Nunavik Senator Charlie Watt, Nunavut Senator Dennis Patterson, Nunavut Languages Commissioner Alexina Kublu, Inuvialuit language specialist Beverly Amos, ICC Canada president Duane Smith, Nunavik satirist Zebedee Nungak, CBC Radio hosts William Tagoona and Joanna Awa, youth leaders Jennifer Watkins, Pujjuut Kusugak, Joseph Flowers, and Johnny Kasudluak, and former ITK presidents Rosemarie Kuptana and John Amagoalik.
ITK’s board of directors, Nellie Cournoyea, Cathy Towtongie, Pita Aatami, and Jim Lyall will also speak at the closing panel of the conference, called “The World We Want.”
Other participants include Peter Mansbridge, anchor of CBC’s The National, Whit Fraser, founding anchor of CBC Newsworld, Brad Morse, dean of law at the University of Waikato in New Zealand, and Tom Axworthy, president and chief executive officer of the Walter and Duncan Gordon Foundation.
The conference will also look at Inuit in the media and “the voice of Canadian Inuit abroad in relation to key international issues such as climate change, sovereignty, and resource development,” ITK said.
“Discussions on the transformation of education systems and growth in the use of the Inuit language, as well as political determination among youth, will help chart a path for the next 40 years of Inuit social and political development,” it said.
An exhibition of 100 Inuit editorial cartoons, compiled by Terry Mosher, who draws for the Montreal Gazette under the name “Aislin,” which spans the past 40 years will be unveiled during the opening reception on Nov. 1.
The conference’s sponsors include Canadian North and First Air, Adventure Canada-Cruise North, Agnico-Eagle Mines, The Hill Times/Embassy, Kativik Regional Government, Kitikmeot Corporation, Nunasi Corp., Makivik Corp., Qikiqtaaluk Corp. , Qikiqtani Inuit Association and the World Wildlife Fund.
The Inuit Relations Secretariat of the federal department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada also provided money to ITK for the conference.