NTI president responds to letter on rainbow flag comments

“We need to openly discussed the issue of sexual orientation without fear”

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

I feel honoured that you wrote me this letter, Laakkuluk.

My comments were to commend Simon Nattaq at the mayors’ forum. I said as an Elder within the Inuit prevailing authority… that consensus is sought for, as a dynamic democracy.

Those were my comments, as a young Inuit person like yourself… I cannot call an elder. But I see Simon Nattaq as a TRADITIONAL knowledge holder.

So I said we cannot speak to the issue with this issue being hijacked. That as an Inuk, we do need time to discuss.

However, you talked about prejudice, hate and misinformation. Those are going beyond the comments which I made which were said in both English and Inuktitut. I did not even go into the issues of suicide, violence and substance abuse.

I said in Nunavut, there is dynamic democracy and that is what I said. We need to openly discusse the issue of sexual orientation without fear.

As for the flag being raised at the City Hall, as Inuit who represent the Nunavut territory, we have never ever discussed this issue openly. We have hidden behind the fear of raising this and other issues like suicides.

For example, if as Inuit we speak to the issue of suicide, elders tell us that if we openly discuss the issue of suicide, that we will be seeing more suicide.

If Nunavut is to be truly an open society, than we need to communicate to understand the changes affecting the Inuit society, culturally and traditionally.

The prevailing authority of the Inuit mind is to be silent during times of important changes. There was no mention of the lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgendered or queer… because I have not seen the terminology for these.

There was no mention of hatred. Your email is going beyond the context in which my comments were made. I commended an Inuk elder who spoke in accordance with freedom of thought.

Your letter also speaks to hatred. As far as I am concerned there was no mention of hatred. Nothing.

In saying that, I will not apologize. Because my comments were just that, no more and no less. There was no discussion on anything. Period.

Cathy Towtongie
NTI President

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