Natan Obed to seek 3rd term as ITK president
If elected again, Obed says it will be his last at the helm
Natan Obed will run for president of Canada’s national Inuit organization for the third time because, he says, he’s not ready to leave.
“We just seem to be in this moment where so many things are coming together,” he said. “And I feel like my work at [Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami] is not done and that I would like to see a number of these big initiatives through.”
Obed confirmed his intentions while answering questions from the media Wednesday at Nunavut Arctic College during a federal government announcement.
ITK announced last week it is opening the nomination period for candidates interested in leading the organization. The next president will be picked after its annual general meeting, to be scheduled for September.
A long-time member of ITK who has held the presidency since 2015, Obed describes his leadership style as “Inuit-specific, evidence-based and globally informed” — which is the organization’s mantra.
During his time in office, ITK has launched the National Inuit Health Survey, Qanuippitaa?, received funding for an Inuit Nunangat university and created the Inuit-Crown partnership committee — all of which, Obed says, still gets him excited about going to work every day.
“I’m really proud about the conversation about Inuit in Canada,” he said, pointing to examples of this which include politicians and media using the term “Inuit Nunangat” and the inclusion of money specifically for Inuit in this year’s federal budget.
Obed says he spent his first few years as president making connections with politicians, governments, and familiarizing himself with the subject matter. Now that he has those relationships formed, he says it opens the organization up to new opportunities.
“It’s taken me a long time to get to the place where I feel like I can do that very confidently,” he said. “I feel as though in the next four years, we could do some pretty amazing things that depend partly on the continuity in leadership.”
He said won’t seek a fourth term if he is elected again.
If he does get elected, Obed said he wants to focus on bringing Inuit together politically and get them more involved at the national level.
He also critiqued himself, saying he hasn’t done enough to learn Inuktitut during while in office, but it’s a task he is still committed to accomplishing.
“That’s something that does gnaw on me as I do my job — knowing that I should be able to converse more and take pride in our beautiful language,” he said.
ITK’s next president will have to get seven of 13 votes from group of delegates representing Inuit organizations from each of the four Inuit regions to win the election.
The deadline for nominations is Aug. 18.