NTI investigates allegations of ‘potential’ enrolment fraud
Case is the first of its kind in organization’s history, NTI says
Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. is investigating what it describes as “potential” enrolment fraud in connection to two sisters who claimed Inuk heritage.
NTI is the organization responsible for ensuring promises made to Inuit under the Nunavut Agreement are carried out.
According to a news release sent by NTI on Thursday evening, a woman named Karima Manji claimed her twin daughters, Amira and Nadya Gill, were adopted from an Inuk mother.
However, according to the news release, NTI has received information from the woman identified as their birth mother that the Gill sisters are not her children.
“Today, she initiated the process to have Amira and Nadya removed from the Inuit enrolment list,” NTI’s news release said.
“The Iqaluit Community Enrolment Committee will review the removal application and make a decision.”
NTI said this type of investigation has never happened previously in the organization’s history.
“This case is the first of its kind under the NTI enrolment program,” the release said.
“To prevent any potential fraud in the future, NTI is working with the Community Enrolment Committees to take additional measures to further strengthen the enrolment application and review process.”
Over the past week, posts began circulating on social media alleging the Gill sisters were falsely claiming Inuit identity.
Posts on Instagram came from a range of Inuit social media users, including singer Tanya Tagaq.
Nunatsiaq News contacted Amira Gill earlier on Thursday about the controversy on social media, which included allegations she and her sister had used their claim of Inuk heritage to get financial support for their university studies and to start a business about two years ago.
The business, called Kanata Trade Co., sold among other things COVID-19 face masks featuring Indigenous art, with proceeds going to support Indspire, a national charity that provides financial support to Indigenous youth.
Gill told Nunatsiaq News in an emailed statement that her and her sister’s “Inuit family ties” are through an Iqaluit family that their mother lived with.
They have a “strained” relationship with their parents, said Gill, who added they now consider Kingston, Ont., their home after having moved from Iqaluit.
“Both my sister and I have been an integral part of the community in Kingston. We have participated in advocacy, cultural ceremonies, and education,” Gill wrote.
“We started Kanata Trade Co. to help Indspire charity’s mission. This was only supposed to be a project, but after two months of doing this work, we sent Indspire the funds we had collected, and we were asked by Indspire to continue and so we have,” Gill added.
Indspire spokesperson Brandon Meawasige confirmed the Gill sisters were eligible for funding under its bursaries and scholarships program because they provided proof of membership in a recognized organization — NTI.
“… And so they qualified for funding under our funding policy,” Meawasige said in a written statement when Nunatsiaq News asked about the social media posts.
He referred other questions to NTI.
Gill said the NTI enrolment cards she and her sister have were given to them “at a young age” and they have “no knowledge of the enrolment process.”
Gill said she felt the controversy about the sisters’ background was an invasion of her privacy, though she understood “the public interest in this matter.”
She said Nunatsiaq News has not revealed the identity of the people making the allegations on social media, nor assessed their credibility. She made that comment earlier in the day, before NTI issued its news release.
Nunatsiaq News tried unsuccessfully to contact Gill after NTI issued its statement. The paper has not been able to contact her sister, Nadya, at all.
Please continue to expose anyone who steals and benefits from indigenous identity. Thank you because it takes courage. Truth will prevail!
The privilege that comes with Indigenous identity makes this sort of behaviour tempting.
It is challenging in Canada where generally self-identification is the standard when it comes to ethnic identity. NTI has it easy though with their lists.
Sort of ironic because we’re also being indoctrinated by the new media and government to never question identity anymore. If you want to identify as a fire hydrant or a laundry basket, who are we to judge. Good for NTI for putting their foot down with this. Nobody should be allowed to identify as aboriginal if they are not able to prove it.
This is the second time NTI has purged it’s beneficiaries list.
Good to know they are tracking such matters closely.
NTI should be investigated by the commissioner for publishing personal information without consent under the PIPEDA. This is insane that they’d put out news releases about individuals and their eligibility for enrolment.
PIPEDA does not apply to non-profits, charities and organizations engaged in non-commercial activities, which NTI is.
Nunavut legislation might apply, but the individuals involved are not Nunavut residents. The only privacy legislation we have in Nunavut is only concerned with GN handling of personal information, not any other type of organization.
Under Part 7 of Article 35 of the Nunavut Agreement, the NTI Enrolment List is made public.
Under the PIPEDA Regulations Specifying Publicly Available Information, the names of persons on the Enrolment List are therefore exempt from PIPEDA.
There is no PIPEDA violation.
NTI is engaged in commercial activities. It’s is a broad definition. Being registered under Canada NFP Act does not preclude this. Non profits have been held to be subject to PIPEDA. This is a decision for the Commissioner.
The lists may be public but all these details about family and kinship released are not. Maybe NTI should also release their SIN number, home address, email as well?
NTI and Inuit Organizations have a list of names on their voters list, which is accessible online, It’s understandable to use first and last name on the list, but why post their middle name? For example if I go vote I would need to confirm with my NTI card or ID in any other election taking place.
It’s easy to take anothers name or etc especially if you are going to post middle name which is often in Inuktuu. They need to sanitize the way they post it or what information they use.
My name was also stolen just from being read, thank you for fighting for our middle names
Gill?…..what a giveaway. LOL
Not really, there are many Inuit with non-Inuit surnames.
The following are the last names of some Inuit I know or who have met, who with 100% certainty are Inuit: Thompson, Gillis, Murphy, Lightstone, Gross, Elias, Hickes, etc etc. Assuming you can use the name to determine ethnicity, especially in Northern Canada, is foolish.
Anywhere in Canada. How many Legeres or Levesques do you know who have no Franco identity, and how many O’Connells and the like do you find in Quebec who have no Anglo identity?
Just in case someone misunderstands Observer, the Murphy he refers to is not me!! LOL I can almost hear the outcry!
If the only way you have identity is for govt agencies to tell you who you are, what you deserve or should have, you will never have freedom. Theres a saying, pray to the gods but move your own hand. Govts are primarily only interested in keeping themselves in power, that’s mostly what all these organizations do at meetings. Unless you are on the gravy train, too bad for you. I put this forward, it took 40 months to build the CN Tower. Why does it take a decade to implement a language system? Unless they are purposely delaying it. Or is the language is just so limited as compared to others that it’s cute but not the right tool for today’s business world. It’s like saying you should use an old broken down steam powered truck because that’s what we always used. Don’t trust the past. For that’d where it belongs. Carpe diem.