Netser’s comment was racist, sexist, Nunavut’s African-Caribbean group says

“We urge Nunavummiut to recognize our common battles and stand in unity”

Marchers gather in front of the Nunavut RCMP headquarters building in Iqaluit to call for solidarity between all peoples in Nunavut and to end racism and police brutality. (Photo by Meagan Deuling)

By Jim Bell

The African and Caribbean Association of Nunavut says “inflammatory” comments made by Nunavut cabinet minister Patterk Netser and Iqaluit city councillor Malaiya Lucassie on Facebook last week are “both racist against Black people and sexist against Black women.”

“ACAN does not condone any behaviour which aims to divide Nunavummiut, including through racism or sexism,” says the group’s statement, which was released on Friday afternoon.

At the same time, the association praised Premier Joe Savikataaq for removing Netser’s cabinet portfolios.

They also praised Iqaluit Mayor Kenny Bell for making a statement that said the Iqaluit municipal government is committed to diversity “regardless of the social constructs of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation.”

To that end, the African-Caribbean association urged Nunavut residents to stand together.

“In such sensitive times of racial tension, we must strive to remain sensitive to each other’s plights, and to stand in solidarity against all forms of injustices. We urge Nunavummiut to recognize our common battles and stand in unity to address these together,” the statement said.

A firestorm erupted last week after Netser made a Facebook post that suggested Black women who choose to end their pregnancies are a threat to Black lives. Premier Joe Savikataaq immediately removed both of Netser’s cabinet portfolios.

Malaiya Lucassie, a sitting member of Iqaluit’s municipal council who is also Netser’s daughter, wrote a reply under Netser’s comment.

“I had the exact same thought this morning,” Lucassie wrote.

The African-Caribbean association said they recognize “Canada’s position” on a woman’s right to choose an abortion, and pointed out that, on average, over one hundred thousand abortions are performed each year.

“These numbers represent women of diverse race and ages. It is unfair to demean Black women on a sensitive topic that women of all races experience,” the association said.

The group also said that it urges all Nunavummiut to protect and respect women.

“ACAN will continue to unite with Nunavummiut in their efforts to address social injustices to Nunavummiut of all races, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, and sexual orientation,” their statement said.

Solidarity with Inuit

The Nunavut Black History Society and its Black Lives Matter organizing committee also praised Savikataaq for removing Netser’s cabinet portfolios, saying on Oct. 8 that he “showed great leadership.”

“He has shown himself as a leader that really understands that injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” they said in a statement posted on Facebook.

The society followed that up with a formal statement on Friday that expressed solidarity with Inuit and other Indigenous peoples.

“Indigenous peoples have had their sovereign lands invaded and people of African descent were taken away captive to work these lands,” said the statement, signed by Stephanie Bernard, the president of the Nunavut Black History Society.

Bernard’s statement said people of African descent living in Nunavut “appreciate the love, solidarity and kindness of our Inuit landholders.”

And they said they offer Savikataaq their continuing support.

“We stand in solidarity and will endeavour to do our small part to facilitate any and all changes needed to create and sustain a more respectful, inclusive and just society for all.”

The society has also posted an online petition calling on the Government of Nunavut to implement a long list of “urgent actions” to create racial justice in Nunavut.

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(22) Comments:

  1. Posted by JOHN on

    When you hold public office , your suppose to keep your personal opinions to yourself and go with the flow. Freedom of speech is a illusion.

  2. Posted by Shaking my head on

    Someone should tell Patterk to stop talking. He keeps digging his own grave.

    Many still hope Councillor Malaiya Lucassie will be similarly held accountable for her comments by mayor and council. Her apology wasn’t public and it didn’t address the abortion aspects of her dad’s post. She’s been posting father-daughter pictures on her FB since. Effectively saying she sides with her daddy.

    • Posted by Morality Cop on Patrol on

      Oh yea, so what?

    • Posted by Concernd on

      Relax , go do something about it , when the next elections come around.

  3. Posted by Inuk on

    Obviously this family shows their true colours and should not be holding any form of Public office. They should be removed from serving anyone.

  4. Posted by See on

    John – Wrong, his opinion and believes should be why we vote for him

    Shaking my head – He has the right to say what he wants, even if it stupid

    Inuk – Cannot remove a democratically

  5. Posted by Nunavutmiuta on

    All my childhood life I was taught with hate from dominating society, and no one want us to hate? We learned from them.

    • Posted by Upon Reflection on

      “All my childhood life I was taught with hate from dominating society.”
      Sounds like histrionic non-sense and an excuse for mediocrity in life to me.

    • Posted by Nice on

      So now, as a member of Nunavut’s ‘dominating society’, it is your turn, huh? Nice….

      • Posted by Nunavutmiuta on

        Colonize us Inuit and killing our dog in doing so, force us to change our belief, force us to give up our own Language and all this while sexually, verbally and physical abusing us in the process. Who is the dominating people here?

        • Posted by Silly Question on

          Ummm, today, in Nunavut, the Inuit, clearly. Inuit values dominate every facet of life and foisted upon everyone who chooses to call Nunavut home, whether they want these values in their life or not.

          Next question.

          • Posted by Nunavutmiuta on

            You guys are joking right? our value are not respected at all not in a way it should be done, first of all, we need to have Inuit run Government, (INUIT RUN) with our own law, and guidelines, the government is a public government not Inuit run., and the guidelines are inherited from the southern government and it is not for the better for the Inuit. We Inuit came from and are strong believers is helping the person who gotten in trouble, talk to them and make then understand what they did was wrong and why it was wrong, whereas the southern Government are into punishing and make people feel guilty, and it is not our way, for hundreds and hundreds of years we dealt it as such, and that is how we survive. not by punishment or guilt trip which leads to more mix feelings and emotions and with no understanding what is wrong or right.

            • Posted by Tulugaq on

              Nunavutmiuta is right, colonialism is alive and well in Canada and that includes Nunavut. Many comments reflect the part of the Canadian society that denies systemic racism against Indigenous people. The aim of the colonial governments was to eradicate Indigenous cultures from the land and Inuit have also been the victims of these policies and many Inuit went to residential schools that taught the colonial way of life. No wonder that today many people find themselves between cultures and apply the same “medicine” to others that they have received from the colonial authorities. This isn’t unique to Inuit, it’s all over the globe when people victimes of colonialism or genocide will treat the “others” the way they’ve been treated and taught.

        • Posted by Why Not Paganism or Animism? on

          Tell me, why do so many Inuit cling to Christianity? There must be something in it that appeals.

          There is nothing stopping a return to paganism, but I don’t see it happening. Why not?

          • Posted by Silap Innua worshipper on

            I really agree. Nunavut = Christianity is a problem. The Lord’s Prayer before graduations or public GN assemblies, community fears of ouija boards, MLA proposals to bring in exorcists, supporting the Gideons distributing bibles in schools, that cross-shaped inuksuk on the flag… what gives? Were the Belcher Island murders not enough? If we want to decolonize, then we need to dechristianize.

  6. Posted by Pervasive on

    Look no further than the Facebook to this article to see Inuit, posting under their names without any concern for anonymity, essentially agreeing with Netser. It is so rare to see people openly voice their opposition to “them”, being Black Canadians, all of which suggests racism is very much ingrained in Nunavut and the majority Inuit population. This doesn’t fly in the rest of Canada.

    • Posted by Not Unusual on

      This is not new. The deeply ingrained xenophobia and racist attitudes among many in the Inuit part of the arctic are well known by those experienced in the region.

      This, together with a sometimes regressive ‘Christian’ attitude is often a surprise to those Canadian visiting from elsewhere though, I will agree with that.

      In this regard, Netser is not in the least unusual for the region.

    • Posted by LOL! on

      “This doesn’t fly in the rest of Canada”

      Have you been to the rest of Canada? We’re a deeply racist bunch, even if we like to be polite about it.

  7. Posted by Bob’s Your Uncle on

    When it comes to Freedom of Speech, and the philosophy of “I may not agree with what you say, but I will defend your right to the death to say”, doesn’t preclude a person’s narrow mindedness, racism, bigotry, and putting one’s foot in one’s mouth publicly. Down the rabbit hole you go!

    • Posted by Their Uncle’s name is Bob on

      I completely agree. The reaction of Petterk’s comment has more to do with crimethought than actual racism, which is worrisome. What harm has he actually caused? Oh, but “difference of opinion” qualifies now, apparently. And here I thought that the only snowflakes we would be blessed with would be the ones covering the tundra. Now, we have to deal with snowflake SJWs, mostly from the South or indoctrinated from Southern ideas, stirring things amok. Makes me long for the days of calamity when antisocial fiends like this would just drop away, be exiled or find the hunger in their bellies strong enough to shut their mouths.

  8. Posted by Iona Maksagak on

    Our own Government, people we elected, are discriminating against their own people, just to look good to the outside world!!!!
    Nunavut premier speak up for your people, stand up for your people,

  9. Posted by Bobby Patsauq on

    So comments from both sides be it Christians or Atheist, Muslim, freedom of speech is being diminished by morals, beliefs, colonist. The New Worlds Orders demand more or else those who oppose good morals will be labelled as undesirable and gather these comments and track down through tracing and black book and blacklist the when the right time arrives. So much fearmongering when we’ve nothing to fear nomatter what as man made laws will crumble to dust.

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