Tungasuvvingat Inuit hosting its first-ever Pride conference

Goal of Ottawa gathering to ‘create safer spaces’ for queer Inuit community, says organizer

Tungasuvvingat Inuit in Ottawa is hosting its first-ever Inuit Pride conference later this month, bringing together more than two dozen participants to discuss how to create safer spaces for queer Inuit across Canada, organizer Mikka Komaksiutiksak said. (File photo)

By Madalyn Howitt

A historic conference bringing queer Inuit together in Ottawa is set to kick off later this month.

The Inuit Pride conference, hosted by Tungasuvvingat Inuit, is scheduled to run from Aug. 14 to 18 and include more than 25 participants from across Canada and Inuit Nunangat.

It’s the first time the Inuit organization has hosted a conference specifically for Inuit who identify as 2SLGBTQ+.

“Our goal is to create safer spaces for the queer community,” said organizer Mikka Komaksiutiksak.

Komaksiutiksak, who has been a child and youth advocate for more than 12 years, said she hears often from Inuit youth seeking resources to help them navigate their identities.

“I never had any specific resources to give them that were focused on Inuit belief systems and who we are,” she said.

That led to the creation of TI’s Arsaniq program, which hosts a community drop-in space for queer urban Inuit youth in Ottawa.

Komaksiutiksak hopes holding a Pride conference by Inuit and for Inuit will give queer community members the opportunity to identify barriers they face and offer recommendations for queer Inuit-specific programming.

“It’s always been my goal to have a conference like this, to ensure that we are the ones leading this conversation,” she said, adding she believes it’s important to bring together Inuit from different regions who may have “different barriers and strengths” that inform their experiences.

“This also helps build a network of queer Inuit together and it shows collaboration, cohesiveness and that this safe space is going to be created nationally for all.”

Other organizations participating in the conference include the Arctic Rose Foundation, the Tunngasugit Inuit resource centre in Winnipeg, Lateral Love Designs and Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada.

In addition to roundtable discussions, the conference will include events like sharing stories over tea, workshops on sexual health and gender, presentations on how to create emotionally safe spaces for youth, and an opportunity for participants to write a letter to their younger selves in Komaksiutiksak’s therapeutic arts workshop.

Organizers intend to write a formal report following the conference. Komaksiutiksak hopes to grow it into an annual event and eventually open up participation to youth under 18 years old.

Travel and accommodations have been booked for participants travelling from outside of Ottawa, but Inuit within the city can still register to attend by emailing Komaksiutiksak at mkomaksiutiksak@tiontario.ca.

“This [conference] is extremely important in terms of visibility as a queer person and representation within the Inuit community,” Komaksiutiksak said.

“When we look at traditional Inuit societies, there were different ways of living and being. I’m hoping to hear from other people at the conference what that means to them [and] what it could mean for our community members.”

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(9) Comments:

  1. Posted by Sarcasm on

    What a good use of out tax dollars.

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    • Posted by Northerner on

      Have the Elders been consluted ?

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    • Posted by Johnny Oh Ima on

      It’s great use, it’s not like they are spending billions and millions. Not everything is about taxes, and it’s not affecting you very much anyways. The conference was already budgeted, I am assuming that the funding came from Indigenous programs from the province of Ontario that TI receives. I am pretty sure you are in great pain cause of the use of funds and we can send a team of support staff to heal you but then again that would be a waste of your hard earn taxes that was going to the government anyways.

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  2. Posted by Mit on

    Pride month was in June.

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    • Posted by I am Indigenous on

      Indigenous History Month is in June. I do not understand why the Government of Canada does not put this ahead of Pride Month. By all means, be proud that you are LGBTQ2S. With that being said, the schools should put up the indigenous banner flag in May and June to recognize that it is Indigenous History Month in June. Truth. Reconciliation.

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  3. Posted by Gurwinder quotes on

    This reminds me of a Gurwinder quote I saw on Twitter today:

    “Don’t take people too seriously. Everyone is essentially just a marketing campaign for their genitals.”

    Funny

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  4. Posted by monty sling on

    would have been much better if $$$ were use to feed Ottawa Inuit shame.

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    • Posted by Sad truth on

      Institutional capture by activists has become the norm.

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  5. Posted by What? on

    The homophobia in these comments is proof that Inuit culture has a long way to go in the ways of tolerance. It’s not all about the money.

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