Inuit Women Speak Out

From Pauktuutit, the national voice of Inuit women.  Will Inuit women now qualify for funding from SWC?  Because you can be certain the funding they have received from Indian Affairs has not proven to be enough to make the necessary societal change.



October 10 2006, Ottawa – Immediate.  Martha Greig, President, Pauktuutit
Inuit Women of Canada, is pleased to release Keepers of the Light: Inuit
Women’s Action Plan

President Greig noted, “The matters raised in Keepers of the Light are
urgent and have daily consequences in the lives of the women we serve and
their families.”  Keepers of the Light outlines Pauktuutit’s vision for a
strengthened partnership between Canadian Inuit women and the Government of

“Inuit women play an integral role in governing our communities and our
society. Inuit women are the links to the past and to the future; Inuit
women are the vessels of culture, health, language, traditions, teaching,
care giving, and child rearing. These qualities are fundamental to the
survival of any society. Keepers of the Light reflects this perspective.”
Ms. Greig added.

Inuit stand out from other Canadians in that they have by far the highest
rates of poverty, the highest rates of unemployment, the lowest levels of
formal education, the highest cost of living, the lowest levels of housing
quality and availability, and one of the highest suicide rates in the world.
Since Inuit women truly are the ‘Keepers of the Light‘[1], the impacts of
many of these appalling circumstances are disproportionately borne by Inuit

Pauktuutit’s mandate is to foster greater awareness of the needs of Inuit
women and to support Inuit women by providing leadership, voice, and project
excellence in the areas of equity, health, social well-being, cultural
traditions and economic development.

When it comes to implementing the Government’s Inuit policy agenda,
Pauktuutit is the primary, and often the only, national organization to
develop and implement northern community-based programs. Pauktuutit
identifies four priority policy areas that require immediate attention.
These are:

Despite the breadth of Pauktuutit’s work, the organization has always been
marginalized in influence and limited in resources when compared to those of
Canada’s other five National Aboriginal Organizations (NAOs). Though
Pauktuutit is broadly recognized as one of Canada’s six NAOs, this status
has yet to be acknowledged formally by the most senior levels of the
Government of Canada. Pauktuutit must at last, be recognised for the
independent national voice of Inuit women that it is, and supported to
contribute optimally to the creation of solutions to the critical issues
facing Inuit women, their families and communities, with the same stature,
resources, responsibilities and influence afforded the other five NAOs.

The Government of Canada must engage Pauktuutit to play a pivotal role in
bringing about practical, real and lasting change in the critical program
areas of the health needs of Inuit women, their families and communities and
the related issue of violence and abuse – a multi-faceted problem that is
undermining the health and well-being of everyone in Inuit communities.

A strong partnership between Pauktuutit and the Government of Canada
necessitates consistent and adequate support for Pauktuutit’s work in the
areas that benefit Inuit children and youth. Childbirth, FASD, teen
pregnancies, early childhood development, and child sexual abuse demand
attention. Pauktuutit has years of experience dealing with the full
dimension of these problems extending from birth to the intergenerational
legacy of residential schools. It builds upon experience and employs
practical, measurable solutions that offer long-term results.

Pauktuutit has a history of contributing to international issues.  We have
been granted special consultative status at the United Nations Economic and
Social Council and have earned a national and international reputation in
the realm of intellectual property rights (IPR) and protection of Inuit
traditional knowledge. There is a need for the Government of Canada to
establish a predictable and reliable strategy to support Inuit women’s
participation in international issues and events.

These four broad themes do not lend themselves to containment within
specific or separate sectors, government departments, or agencies.
Pauktuutit hopes that they are taken as a whole, to inform all programs and
services that are developed by, for, and with Inuit.

Pauktuutit gratefully acknowledges funding provided from the Inuit Relations
Secretariat of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada to undertake and complete
this important work.

Pauktuutit Contact:
Jennifer Dickson, Executive Director
1 800 667 0749 ext. 226


[1] The light

The qulliq is a traditional crescent- shaped Inuit stone lamp. It was
used to light and heat the igloo, melt ice for water, dry clothes, and cook
food. A wick made of moss or Arctic cotton was used to draw seal, caribou,
or beluga oil to the flame. In the winter, it was the only source of light.
It was the woman’s responsibility to make sure that the qulliq was always
lit. Without it, Inuit would not have survived Canada’s Arctic conditions.
The qulliq symbolizes survival and Inuit physical and emotional well-being.



One thought on “Inuit Women Speak Out


    Please visit our site to learn more about a plan to industrialize Canada’s eastern arctic on the scale of the tar sands and in so doing destroy barren ground caribou habitat forever with 20 uranium mines, nuclear power plants, transmission and gold and diamond mines.

    We are a very small group of Inuit and non Inuit trying to educate people about what is going on and the potential consequences, especially for women, children and hunters.

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