Ottawa, ON (September 26, 2016) 

Pauktuutit would like to clarify its position about the national inquiry on MMIWG in relation to an opinion by Senator Patterson published in the National Observer on September 21, 2016.

“The Board of Directors has never asked that Commissioner Robinson be removed. Our position has always been that a sixth Inuk commissioner be appointed.” said President Kudloo. “That said, we remain committed to working with the inquiry in the best interest of Inuit women, girls and families.”

Canada has committed to fully implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, but did not consult directly with Pauktuutit in that spirit on recommendations for an Inuk commissioner. “I would hope that Senator Patterson would also support this commitment, as well as the government’s promise of a renewed relationship with First Nations, Inuit and Métis that is rooted in reconciliation and gender equality. This is not about racism. It is about equality,” Kudloo added.

In an Op-Ed published by The Hill Times on August 3, 2016, Pauktuutit stated “Only we – as Inuit women – know the impacts of the wrongs committed by past governments and other institutions. Only we know in our souls the lived experience and intergenerational impacts of forced relocations of our people and traditional communities… We are survivors and former students of residential schools. Too many of us have not survived to see this day. Every day we live the spirit and meaning of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit, our traditional knowledge, wisdom and ways of living and being as one in our world as Inuit.”

Kudloo continued “Senator Patterson has never discussed the national inquiry with me or anyone at Pauktuutit. Although the national inquiry officially began its work on September 1, and Commissioner Buller said the next day that she is committed to working with regional and national Inuit women’s organizations, we have not heard from them and I have not been able to find any contact information for the commissioners or inquiry staff.”

“This issue has only strengthened our bond and ongoing dialogue with Qulliit Nunavut Status of Women Council. We will work closely with Qulliit and other partners for the duration of the inquiry and beyond. I continue to take strength from the many Inuit who have expressed support for our position and our work. As Aluki Kotierk of Iqaluit, Nunavut, said last week in response to Senator Patterson’s opinion ‘Atii inuuluta nipiqaqatauqataqta! Inuulutta ajungittugut – Let’s go all Inuit and be part of the voice out there! We have the ability!’”

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Tracy O’Hearn