Labrador group says Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami can’t ‘unilaterally’ decide who is Inuit

HAPPY VALLEY-GOOSE BAY, N.L.- Labrador’s NunatuKavut Community Council says a group representing Inuit in Canada has no authority to ask Ottawa to deny it access to federal programs and services.

The council is responding to a letter last week to Ottawa from Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami president Natan Obed, in which he said the council makes fraudulent claims of Inuit heritage.

Obed’s letter asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to exclude the NunatuKavut Community Council from Inuit-specific policies and services.

The NunatuKavut Community Council issued a rebuttal Wednesday, saying ITK does not have the right to unilaterally determine Inuit identity.

It says ITK’s claims rely on Eurocentric and outdated research about the council’s presence in southern Labrador, and Obed’s letter was “ill-informed and discriminatory.”

The council says it has invited Obed several times to visit the unrecognized NunatuKavut territory and to learn about its people and history.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 14, 2021.


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