Inuit Self-Determination at Heart of Canada’s Arctic Research Funding Plan


Inuit Nunangat is an Inuktitut term meaning “homeland.” It is used to describe the four Inuit land claim regions and includes not just the land but also the water and ice. Inuit Nunangat covers more than a third of Canada’s land mass and half of its coastline. Map: Oceans North

A new partnership among ArcticNet, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and Polar Knowledge Canada hopes to use $50 million in federal funding to support five years’ worth of scientific research in Inuit Nunangat.

And it will be done while respecting Inuit self-determination, the partners say.

Inuit are Indigenous people of the Arctic. The word Inuit means "the people" in the Inuit language of Inuktut. Many Inuit in Canada live in 51 communities across the northern regions of Canada in Inuit Nunangat, which means "the place where Inuit live."

There are four Inuit regions in Canada, collectively known as Inuit Nunangat. The term “Inuit Nunangat” is a Canadian Inuit term that includes land, water, and ice.

ArcticNet is a network of scientists, engineers and health professionals who do research work with Inuit organisations across Inuit Nunangat. With partners from Inuit organisations, northern communities, 35 Canadian universities, eight federal and 11 provincial government agencies, ArcticNet works collaboratively with international research teams throughout Denmark, Finland, France, Greenland, Japan, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States, to study the impacts of rapid climate, environmental and socio-economic change.

ArcticNet, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) — the national organisation for Inuit in Canada — and Polar Knowledge, a federal scientific research agency based in Cambridge Bay, co-developed the proposal to the federal government.

It also involves more than 70 organisations from across Canada and around the world regarding the future study of the impacts of climate change and environmental impacts on Inuit Nunangat.

The partnership will focus on using Inuit knowledge to better understand and prepare for a changing Arctic, representatives from the three groups announced on 7 December at a press conference at Iqaluit’s Aqsarniit hotel and conference centre.

The money will come from Canada’s Strategic Science Fund, administered by the federal Innovation, Science and Economic Development Department and Health Canada, according to a news release issued at Thursday’s announcement. However, the amount of federal funding ArcticNet has requested has not been finalised yet.

The funding announcement took place as ArcticNet held its first-ever meeting in Canada’s North last week in Iqaluit.

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami president said partnering with ArcticNet will benefit Inuit Nunangat. He said ITK looks forward to future research in areas like climate change and community development, and then for Inuit-specific considerations of language, culture and the environment, wildlife and natural resources, as well.

Source: Nunatsiaq News