International Inuit Day

    Eben Hopson, founder of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (image courtesy of Stephen Cysewski)

    Today is the 14th International Inuit Day since the event was first declared in 2006 by the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) general assembly. The date of November 7 was selected to commemorate the birthday of the late founder of the ICC, Eben Hobson. Hobson first started the ICC in 1977 to represent and protect the Inuit way of life, and since then the organization has grown to represent approximately 180,000 Inuit of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Chukotka (Russia).

    Inuit Day was declared during the 2006 ICC General Assembly held in Utqiagvik, Alaska (also known as Barrow) as a way to celebrate the ICC, and the Inuit way of life, and the culture, history and impact Inuit people have on Canada and around the world.  Last year a joint press statement was released by the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, the Minister of Indigenous Services and the Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade to celebrate Inuit Day and to reiterate the governments commitment to working in partnership with Inuit to build healthier and more prosperous communities.  There was no release from the Canadian government this year.

    As of 2016 there are over 65, 000 Inuit people living in Canada, the vast majority (73%) of whom live in the Inuit homeland of Inuit Nunagat, a region spanning Northern Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Quebec and Labrador.  This traditional homeland encompasses 35% of Canada’s landmass and 50% of its coastline.  The same census indicates there are about 225 Inuit identifying people living in the Yukon.  

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