PRESS RELEASE: Inuit Qaujisarnirmut Pilirijjutit
New Inuit-led funding program advances self-determination and reconciliation in Arctic research.
October 27, 2021 – Today, the four regional Land Claim Organizations of Inuit Nunangat launched the second call for proposals under the newly named Inuit Qaujisarnimut Pilirijjutit.
Formerly the Inuit Nunangat Research Program, the program adopted an Inuktut name meaning “Inuit Research Program” to reflect Inuit self-determination in research. This program is the first Inuit-led, directed and governed research funding program in the world.
With a $3.75 million investment in Inuit-led projects over four years, the Inuit Qaujisarnimut Pilirijjutit sets a global example for how research funding can advance Inuit self-determination and contribute to ongoing efforts towards reconciliation. This program represents an opportunity to re-shape how research is governed, which questions are being asked, and who is involved in the research process.
“Reconciliation in research, to me, is the path to better communication, better involvement and better understanding of Inuit/Indigenous ideology in Canada,” said James Bolt, who chairs the ArcticNet Inuit Advisory Committee and is the Inuit Research Advisor for Nunavut. “We are always hired to be assistants in the field, rather than partners. We are hired to spot caribou from the airplane during a population survey…yet we are not hired to determine where the plane flies. Reconciliation in research will allow us to be partners of research, which will help us on our path to independence in research.”
This program implements Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK)’s National Inuit Strategy on Research (NISR) by allocating direct funding to Inuit organizations and Inuit to lead research that is prioritized and relevant for Inuit and Inuit Nunangat. It ensures Inuit are involved throughout the governance process and maintain control over research projects and data.
This second Call for Proposals builds on the success of the program’s inaugural year, where it supported 11 projects across varying disciplines in all four regions of Inuit Nunangat, from studying the origin of newly arrived geese in Nunatsiavut, to better understand how infectious diseases (such as COVID-19) could spread through communities in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region.
Through this program, Inuit have been able to conduct important research to the benefit of their communities.
“We have been trying to initiate a goose research project for the past few years. INRP not only enabled us to begin initial exploratory work on the project, but helped us to leverage additional interest and funds from other sources,” said Shirley Tagalik, a researcher on the Assessment of the viability of goose harvesting as a response to food sovereignty in Arviat project which received funding in 2021. “The support we are receiving is helping to ensure that we are not just looking at aspects of food security, but are able to explore indicators for food sovereignty and the implications for advocacy in this area of our work.”
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This program is led by the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., Makivik Corporation, Kativik Regional Government, and the Nunatsiavut Government. It is supported by Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) Canada, ArcticNet, the University of Ottawa, and Universite Laval and is funded by ArcticNet with funds from the Networks of Centres of Excellence Canada.