Canadian Inuit prospering through unity and self-determination
Serve as a national voice protecting and advancing the rights and interests of Inuit in Canada
ITK is governed by a board composed of the following members.
President | ITK
Canada’s National Inuit Leader
Vice-President | ITK
President and Vice-Chair | Inuit Circumpolar Council (Canada)
Chair and CEO | Inuvialuit Regional Corporation
President | Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated
Charlie Watt Sr.
President | Makivik Corporation
President | Nunatsiavut Government
President | Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada
President | National Inuit Youth Council
Our president is elected for three-year terms by voting members of the board. Our office is located in Ottawa to maximize the national role we play.
- Chair of the Board – ITK President
Our four directors (voting members) represent the four regional Inuit land claims organizations.
- Director, Inuvialuit Regional Corporation
- Director, Makivik Corporation
- Director, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.
- Director, Nunatsiavut Government
Our three non-voting permanent participant representatives also sit on the board.
- President, Inuit Circumpolar Council Canada
- President, Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada
- President, National Inuit Youth Council
During the past four and a half decades ITK has been adept at adapting to the shifting political realities facing our people. It is because of our versatility that ITK is an effective and powerful voice for Inuit.
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, formerly the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada, was founded at a meeting in Toronto in February 1971 by seven Inuit community leaders. The impetus to form a national Inuit organization evolved from shared concern among Inuit leaders about the status of land and resource ownership in Inuit Nunangat. Industrial encroachment into Inuit Nunangat from projects such as the then proposed Mackenzie Valley pipeline in the Northwest Territories and the James Bay Project in Northern Québec, spurred community leaders to action.
They agreed that forming a national Inuit organization was necessary to voice their concerns about these and related issues, choosing the name Inuit Tapirisat of Canada (“Inuit will be united”) for the new organization. The first ITC conference was held in Ottawa later that year.
ITK’s early leadership envisioned a blanket land claim to Inuit lands in the Northwest Territories and Nunavik given the immediate pressures facing these regions while Nunatsiavut’s land claim would come later. However the acceleration of activity in the Mackenzie Delta region and Nunavik made work on a single claim impractical. ITK remained active in land claims by leading land claims negotiations for Nunavut between 1976 and 1982, through coordination of research documenting traditional Inuit land use and occupancy in the Northwest Territories, and by making preparations to manage the assets of a future settlement.
In addition to land claims, ITK has played a leading role in the broader recognition of Indigenous rights in Canada. ITK oversaw the Inuit Committee on National Issues (ICNI) which was organized in 1979 in order to represent Inuit views on Canada’s Constitution. ICNI was part of the Aboriginal Rights Coalition that successfully lobbied the federal and provincial governments to reinstate Section 35 of the Constitution after its removal during the 1981 First Ministers Constitutional Conference. Section 35 elevates Inuit land claims to the status of treaty rights and protects them within the Constitution.
In 2001, ITC changed its name to Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, which means “Inuit are united in Canada.” The name was changed to reflect the settlement of land claims agreements in all Inuit regions following the Labrador Inuit Association’s signing of an Agreement-in-Principal for the Labrador land claims agreement.
- Indian Eskimo Association formed in Toronto to represent Aboriginal peoples in Canada
- Committee for Original People’s Entitlement (COPE), now the Inuvialuit Regional Corp., founded in response to resource exploration in Western Arctic
- Tagak Curley represents Inuit in the Indian and Eskimo Association
- Inuit Tapiritsat of Canada (ITC) -later renamed Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) - founded in Ottawa (displayed in photo)
Founding President - Tagak Curley (displayed in photo)
- ITC’s first AGM held in Pangnirtung
- Northern Quebec Inuit Association (now Makivik Corp.) created to negotiate Nunavik land claims
- Labrador Inuit Association (now Nunatsiavut Government) founded to begin land claims negotiations
President - James Arvaluk
- ITC delegation to Alaska to study Alaska Native land claims led by Jose Kusugak
- Baffin Region Inuit Association established, followed by Keewatin Inuit Association and the Kitikmeot Inuit Association
- James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement signed in Quebec City (displayed in photo)
- ITC establishes NWT Land Claims Committee
- Inuvialuit split from ITC to negotiate a separate land claims agreement and are represented by Committee for Original Peoples Entitlement (COPE)
- ITC submits first proposal for Nunavut Territory to Government of Canada
- Inuit Circumpolar Conference (ICC) created by Eben Hopson of Barrow, Alaska
President - Michael Amarook
President - Eric Tagoona (displayed in photo)
- ITC requests formal status at upcoming Constitutional Conference
- ITC lobbies for inquiry into the proposed Polar Gas Pipeline through the Arctic
- Labrador Inuit Association files Statement of Claim with federal government
- COPE signs Inuvialuit Agreement in Principle
- ITC granted observer status at First Minister’s constitutional conference
- ITC seeks injunction to stop all mineral exploration in the Baker Lake area
- Inuit Committee on National Issues (ICNI) formed to represent ITC’s voice in constitutional discussion
- ITC creates Inukshuk project, the first Inuit involvement with television broadcasting
President - Michael Amarook
- NWT Council agrees in principle to the creation of Nunavut (displayed in photo)
- Inuit Broadcasting Corporation (IBC) created upon completion of Inukshuk project
President - John Amagoalik
- Tungavik Federation of Nunavut (now Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.) founded to negotiate Nunavut land claims agreement
- Plebiscite on division of the NWT is supported by 56% of voters
- Inuit Circumpolar Council opens office in Ottawa and granted NGO status by United Nations
- Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada is formed
- Inuvialuit Final Agreement signed (displayed in photo)
President - Rhoda Inukshuk
- ITC opposes transfer of federal responsibilities to GNWT
- Inuit Committee on National Issues disbands when funding expires
President - John Amagoalik
- ITC takes over publication of Inuktitut Magazine from Department of Indian and Northern Affairs (displayed in photo)
President - Rosemary Kuptana
- Creation of Inuit Committee on Constitutional Issues
- ITC participates in meeting of Ministers of Constitutional Affairs
- ITC seeks study into High Arctic Exiles resulting in the Canadian Human Rights Commission’s Soberman Report—confirming that the relocation was a poorly managed social experiment—and calls for an apology
- Brian Mulroney, Nellie Cournoyea, and Paul Quassa sign the Nunavut Final Agreement in Iqaluit (displayed in photo)
President - Mary Sillet
President - Okalik Eegeesiak (displayed in photo)
- Nunavut territory created April 1
President - Jose Kusugak (displayed in photo)
- ITC board votes to change name to Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami to reflect success in land claims agreements
- New logo unveiled on Parliament Hill by Jose Kusugak
- Inuit join political opposition to Federal Firearms Registry
- Labrador Final Agreement is ratified
- Nunatsiavut Government created
- Government of Newfoundland and Labrador apologizes to relocates of the former communities of Nutak and Hebron
- Nunavik Inuit sign offshore claims agreement, staking claim to areas not included in the 1975 JBNQ Agreement
President - Mary Simon (displayed in photo)
- ITK and Health Canada Minister Tony Clement sign agreement on Inuit Health priorities
- Government of Canada apologizes to former students of residential schools
- Inuit subcommittee of Truth and Reconciliation Commission created for Inuit survivors of residential school
- ICC releases Circumpolar Inuit Declaration on Resource Development in Inuit Nunaat
- Federal government apologizes to families relocated to Grise Fiord and Resolute Bay in the 1950s
- ITK releases National Strategy on Inuit Education
- ITK celebrates 40 years of Inuit advocacy
President - Terry Audla
- ICC represents Inuit in Canadian delegation that signed Minamata a global Convention on Mercury emissions
- EU General Court rules against exemption to the seal ban for the sustainable use of seals (displayed in photo)
- Devolution of land and resources responsibilities to NWT
President - Natan Obed
- Inuit recommend standardizing Inuktut using Roman Orthography (displayed in photo)
Our team of more than 30 employees is organized into eight departments.
- Health & Social Development
- Environment & Wildlife
- Amaujaq National Centre for Inuit Education
- Inuit Qaujisarvingat
- Finance & Administration
- Human Resources
Our executive office is staffed by the following:
- Executive Director
- Political Advisor
- Legal Advisor
- Executive Assistant
Our President is elected for three year terms during our Annual General Assembly.
Our current President, Natan Obed, is from Nain, Nunatsiavut. Prior to moving to Ottawa, he lived in Iqaluit, Nunavut for 10 years, where he worked for Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. as the Director of Social and Cultural Development. NTI represents the rights of beneficiaries of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement. Obed has devoted his entire professional career to working on behalf of Inuit representational organizations to improve the health and well-being of Inuit in Canada.