International Inuit Conference Focuses on Changing Arctic

This article was last updated on April 16, 2022

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Hundreds of Inuit from across the circumpolar world are convening in the Northwest Territories this week to discuss a wide variety of agenda focused on a unified approach on everything from wildlife management to economic development. The president of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, Duane Smith, mentioned on Monday that “we recognize the Arctic is changing” and “we recognize there are certain negative effects that are taking place, but there’s also opportunities.”

The delegations participating in the conference included Inuit groups from Russia, Alaska, Canada and Greenland. It will be the first time in 12 years that the council has held such a meeting in Canada. The delegations included representatives from governments, academe, industry and other organizations, ultimately bringing more than 600 people to the small northern town on Canada’s northwestern corner.

An Inuvik man just elected to his fourth term as council president, Smith, stressed that he would like to see Inuit from different countries form a pan-Arctic council on wildlife. He alleged that the seals, polar bears and whales routinely cross international borders and Inuit from all countries should unanimously ensure their voice is part of the global conversation on wildlife. He stressed that “what I want to see is to get the Inuit people together to deal with wildlife management together, present their practices, their experiences, share their information and knowledge to try and develop broader working relationships with each other.”

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