As traditional people, we Inuit never belonged to any political parties, let alone were we able to vote at elections. We did not know anything about them. And we Indigenous People were only given a RIGHT to vote in 1960 in Canada by our Canadian government. Prior to that time, we Inuit were not even considered “Canadians” by our Government. In those days, we always used to say: “Kanatamiut” “Those who live in Canada.” Meaning all southern Canadians.
However, we became involved in politics in the 1960’s, only because we knew people who were in power, such as Jean Chretien, when he was Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development in 1968. We became involved with federal parties, not knowing much about them. We only knew them as Isumataaluit – “Big Bosses.” And then, from there, many of us became Liberals. Some joined Conservatives but not many became New Democrats at that time, as it was less known. When it came time for elections, we voted for the best person. Today, most of our people are more educated and informed and have a better understanding of these parties, and they run for a party of their choice.
At 74 years old, I have seen a lot of changes from iglu to federal elections. I hope, this helps to make people understand a bit more of how we Inuit got here. Today, I don’t belong to any party. I am free to choose, and endorse who I believe will represent Inuit interests best in the Parliament of Canada. And Nunavut interests as well. I also look for someone who will represents Inuit culture.
These stories about moving from iglu to internet in less than 60 years, must be told, must be educated with, and informed with by Canadians. The Canadian government only discovered us Inuit 60 years ago! And they started sending us to residential schools and then to southern Canada for vocational training such as mechanics. The government used to have a saying: “Those Eskimos are good mechanics.” You know what, I agree with the government on that statement! Inuit are very good mechanics, we are very good with our hands. My son Ted is a very good mechanic and a good role model.