Tungasuvvingat Inuit’s Executive Director (Acting), Amanda Kilabuk has been named to a new Ontario government Indigenous Women’s Advisory Council. The council is comprised of Inuit, Métis and First Nation women and includes representation from LGBTQ2S leaders to provide input on behalf of their communities on issues that include human trafficking and child, youth and family well-being.
“As an urban Inuk woman, I am proud to represent Tungasuvvingat Inuit as part of this council”, states Amanda Kilabuk. “I hope to provide insight into the realities that urban Inuit women face each day. It is very important to allow other Indigenous organizations and government agencies to understand the unique obstacles and challenges faced by urban Inuit women. Through our conversations and constructive dialogue, an understanding and education will be experienced at every level. Our ability to advocate is often limited and this council will provide an opportunity to advocate at the provincial level.”
Inuit represent the smallest portion of Indigenous peoples and it should be underscored that the Inuit population outside of Inuit Nunangat is experiencing unprecedented growth. In 2016, Statistics Canada data revealed that more than 40% of all Inuit in Canada now reside outside of Inuit Nunangat. Amanda Kilabuk adds, “Urban Inuit women must be represented to ensure the right programming and services are available and that all Indigenous organizations and government agencies that intersect with urban Inuit women are aware of the need and aware of how to best work with TI to provide access to the services. As an Inuk woman that has lived in Ottawa for more than 3 years, I’m fully aware of the realities urban Inuit women face. TI offers Inuit women-specific programming like the urban Inuit Women’s Support Group, Violence Against Women and the Alluriarniq program which, provides meaningful work in the area of anti-human trafficking”.
With the one year anniversary of the release of the MMIWG National Inquiry Final Report, the ongoing concern about the lack of implementation of the Calls To Action remains. TI is notified almost daily of urban Inuit women affected by violence or that have gone missing. We are now in year three of our anti-human trafficking program (Alluriarniq) and the need is greater than ever. By participating in the Ontario Indigenous Women’s Advisory Council, TI will advocate for real change. “As Indigenous women, we must continue to work to access stronger support and more funding to create and provide additional programs and services. It’s not one size fits all and a pan-Indigenous approach is not effective. It’s another reason that this diverse group of women representing all Indigenous cultures will bring effective change for the women of our communities”, says Kilabuk.
“There is a great deal of work to do and with my participation, I will ensure urban Inuit women are well-represented and advocate to improve outcomes. My message to urban Inuit women is that you are not alone and Tungasuvvingat Inuit will stand strong on your behalf in Ontario. I am grateful for this opportunity to represent TI and the voice of urban Inuit women and I am appreciative to the Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services and Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues Jill Dunlop for the invitation. Real and effective change for Indigenous women is possible and working together as Indigenous women on behalf of Indigenous women is the key.”