Addressing prevalent violence against Inuit women, girls 2SLGBTQQIA+ people and their children is "not a preference — it's an imperative," said Pauktuutit President Rebecca Kudloo, as she released the National Action Plan for Inuit, in response to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls final report.
On Thursday, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and Pauktuutit shared the action plan which honours 46 Inuit-specific calls to justice of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG), a news release states.
It focuses on 187 actions related to housing, justice and policing, health and wellness and economic security, all in line with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and the recommendations of the MMIWG final report.
"If we are to end the tragedy of gendered violence, Inuit women must be at the forefront of implementation and monitoring of the National Action Plan for Inuit," said Kudloo.
Violence against Inuit women is 14 times the national average, states a backgrounder on the action plan.
The plan addresses "underlying factors" that contribute to the prevalence of violence against Inuit women, girls 2SLGBTQQIA+ people and their children — limited access to shelters and other safe spaces, to health and wellness supports and housing shortages in Inuit communities, the release states.
2SLGBTQQIA stands for two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual people.
Pauktuutit and ITK say governments and Inuit land claim organizations have to lead the implementation of the Inuit Action Plan, with a rights-based approach.
It breaks down 187 actions into three categories of responsibility: federal, provincial/territorial and Inuit-led actions.
Here are the top priorities according to Pauktuutit:
Construct new shelters and transition housing for Inuit women and children fleeing domestic violence. "These will save lives and must be built as soon as possible," the plan states.
Improve healthcare services for Inuit women and build access to Inuit midwifery in every community, as well as mental health services.
Greater success in education from K-12 and post-secondary. Give Inuit women access to training and education so they can have financial independence. The 2016 census shows 43 per cent of Inuit women have not completed high school making them ineligible for post-secondary education.
Create community-designed and community-led healing programs, with sustained and predictable funding.
Keep Inuit women at the forefront while implementing the National Action Plan for Inuit and make decisions with a gender-based lens.
Many groups had a hand in the National Inuit Action Plan — Pauktuutit and ITK, representatives from Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., Makivik Corporation and Nunatsiavut Government.
There were also representatives from four community organizations: Family and Survivors Circle, Tungasuvvingat Inuit, AnanauKatiget Tumingit and Saturviit Inuit Women's Association of Nunavik.
ITK President Natan Obed said the plan came about through "intense collaboration by Inuit to identify the measures required to create conditions of safety, security and wellbeing for Inuit women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ people."
Obed said ITK is committed to implement that plan, and that the federal, territorial and provincial governments must "commit funds for their immediate implementation."