Call to Action # 65: Actions and Commitments

National Inuit Strategy on Research

March, 2018

National Inuit Strategy on Research

The relationship between Inuit and the research community is replete with examples of exploitation and racism. Research has largely functioned as a tool of colonialism, with the earliest scientific forays into Inuit Nunangat serving as precursors for the expansion of Canadian sovereignty and the dehumanization of Inuit.

Inuit in Canada are among the most studied Indigenous peoples on earth. The primary beneficiaries of Inuit Nunangat research continue to be researchers themselves, in the form of access to funding, data and information, research outcomes, and career advancement. Inuit remain largely marginalized from research governing bodies and in turn from experiencing the benefits of research.

The National Inuit Strategy on Research (NISR) identifies five priority areas in which coordinated action is necessary to facilitate Inuit Nunangat research that is efficacious, impactful, and meaningful to Inuit. It identifies practical steps to advance Inuit self- determination in research as the means for fostering respectful and beneficial research that serves the needs and priorities of Inuit.

Priority Area 1: Advance Inuit governance in research


  • Achieve greater Inuit representation and decision-making in research governance, including the Tri-Council Agencies
  • Reform research-related legislative, regulatory, and policy mechanisms impacting Inuit Nunangat
  • Advance Inuit research priorities through Inuit Nunangat research governance bodies
  • Ensure Inuit self-determination in establishing research governance bodies, including selection processes
  • Establish accountable, coordinated, and transparent approaches to Inuit Nunangat research

Priority Area 2: Enhance the ethical conduct of research


  • Hold institutions accountable for adhering to existing ethical research guidelines
  • Develop Inuit-specific ethical research guidelines for all Inuit Nunangat research
  • Create transparency in the review and oversight of research in Inuit Nunangat
  • Broker Inuit partnerships with Research Ethics Boards

Priority Area 3: Align funding with Inuit research priorities


  • Inuit Nunangat research funding reflects Inuit research priorities
  • Enable research led by Inuit
  • Ensure transparency, coordination, and accountability in the resourcing of Inuit Nunangat research

Priority Area 4: Ensure Inuit access, ownership, and control over data and information


  • Advance Inuit self-determination in collecting, verifying, analyzing, and disseminating Inuit-specific data and information
  • Invest in Inuit-led data and information technology and infrastructure
  • Ensure ownership of Inuit data by Inuit-appointed entities
  • Utilization of Inuktut (the Inuit language) in data platforms and information

Priority Area 5: Build capacity in Inuit Nunangat research


  • Build human resource capacity in Inuit regions and communities to facilitate Inuit-led research
  • Establish an Inuit Nunangat university
  • Enhance built Inuit Nunangat research infrastructure

July 5, 2022

RETAKING THE LEAD: Establishing Nunavik’s new research governance organization

NationTalk: Nunavik Research – Kuujjuaq: With the official support of organizations involved in research in Nunavik and the Nunavik Marine Region, Nunavik officially entered the establishment phase for its new research approval and oversight organization. This entity will respond to the critical need of Nunavik communities and organizations to play a more meaningful role in research governance and management.

Over the past several decades there has been an increasing amount of research in Nunavik, led primarily from outside the region, which has strained local resources and capacity. In response to this, the new research governance entity will allow Nunavik organizations and communities to improve communications, build capacity and integrate, streamline, and centralize research management and governance. This will help ensure research of all fields truly serves the well-being, knowledge enhancement, and social, political, and economic pursuits of Nunavimmiut and better reflects Nunavik’s priorities, needs, values and knowledge.

This initiative is guided by a Steering Committee composed of representatives from seven regional organizations – Makivik Corporation, the Kativik Regional Government, the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services, Kativik Ilisarniliriniq, the Kativik Municipal Housing Bureau, the Nunavik Marine Region Wildlife Board, and Avataq Cultural Institute – as well as the Inuit Research Advisor for Nunavik.

The new research governance organization is expected to start its activities in 2024. The next two years will be spent on establishing it and getting ready for its operational phase. The establishment phase will be supervised by the Steering Committee and supported by the Start-up Director, Aleashia Echalook. Work to decide on a meaningful Inuktitut name for the new organization is already underway. More public communications will come as participation and support are sought and staff are recruited. Until this new organization is operational, researchers should continue to follow the various processes currently in place.


“Over the years Nunavik has been the location of numerous research projects, without sufficient sustained and tangible benefits for our people. It became clear that it was time to establish a Made-in-Nunavik organization that would act as both an entry point and a catalyst for positive impacts of research projects in the region,”

“I’m proud of the work that has been carried out by the steering committee as well as the numerous people who shared their experiences and impressions throughout the planning process towards making this organization a reality. Ensuring that research projects follow Nunavik Inuit’s priorities, needs, values, and knowledge will benefit Nunavimmiut, our communities and the entire research community.”

Adamie Delisle Alaku
Vice President of Department of Environment, Wildlife and Research, Makivik Corporation

“Nunavimmiut have stated loud and clear the desire to become self-determining when it comes to research. This new organization will help make this a reality. This new organization will ensure that Inuit will be the decision-makers for research about us and our land, that research will be more informed by our Inuit culture and values, and that our traditional knowledge will be more recognized and used. I also hope to see more and more Inuit becoming researchers, so we are asking questions and seeking answers that will improve our society, and working in true partnership with southern-based researchers.”

Aleashia Echalook
Start-up Director of the new organization


Nunavik is the only region in Inuit Nunangat without a centralized research review and approval process. Over the last two years, the Steering Committee oversaw the development of an Integrated Plan for the establishment and operations of a new research management organization for Nunavik. The Plan, informed by interviews with more than 70 people – primarily with key individuals in Nunavik leadership and Nunavik regional and community organizations – was approved by the Steering Committee in February 2022 and has now been approved and endorsed by twelve organizations in the region.

Pursuant to the Integrated Plan, the new research governance organization will achieve its objectives by fulfilling several responsibilities once it is established: In addition to approving and overseeing research through regional and community review committees, its Secretariat will identify, gather, and communicate research priorities; manage and communicate research information; support community research needs; and support researchers.
For questions, please contact the project team directly at Further information, including the associated reports, can be found at

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