|Strong public policies, informed by the best available evidence, can support optimal outcomes
for Inuit that in turn benefit all Canadians. However, colonial approaches to research endure in
Canada that prevent Inuit from making decisions about research activity in our homeland, such
as setting the research agenda, monitoring compliance with guidelines for ethical research, and
determining how data and information about our people, wildlife, and environment is collected,
stored, used, and shared. In this time of reconciliation, research governance bodies, policies, and
practices must be transformed to respect Inuit self-determination in Inuit Nunangat research.
Advancing Inuit governance in research is imperative for enhancing the efficacy, impact,
and usefulness of research for Inuit. This requires governments and research institutions to partner
with Inuit representational organizations to implement engagement processes that respect the
role of Inuit in decision-making when it comes to research involving our people, wildlife, and
environment. This must occur at the regional, national, and international levels of Inuit governance.
Since the 1990s, the Government of Canada has allocated hundreds of millions of dollars for
research taking place in Inuit Nunangat, which is the Inuit-preferred name of the geographic,
political, and cultural region whose various descriptions include “the Arctic”, “North”, and “North
of 60” – none of which accurately encapsulate the Inuit homeland. The current investments in
Inuit Nunangat research reflect a biological-physical science research bias that diminishes the
prominence and attention given to other Inuit research priorities, such as health and social science.
Moreover, federal research funding eligibility criteria tend to exclude Inuit representational
organizations from accessing funding as lead institutions or principal investigators. This coupled
with the absence of a university in Inuit Nunangat contributes to the continued domination of
Inuit Nunangat research by non-Inuit researchers based outside of Inuit Nunangat.
The purpose of the NISR is to address these challenges through coordinated actions that enhance
the efficacy, impact, and usefulness of Inuit Nunangat research for Inuit. The NISR is domestic in
scope yet it also acknowledges the international dimension of research on Inuit Nunangat.
The objectives and actions that ITK is committed to implementing in partnership with Inuit
representational organizations, governments, and research institutions, fall within five priority
areas: 1) Advance Inuit governance in research; 2) Enhance the ethical conduct of research;
3) Align funding with Inuit research priorities; 4) Ensure Inuit access, ownership, and control over
data and information; and 5) Build capacity in Inuit Nunangat research.
The interrelated, interdependent nature of these priority areas requires a holistic, coordinated
approach to implementing actions and evaluating progress. The NISR is intended to reach
the stakeholders, such as governments, academia, and other research institutions, involved in
Inuit Nunangat research. Inuit have brokered positive, mutually beneficial relationships with
researchers and are also undertaking research ourselves. There is growing recognition within the
research community about the partnership role that Inuit must play in Inuit Nunangat research.
At the same time, important transformations must occur at the policy level for Inuit to achieve
self-determination in research. Through the NISR, ITK will build on these advances, utilize existing
governance processes and broker new partnerships to meet the needs of Inuit in research.