Natan Obed

Born in Nunatsiavut, Obed was elected last year as the president of the Inuit Tapariit Kanatami (ITK), the national body which represents the Inuit regions of Canada. He is a fierce advocate for Inuit across the country, spearheading the National Inuit Suicide Prevention Strategy, which he says is his most important task. Obed believes that the way forward for Inuit research is not just with Inuit participation, but when Inuit leadership is present in all stages of research. He says the 2016 Inuit Studies Conference is a “changing of the guard” in research practices with unprecedented Inuit inclusion.

Joar Nango

Based out of Oslo, Norway, Nango is an Indigenous Saami artist and architect who explores the Saami People’s history and culture through building. Saamiland spans across northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, and parts of northwestern Russian. Nango explains that as the landscapes change across the vast expanses of his homeland, so to do the styles and histories of building. The thing that unites Saami architecture, Nango believes, is its simplicity, adaptability, and DIY attitude needed to thrive in northern rural environments. His work has toured in exhibitions around the world. Currently he is teaching at the Tromsø Academy of Contemporary Art.

Natalia Radunovich

Born and raised in the Providenskiy District in northeastern Russia, Radunovich is a linguist and lexicographer whose work focusses on fostering an understanding of Russian Indigenous people. She has worked to help Indigenous people living in Siberia to achieve higher levels of education. Radunovich has been teaching the Russian Indigenous dialects both in the classroom and on state television and radio in the region. In her work on a dictionary project, she has translated over 19,000 Indigenous words into Russian.

Maatalii Okalik

Leader of the National Inuit Youth Council, Okalik says that she is inspired by the activist spirit of young Inuit in the 1970s and 1980s which helped shaped Canada’s relationship with Indigenous Peoples. With the majority of the Canada’s Inuit population under 30, Okalik’s role in representing Inuit youth is more important now than ever. Her work with the youth council has encouraged Inuit to become active politically both in the democratic system and through activism. With a strong voice and unwavering commitment to her culture and identity, Okalik speaks of the power held by young Inuit across the North.

Tanya Tagaq

Described by the Guardian Newspaper as “polar punk,” Tagaq’s music offers a message of unapologetic cultural pride and selfdetermination. She is a force to be reckoned with both on stage, playing with the likes of Bjork, a Tribe Called Red, and many others, and in her refusal to step down when defending Inuit culture and ways of life. Tagaq’s music defies categorization and challenges the distinction of the contemporary and the traditional. Tagaq’s keynote address on the afternoon of October 10th will be followed by a performance that evening at the St. John’s Arts & Culture Centre.