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Student in race for president of national Inuit organization

August 3, 2018
Ali Blythe
Peter Williamson

Royal Roads student Peter Williamson is in a three-way race vying for the presidency of Inuit Tapiriit Kantatami (ITK), the national Inuit organization that works with the four Inuit regions to present unified priorities in Ottawa.

With a strong background in policy, research and advocacy for the rights of Inuit in Canada, the Bachelor of Commerce in Entrepreneurial Management student is an estimable candidate.

Williamson spent 20 years working as a policy advisor in Ottawa with ITK and Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, where he advanced Inuit interests including developing polices and consultation mechanisms to improve aboriginal economic development. His activism has included work that led to the recovery of the bowhead whale population and creation of the Meliadine Esker Territorial Park.

In 2013 he moved back to Nunavut to pursue government work, but found he was being screened out of jobs because he didn’t hold a degree. In 2017, he entered the Royal Roads accelerated Entrepreneurial Management program to achieve his Bachelor of Commerce, which he will do this month. He has recently been selected to attend the World Indigenous Business Forum in New Zealand this October where he will promote international Indigenous trade.

His work and research at Royal Roads has focused on the deleterious effects of living in overcrowded housing. If elected president, Williamson says that his number one priority will be to end the housing crisis in Inuit communities in Canada.

“This is the issue I kept seeing as a federal government employee, and this is the issue I will address as ITK president. We need to make the federal government address this issue as a human right,” Williamson says.

Williamson is running against incumbent ITK president, Natan Obed, and former executive director of the organization, Peter Ittinuar.

Elections will be held August 16.