International Inuit Day Date in the current year: November 7, 2024

International Inuit Day International Inuit Day is celebrated annually on November 7. It was established in 2006 by the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC), an international non-governmental organization representing Arctic peoples (the Inuit, the Yupik, and the Chukchi) living in Canada, Greenland, and parts of the United States and Russia (Alaska and the Chukchi Peninsula, respectively).

The term “Inuit” refers to a group of indigenous peoples that inhabit the Arctic regions of Alaska, Canada and Greenland. The Inuit Circumpolar Council, however, uses it to refer also to other Circumpolar peoples, such as the Yupik and the Chukchi, because the synonymous term Eskimo is frowned upon by the Inuit. This causes some tension within the community, since the Yupik and the Chukchee don’t use the word “Inuit” to describe themselves.

Be that as it may, the Inuit Circumpolar Council represents the Inuit peoples of Canada and Greenland, as well as the Iñupiat and Yupik peoples of Alaska, and the Chukhi and Siberian Yupik peoples of the Chukchi Peninsula, so International Inuit Day celebrates the culture and identity of all these peoples.

The inaugural session of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, then known as the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, took place in 1977 in Barrow (now Utqiagvik), Alaska. The ICC was officially formed in 1980 and accredited by the United Nations Economic and Social Council in 1982. The main goals of the ICC are to strengthen unity among Circumpolar peoples, to promote their rights and interests, to seek partnership in the development of circumpolar regions, and to develop and encourage long-term policies that aim to safeguard the Arctic environment.

In other words, the Council seeks to strengthen ties between Arctic peoples living in different regions and to promote their human, political, cultural and environmental rights. It currently represents over 180,000 people belonging to various ethnic groups and living in four regions (Greenland; Nunavut, Northwest Territories, Northern Quebec and Labrador in Canada; the Chukchi Peninsula in Russia; Alaska in the United States).

The ICC created International Inuit Day in 2006. Its date, November 7, was chosen to commemorate the birthday of Eben Hopson, an American politician and the ICC founder. An Iñupiat, he was born and raised in Barrow. Hopson served in Alaska Territorial Legislature from 1957 to 1959. When Alaska was incorporated as a state, he went on to serve in the Alaska Senate from 1959 to 1967.

In addition, Hopson served as the mayor of Barrow and represented the Inuit in a court case against the U. S. Secretary of Commerce Juanita M. Kreps, who supported the International Whaling Commission’s right to regulate subsistence whaling for indigenous peoples. Although the Alaska district court originally ruled against Hopson, the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit subsequently overturned the ruling.

On the occasion of International Inuit Day, the Inuit Circumpolar Council cooperates with various organizations in Canada, Alaska, Greenland and the Chukchi Peninsula to organizeevents aimed at promoting the culture of the Arctic peoples and their indigenous rights, such as the rights to their land, language, religion, and other elements of cultural heritage and identity.

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International Inuit Day, international observances, cultural observances, Inuit Circumpolar Council, Arctic peoples