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Photo Aklavik school 1957

The Beginning of Aboriginal Political Organizations

Abraham Okpik
When I first joined the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories as an appointed territorial member, at that same time in October 1965, there were some people who asked us to attend a meeting of the Indian Eskimo Association in Toronto. …We ended up with, oh, there must have been at least one hundred and fifty people, all big businessmen talking about the problems with Canada’s native people and how they could settle these issues with trealties, and so on. … We finally got money from the federal government, from the Secretary of State, and that’s when organizations like ITC (the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada) and the National Indian Brotherhood were established. In the Northwest Territories and all across Canada, Friendship Centres were introduced through the organizations that we were working with, because native people had no place to go in large towns.
It was in the mid-‘60s that the federal government started to examine the situation of native people and their social concerns across Canada, and organizations such as the Indian and Eskimo Association, the Indian Brotherhood and the Eskimo Brotherhood of Canada were founded.

With the centennial year in 1967 and with the United Nations Declaration (in 1966) of the right of people to self-determination, different peoples started to realize that they had the right to speak, and that their speech could have an impact.