With over 3,000 people, Ottawa is home to one of the largest Inuit populations in the south and recent protests against vaccine mandates and vaccines have impacted dedicated services to those Inuit.
Tungasuvvingat Inuit, which provides critical services and social support to Ottawa Inuit on Feb. 3 announced its opposition to the Freedom Convoy Protest in solidarity with various other local Indigenous organizations in the national capital. Saying in a statement that it “has turned into large intimidating crowds threatening the safety of vulnerable individuals that require support from service and program providers in downtown Ottawa.”
The Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team, which provides dedicated medical treatment for Ottawa Inuit, says while its own operations haven’t been affected by the demonstrations, it has affected the ability for Inuit living in other parts of the city to access their services.
“I have been hearing that it is a barrier for some patients receiving their vaccination and testing appointments, if having to go through the protest areas,” said Connie Siedule, the executive director of Akausivik.
Nunavut Sivuniksavut, whose location is right on Rideau in the downtown area, is currently teaching online and has no comment at this time, said Lynn Kilabuk, executive director of Nunavut Sivuniksavut in an email to Nunavut News.
As of Feb. 9, the protests in Ottawa were on day 13 with no signs of it ending anytime soon.