Tungasuvvingat Inuit (TI) will be opening the first Inuit 2SLGBTQ+ drop-in space in Ottawa. This will be known as the Arsaniq (Northern Lights) Drop-In.
“Sexual diversity has historically been the norm, not the exception, among Indigenous peoples,” said Jennifer Chafe, manager of Ilagiiqatigiitsiarniq, TI’s program created for helping support the well-being of Inuit families who may be affected by violence or for those who need help navigating urban, southern systems.
Arsaniq Drop-In will be open to the Inuit community for activities, workshops and discussions surrounding the Inuit 2SLGBTQ+ community.
This is particularly important for Inuit in Ottawa and other urban environments, said Chafe.
“Indigenous 2SLGBTQ+ people are more likely to experience violence than heterosexual Indigenous peoples. We’re talking about the marginalized of the marginalized. Twice as many are likely to experience assault, including physical and sexual assault than non-Indigenous LGBTQ+.”
The lack of services and resources for this group of people can erode an individual’s trust in these systems and may prevent a person from seeking help when needed.
The goals of the program according to TI include:
- Improving the overall health and well-being of 2SLGBTQ+ Inuit by providing safe, culturally appropriate spaces
- Support and enhance coordinated, community-based delivery to improve outcomes for 2SLGBTQ+ Inuit
- Provide a coordinated system of community-based prevention programs and services which are community designed and delivered to best meet the needs of 2SLGBTQ+ Inuit
Services of Arsaniq Drop-In are expected to include holistic, harmonized, culturally appropriate and strength-based approaches while providing a preventive perspective on the social determinants of ones own health. They hope to provide a reconciliation-focused program based on foundations of Inuit cultural identity.
The grand opening for Ottawa’s Arsaniq Drop-In will be on Friday November 25, 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Bronson Centre in Room 222.