HerStory 2021: Mumilaaq Qaqqaq

Mumilaaq Qaqqaq (she shares how to pronounce her name here) rose to prominence in Canada when she made an impassioned speech in the House of Commons on International Women’s Day in 2017. She was a part of a group called Daughters of the Vote, which empowers young women to speak up about what they want their votes to accomplish, and what their visions are for the future of their communities, both small (town) and large (country). Qaqqaq, an Inuit, spoke about suicide rates in Indigenous people, and her vision for a Canada in which Indigenous issues are front and center. She was approached by the New Democratic Party to run in her home territory of Nunavut (a largely Indigenous territory, and the newest, largest, and northernmost territory in Canada). She won her seat in Canadian’s Parliament by running on a platform that centered the basic human rights of Inuit people, including suicide prevention measures, securing more food security, insuring access to safe water, and increased access to safe housing. 

Throughout her tenure in Parliament, Quaqqaq worked hard on Indigenous issues and rights, but felt her momentum stymied at every turn. Earlier this year, she announced that she isn’t going to seek reelection. The racism she endured, both on a personal scale (she admitted to never feeling completely safe at work in a stirring speech on the floor, discussing how Parliamentary security would often question her rights to be there), and on a systemic scale (the futility she felt at trying to make change in the face of a bureaucracy that is steeped in historical white supremacy and systemic racism) was inescapable, and she came to the realization that she could do more good outside of the political structure. With the time she has left in her term, she has been advocating for stronger climate change policies, and, most recently, a reckoning for the harm perpetrated by the residential schools throughout Canada, pushing the Canadian government to formally investigate the crimes against humanity that we are learning more and more about. 

Our Aurora Borealis colorway in an homage to the otherworldly-seeming light displays that can be enjoyed in Mumilaaq Qaqqaq’s beloved Nunavut, and to the light that Quaqqaq is in Canadian activism. We hope you enjoy learning more about her, and keeping an eye on her as we are sure she will continue to advocate for the Indigenous peoples of Canada. She’s only 27, after all.