For International Women’s Day, the Habibti Team wanted to release one of our most cherished episodes to date. Nashwa and Ryan reflect on where they were this time last year as well as the origins of International Women’s Day as a socialist and workers’ celebration. The two watched Angela Davis in a packed audience at the University of Toronto; they saw people they loved and who inspired them and reminded them that change is possible. We urge people to remember that International (Working) Women’s Day should go far beyond thanking women in your life (especially if you are a man). The origins are in feminist struggles that work to also disrupt, dismantle, and unpack how we define women while we also work to re-imagine social relations women have in society including the gendered paid and unpaid relations. Today and everyday we want to remember that women are vital to struggles globally.
In Angela Davis’ words “you have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world and you have to do it all the time.”
We are honoured to have this episode, an interview with Member of Parliament for Nunavut, Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, be part of our International Women’s Day at Habibti Please. Nashwa and Ryan had the honor to sit down with Mumilaaq and discuss a range of topics often ignored in Canadian media. In the episode, the three chat about Mumilaaq’s riding and the unique challenges it faces in colonial Canada. Some of the challenges covered include access to healthcare, such as community members having to be flown out of their communities to give birth. As of 2017 approximately 40,000 women had to travel from rural and remote communities, mostly from the North, to give birth in hospitals. The cost of food insecurity and egregious price gouging of food in the North, as well as, the continued systemic repression of local food networks and businesses is also touched on.
This conversation also briefly discusses the subtle, insidious, and omnipresent nature of colonialism and the importance of all people living in what is known as Canada to pay attention to what the Federal government does not do and who they neglect. Media also plays a role in the romanticization of Canada through feeding manufactured discourses. Much of this is due to the focus on a Canada that is broadcasted to the world as one that is good to all of its people. Part of this discussion disrupts that idea and highlights the ways Inuit have intentionally been left behind in Canadian media coverage.
The three also broach on how climate change specifically impacts the North and the devastating effect that COVID has on the ability to organize and protest around environmental issues. This includes how corporations have continued to impose themselves on Indigenous land without consultation, permission, and without repercussions for their actions, something more easily facilitated during the COVID pandemic.
The three end off reflecting on Mumilaaq’s housing tour of the region. Mumilaaq gives us insight on how it impacted her financially and mentally in ways that other MPs are unaffected. The conversation also discusses mental health in the North and the range of ways mental health can be supported throughout the country. The importance of culturally competent and multi-method supports is discussed as well as the social determinants of health, including housing. We hope this episode makes people think about the North and the ongoing colonial neglect and intentional disinvestment in the region. Please check out resources that complement this episode to learn more. We also hope people check out Mumilaaq’s show, Moments with Mumilaaq.
We are grateful to have music from the North this week. This episode features music from Becky Han, a musician who grew up in Arctic Bay, Nunavut. You can find out more about Becky in the show credits.
Mutual Aid & Community Support:
This episode reflects on housing as a basic human right. The neglect of Inuit is egregious and we hope this episode illustrates the need for more people in Canada to be concerned and in solidarity with people in Nunavut who deserve housing. Mumilaaq and her team have focused on many issues this term, one cause they are strongly dedicated to is the right and guarantee to housing for people in the North.
Mumilaaq currently has a petition on her website, we encourage listeners to sign. The petition,entitled Nunavummiut Deserve a Safe Place to Call Home, calls upon the Federal government to invest in quality housing in Nunavut.
As described by Mumilaaq multiple times, moldy, overcrowded housing has been a reality for far too long in Nunavut. We again hope people visit and sign the petition on her website: https://mumilaaqqaqqaq.ndp.ca/nunavummiut-deserve-a-safe-place-to-call-home
As discussed here and highlighted in the accompanying readings, housing in the North is in a crisis and adequate housing is long overdue for Nunavut. We must do more to address this issue in solidarity, collectively.
Some readings that complement this episode:
Many IWD archival documents currently on the Rise Up! website are from the Toronto International Women’s Day events. You will find these on the March 8th Coalition/International Women’s Day page in the Organizations section.
Rise Up! Has a collection that includes materials about the many IWD celebrations organized across Canada in the past.
The Socialist Origins of International Women’s Day by Cintia Frencia and Daniel Gaido
Why the working-class, socialist history of International Women’s Day matters today by Katherine Connelly
Silvia Federici: Women, Reproduction, and the Construction of Commons by Art & Education
Women, Race, and Class by Angela Y. Davis
Guest of the week: Mumilaaq Qaqqaq
Mumilaaq Qaqqaq (ᒧᒥᓛᖅ ᖃᖅᑲᖅ), is an Inuk woman, Member of Parliament, and human rights defender. Elected in 2019, she is one of the few people to have given a speech in the House of Commons before being elected. Originally from Baker Lake, she now lives in Iqaluit, the capital of Nunavut. Mumilaaq has worked with Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., The Quality of Life Secretariat in the Government of Nunavut, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, and Qulliq Energy Corporation among other organizations.Mumilaaq is fighting for adequate housing, clean water, and food security in the North. ᐃᓕᓐᓄᑦ ᐱᓕᕆᐊᕗᑦ
Find Mumilaaq online!
Mumilaaq’s show: Moments with Mumilaaq
Additional music provided by: Becky Han Music
Becky Han grew up in Arctic Bay, Nunavut. She loves educating others about Inuit and Inuit culture through music and story-telling. This song, entitled 6-muarpat, provides a glimpse of her childhood when she had to be home by 6 pm for supper. The song reflects on how that time of day was a reprieve from loneliness for her because it was when she and her family would spend time catching up with one another.
Hosted by Nashwa Lina Khan
Show Music by Johnny Zapras and postXamerica
Art for Habibti Please by postXamerica
Production by Nashwa Lina Khan and Johnny Zapras
Production Assistance by Raymond Khanano
Social Media & Support:
Follow us on Twitter @habibtiplease
Support us on Patreon
Subscribe to us on Substack
Habibti Please is proud to be part of the Harbinger Media Network