Sheila Watt-Cloutier

Sheila Watt-Cloutier / Image via VIU

VIU’s Engaged Citizens Speaker series returns on February 8, 2022, with an important human rights issue—climate change.

Sheila Watt-Cloutier Siila’s presentation Re-imagining a New Way Forward with Intention examines climate change and meaningful action from an Inuit perspective, drawing upon her own activism and experiences.

Born and raised traditionally in Kuujjuaq, Nunavik (northern Quebec), Watt-Cloutier attended school in Nova Scotia and Manitoba. She served as the Canadian President of Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) from 1995-2002 and its International Chair from 2002-2006.

Watt-Cloutier has drawn attention to the effects of global climate change on the Inuit people. She was made an officer in the Order of Canada in 2006 and nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. Other awards include the Aboriginal Achievement Award, the UN Champion of the Earth Award, and the Right Livelihood Award.

In 2016, Watt-Cloutier gave a TEDx Talk on “Human Trauma and Climate Trauma as One.” Her memoir, The Right to Be Cold: One Woman’s Story of Protecting Her Culture, the Arctic and the Whole Planet (2015), was shortlisted for Canada Reads 2017.

Of her work, she said: “I do nothing more than remind the world that the Arctic is not a barren land devoid of life, but a rich and majestic land that has supported our resilient culture for millennia.”

Re-imagining a New Way Forward with Intention will be held over Zoom on Tuesday, February 8, from 6:30 to 8 pm. A live Q&A session will follow the presentation. To register for this event, click here. This event is part of VIU’s Global Citizens Week.


Sophia Wasylinko is a third-year Creative Writing and Journalism student. She was the Entertainment Reporter for CHLY 101.7FM in winter 2020. Her favorite things in life are cats, the color purple, coffee, and books (mysteries or books about ghosts, murder, and crime in general). Sophia is excited to be back in Nanaimo and hopes to explore more of Vancouver Island this year.

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