An Inuk woman took to TikTok to call out critics who have been pushing for Inuits — the indigenous people of northern Canada, Alaska and Greenland — to switch to a vegan or vegetarian diet.
On Sept. 11, the user, who goes by the handle koonoo.han, shared a photo of a tray of baby carrots, broccoli and hummus that was priced at $70 Canadian dollars.
“So before you start telling Inuits, the indigenous people of the Canadian Arctic, to just go vegan or become a vegetarian because hunting animals is wrong, eating meat is bad, living a sustainable life is bad, how?” she asks, while pointing to the photo in her TikTok. “When a tray of baby carrots and a thing of broccoli and hummus is $70?”
The woman then repeats herself to emphasize her point.
“Seventy dollars in Canada,” she says. “This photo was taken in Inuvik, Northwest Territories. It’s one of the territories in the Canadian Arctic — a photo taken just yesterday, Sept. 10, 2020.”
The user’s TikTok has since gone viral, racking up more than 364,000 views and over 2,000 comments from empathetic users.
“These are the original people of the land,” one person wrote in reference to the Inuits. “They have MORE right to anything here than any of us. We forced them to appropriate when we took their land.”
“Im so sorry this happened,” another added. “Personally I believe that we should make switches where it is accessible. Please [keep] using what you have around you.”
Beyond the food’s exorbitant price, the woman’s TikTok also highlights a much larger issue within the Inuit community: food insecurity. Because the long winters prevent produce from being consistently grown in northern Canada, food gets delivered by plane or ship several times a year, according to Business Insider. As a result, most foods are priced incredibly high — a 2.2-pound bag of grapes, for example, can cost upwards of $22.
The Nuluaq Project, an advocacy organization, further notes that perishables often go spoiled in the region, making nutritious foods hard to come by. Climate change and resource extraction also create roadblocks for Inuits to access healthy food.
If you’re interested in more stories like this, consider reading why suicide rates among Native American teens are so high.
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