One of the founding members of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami has died.

Jacob Oweetaluktuk of Inukjuak spoke of the need for an “organized voice” for Inuit at the group’s first gathering in 1971, according to a news release from ITK. 

“Maybe we should have something like an Inuit organization,” he said. “Right now is the time to act so we may control ourselves in the kind of life we would like to have in the future. It is for these main reasons I think we are here at this very moment."

Oweetaluktuk later worked with the Northern Quebec Inuit Association and its successor organization, Makivik Corporation. He was also a director with the Kativik School Board.

Oweetaluktuk died October 31st. He was 76.

Terry Audla is ITK’s president. “Jacob Oweetaluktuk was an inspiration to Inuit as a young man, and as an elder, he showed us the way forward as we looked to chart the next 40 years of ITK,” he said.

ITK is offering its condolences to Oweetaluktuk’s family and friends.