Naomi Tatty

“Naomi is a teacher and a role model… a spoke in a wheel, connecting people and communities together. I don’t feel I’m exaggerating when I say that Naomi’s ability to connect with people and ensure they were taking their TB medication has saved lives.” – Anna Bunce, Nominator

Naomi is an Inuit woman living in Iqaluit, Nunavut where she plays a significant, albeit understated, role in her community. She is in her mid- thirties and works doing community health outreach for the Department of Public Health. She is an incredible and creative seamstress who can sew a parka that will keep you warm in the depths of an Arctic winter in an evening and who creates beautiful seal skin garments and kamiiks (traditional Inuit waterproof boots which are sewn by hand and made of seal and other animal skins. To create the soles alone you have to physically chew them with your mouth for hours). She was adopted by her parents and is one of nine children. She has a tween/teen daughter and son who are the center of her world.

Naomi was nominated by Anna Bunce, a young woman in her late twenties who recently started working as a First Nations Relations Advisor for the Province of BC. Previously, she was living in Montreal and doing climate change adaptation research in the Canadian Artic which is where she met Naomi. Anna nominated Naomi because…

“I met Naomi 4 and a half years ago when I first started visiting Iqaluit Nunavut for research work I was doing. She was wary – researchers have not always been kind or respectful of Inuit culture, tradition, or knowledge. Over a period of weeks, she questioned us, she challenged us, and ultimately decided we were a few of the “good ones” worthy of her community’s time and energy. Once she made that decision Naomi became an indispensable part of our project. Our work would not have been half as successful without her support and input. She went out of her way to help us and continues to do so. As I continued to return to Iqaluit our relationship grew from a professional one to one that is much more personal.”-Anna 

I am a woman
I am a lover
I am a war
I am sister
I am a role model
I am Native
I am welcoming
I am important
I think that’s it.-Naomi

Aquil Virani on why he chose to CelebrateHer: Naomi tells it how it is. She’s an Inuit woman, a community health professional in Nunavut, a mother, a daughter, a seamstress, and, as her nominator Anna Bunce puts it, “a spoke in the wheel, connecting people and communities together.” I had hoped I would be lucky enough to meet Naomi in person, but we ended up chatting over the phone. The 3-second time delay proved to be a wonderful exercise in patience and trust. After discussing how we wanted the portrait to look, we have become online friends too; one of Naomi’s latest posts reads, “Takualugilli niruaqtaulautunga, one of the 12 nominated and selected [for the CelebrateHer project.] It’s finally sinking in.”