Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut June 22, 2012 - 3:05 pm

Nunavummiut receive Commissioner’s awards

Nunavut Commissioner Edna Elias honours bravery, community service and volunteerism in the Kivalliq region


Nunavut Commissioner Edna Elias recently returned from visiting four communities in Nunavut’s Kivalliq region, where she hosted community gatherings and presented the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medals and Commissioner’s awards to many Nunavummiut.

“It was a wonderful opportunity to recognize many people who have performed brave acts, assisted those in their communities and have made their communities proud,” Elias said.

In Chesterfield Inlet on June 10, she presented Commissioner’s awards to:

• Peter Jr. Kattegatsiak — for his help in finding elder Louis Autut who had been lost on the land for more than 30 hours in a fierce blizzard;

• Leo Mimialik — for the teaching of survival skills and knowledge of land and sea that he accumulated all his life.  “His contributions are essential for current and future generations;”

• Scott Sammurtok-Walters — for his high achievements, involvement in the community and commitment to making his community a better place; and,

• Jordin Ippiak — for his commitment to achieving additional high school credits after meeting graduation requirements and for having the qualities needed to be selected by the RCMP to work on their summer program.

In Baker Lake on June 11, Elias presented six Commissioner’s awards:

• Late Bill Martee and David Simailak — for their volunteer work delivering church services and acting as pianist for all church occasions for more than 35 years;

• Martha Aptanik and Victoria Kayuryuk — for risking their own lives to help save Nancy Kangiryuaq and her baby, Ruth Neevick, when they fell through thin ice;

• Sammy Arnaluaq —  for his act of courage, when as a small child, “he was on his own without any adult supervision and was ultimately responsible for helping to save his father’s life;” and

• Moses Parker — for his quick response when he noticed that Jacob Mautaritnaaq was in distress out on the land. “He immediately rushed him to the Health Center, likely saving his life.”

In Arviat on June 15 Elias presented nine Commissioner’s awards to:

• Nancy Kalluak — for taking it upon herself to host and set up activities for elders.  “Her volunteer work, fundraising efforts and energy, all serve to make life more enjoyable for the elders;”

• Tony Uluadluak,  Pierre Ikakhik,  Dominic Pingushat — for volunteering on many committees but mainly for their volunteer work with the local coroners, preparing the deceased for funerals.  “Their dedication gives peace of mind to the families and friends of those who pass away;”

• Late Jimmy Ishalook — for forming a search and rescue team in Arviat in 1975, when John Uhotooq went missing;

• Michael Emiktowt Illnik — for saving Ethan (Blu) Kablutsiaq Tassiuk “who was being mauled by a ferocious dog on April 26, 2009;”

• Peter Alareak — for taking action when he noticed that Michael Ivu was in trouble while wolf hunting and as a result saved his life;

• Johnny Karetak — for serving more than 30 years as a special constable with the RCMP in the days where survival depended on skills. “After retirement he continued to share his expertise with organizations and his community;” and,

• Rhoda Karetak — “for being a mentor and advisor to others and for truly living Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit in all areas of her life. And for her generosity towards everyone in need of food, advice or clothing as well as teaching others throughout her life.

At the same event, Elias and Arviat MLA, Daniel Shewchuk presented Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medals to Rhoda Akpaliapik Karetak, Donald Uluadluak Sr., and Lois Suluk-Locke.

The Diamond Jubilee medal was created to mark the 60th anniversary of her accession to the throne and is being awarded to 60,000 Canadians for their contributions to their community, province or territory, and/or Canada.

On June 17, Elias also presented Jordin Kalluk Tootoo with a Diamond Jubilee medal at a small reception for family and close friends.

“Despite his young age, Jordin Kalluk Tootoo is a very strong and brave man.  For the love of his hockey career, he had the courage and strength to admit what was becoming a negative impact on his game – alcoholism.  As a highly respected role model in Nunavut, he is a real man. It takes a man to admit his weakness but a “real man” to deal with it, thus becoming a greater player and role model,” Elias said.

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