Nungak returned to helm of Makivik



Nunavik beneficiaries have given Makivik president Zebedee Nungak an overwhelming mandate to lead them into the 21st century.

The favorite heading into last week’s three-way race for the presidency did not disappoint odds makers, taking 79 percent of the Nunavik-wide vote. The results were announced during Makivik’s annual general meeting in Kangiqsualujjuaq.

“I feel entirely comfortable with the result,” said the victorious Nungak, whom Makivik’s board of directors appointed president in August, 1995 after personal problems forced his predecessor, Simeonie Nalukturuk to resign.

Distant rivals

Nungak’s closest rival, Lucy Carrier made a respectful bid for the leadership of the region’s most powerful Inuit-controlled institution, garnering 347 of the 2,305 ballots cast on April 11.

Just over half of eligible beneficiaries ­ 4,347 ­ bothered to exercise their voting privileges.

Though she had campaigned on Nunavik’s FM radio network to promote a more active social role for Makivik Corp., Carrier refrained from direct, public criticism of Nungak in the days prior to the election.

“I could never replace Zebedee,” she told reporters. “I have too much respect for him.”

Adamie Kadjulik of Salluit who did not attend the AGM in Kangiqsualujjuaq, placed a distant third, managing to muster just 121 votes.

Fresh mandate

Nungak said he considers his election to a new three-year term as a clear mandate to pursue talks with the federal and provincial governments on issues such as self-government and offshore claims for Nunavik.

An agreement-in-principle with Ottawa over Makivik’s claim to offshore rights in the Hudson Strait and the Labrador Sea could be weeks away, Nungak said.

Conceding defeat in the moments following the announcement of the election results, the deeply religious Carrier rose her voice in a hymn before delegates in the gym of the Satuumavik School.

As residents of Kangiqsualujjuaq trickled into the school gymnasium to help celebrate the close of the AGM with a community feast, the community representative for Chisasibi rose to offer thanks to Makivik’s board of directors for their help constructing new homes for Inuit families there.

“If it had gone any other way I was prepared,” Nungak said.

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