Alaku seeks third term at Makivik Corp.

Incumbent proud of role in creating Inuit-owned cruise company


Adamie Alaku, Makivik Corporation’s vice-president for economic development, hopes Nunavimmiut remember his achievements on Makivik’s election day, March 30.

Alaku is seeking a third term. Since his first win in 2001, Alaku has travelled widely, from Dubai to Norway, to promote Nunavik. He’s shown he’s ready to ride a camel or model sealskin fashions to make sure the world knows about the region.

Alaku said he’s also made countless presentations to aboriginal business groups throughout Canada.

“Nunavik is a model that other regions want to get information on,” he said.

To boost Nunavik’s economy and provide jobs for Nunavimmiut, Alaku said he has tried to promote sustainable ventures, which draw on traditional activities.

As the vice-president responsible for economic development, Alaku is on the boards of Unaaq Fisheries Ltd., Nunavut Eastern Arctic Shipping, Natsiq Investments, Nunavik Creations and Cruise North.

As president of NEAS, Alaku said he’s made sure Inuit are employed on its ship, the Umiavut.

Alaku said NEAS has been profitable for the past two years. He said the company is looking at purchasing a second vessel, which will mean more jobs for Nunavimmiut.

Alaku is particularly proud of his involvement with Cruise North, a joint venture he heads as chairman of the board.

Cruise North started in 2004 as a five-year project to start an Inuit-owned cruise line in the Arctic.

“It looks extremely promising,” Alaku said. “The projections for 2007 look like we’ll be breaking even.”

This summer, the cruise company will employ 14 Inuit.

“I think we have made an exceptional accomplishment to helping promote tourism in Nunavik,” Alaku said.

Towards this same goal, Alaku said he’s working to see Nunavimmiut involved in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. He wants to see Nunavimmiut in the cultural activities – but his dream is to see a Nunavik athlete qualify for an Olympic team as an incentive for young people.

Alaku, the father of three, said he and the other members of the Makivik’s executive are encouraged by the response to their visits to the region’s schools.

Alaku said the students now remember the executive members and ask them good

questions. He said this contact with students is important because “they’re the ones who will run Nunavik down the road.”

To improve the overall standard of living in Nunavik, Alaku said he’s been working hard with governments on measures to lower the cost of living.

Alaku said he was disappointed by the cancellation of the Katimajiit Forum, which was postponed from February to late August, due to the March 26 Quebec provincial election.

That’s because expectations were high that at this meeting that Quebec would announce a series of actions to bring down the high cost of living.

Alaku, who speaks Inuttitut, English and French, has also lobbied in Quebec City and Ottawa on taxation issues and the need for Nunavik to have its own riding.

“They’re looking at the next election for a Nunavik [provincial] riding,” he said.

Before running for the Makivik executive, Alaku, a licenced airplane and helicopter pilot, headed the Kativik Regional Government’s transportation department.

Alaku also served as the municipal manager of the Northern Village of Salluit and was employed as municipal worker.

Alaku attended the Duke of Marborough High School in Churchill, Man., until 1971. He received the top student award at the Federal Day School in Salluit on completion of his studies.

Alaku was born in Salluit in 1956, growing up in Tudjaat (Nottingham) Island, where his father was the caretaker of the marine weather station.

He and his wife Sonia now live with their children in Kuujjuaq.

With the heavy burden of travel involved as Makivik vice-president, Alaku worries Nunavimmiut may feel he’s been too much out of the region to be in touch.

“I think we are seen as doing a lot of southern work, while their needs are not being met in Nunavik. ”

But Alaku said beneficiaries should remember his travels are always intended to bear fruit in the North.

“They have to be patient and we’re always available through e-mail and message systems if their requests are not taken care of.”

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