Governor-General honours Kangiqsualujjuaq

Adrienne Clarkson uses photo taken with community residents on Christmas card.


MONTREAL — Thousands of Canadians will see the smiling faces of Kangiqsualujjuaq residents over the Christmas season.

That’s because Adrienne Clarkson, the Governor-General of Canada, and her husband, John Ralston Saul, will use a photo taken of them in Kangiqsualujjuaq for their official Christmas card this year.

Clarkson visited the community of Kangiqsualujjuaq during an official visit to Nunavik last year.

Last year, the card showed Clarkson and Saul at the Governor-General’s official residence in Quebec, the Citadel of Quebec City.

This year, the card shows what the Governor-General calls her “spiritual residence” — according press secretary Stewart Wheeler.

Last March, Clarkson and Saul toured Nunavik, visiting Inukjuak, Puvirnituq, Kuujjuaq and Kangiqsualujjuaq.

Clarkson chose the photo, taken by her official photographer, Sgt. Julien Dupuis, in front of Kangiqsualujjuaq’s Ulluriaq School, because of its lively mix of young and old, Inuit and non-Inuit.

“It said something about the good feeling in that community,” Wheeler said. “I think we were touched by the community’s looking forward.”

Three years ago, on New Year’s Eve, 1999, an avalanche hit the gym of the community’s former school, killing nine people and injuring many others.

By her choice of photo, Wheeler said the Governor-General also wanted to underscore the important role native people have played in Canada and the role youth will play down the road.

“The community’s ability in the future to play that role lies in the hands of the youth,” Wheeler said.

Inside the card is a quotation from the Book of Isaiah.

Written in English, French and Inuktitut, it reads “maintain justice and do what is right.”

Wheeler said it’s one of the Governor-General’s favourite chapters of the Bible, and by choosing it she meant to underscore one of her recurring messages — that it’s essential to bring Canada’s founding peoples together.

Some 3,000 Canadians, all former recipients of the Order of Canada, will receive the cards.

As well, Clarkson sent cards to many individuals she met in the North.

Clarkson visited Nunavut in 1999. She will return to Iqaluit when the Queen visits the territory in October 2002.

Nothing is official yet, but she is also considering another visit to the North this spring, possibly to the Kivalliq or Kitikmeot region of Nunavut.

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