Heroes among Canadian Rangers
Bravery medal holders bid farewell to Adrienne Clarkson
Nine Canadian Rangers and two Junior Canadian Rangers traveled to Ottawa to bid farewell to Governor General Adrienne Clarkson on Sept. 21.
Among them were two Rangers who had previously been awarded the medal of bravery by Clarkson.
Sgt. Levi Palituq of Clyde River received his award for a brave attempt to pull a hunter out of the icy waters of Pond Inlet in July of 1996.
Palituq, then 31, ran barefoot across 50 feet of ice then dove into the ocean where he passed out trying to pull Daniel Kanayuk out of the water.
It was 2:30 a.m., and Kanayuk had been trying to get his snowmobile close to the floe edge. He was already unconscious when Palituq dove into the icy water. Kanayuk soon sank deeper as his clothes filled with water, and Palituq himself was pulled from the water with a sealing hook and treated for hypothermia.
Sgt. John Mitchell of Dawson City received his medal for saving a young boy from being mauled to death by two rottweilers.
When asked why they joined up, Sgt Palituq said that “being a Canadian Ranger reminds you that you’re Canadian.”
Asked for his advice to young people thinking of joining up, Sgt. Palituq stressed that there are personal benefits to taking their involvement seriously, since communities count on the Canadian Rangers’ expertise in many ways.
Two other Nunavummiut were also present at the Ottawa ceremony: Joe Amarualik of Iqaluit and Baba Pedersen of Kugluktuk.
Canadian Rangers work with the military to report unusual activities, collect local data in support of military operations and conduct surveillance and sovereignty patrols. They also provide local expertise, guidance and advice to Canadian Forces personnel on operation in the North, and provide local assistance to search and rescue activities.