Inuit leader Putulik Papigatuk dies at 69

‘Putulik was an important figure in the development of today’s Nunavik,’ says Makivik Corp. president

Putulik Papigatuk, pictured here at far left attending Makivik Corp.’s 40th anniversary celebration in Kuujjuaq in 2018, where he received an Order of Nunavik medal for his role in negotiating the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement. (File photo courtesy of Makivik Corp.)

By Sarah Rogers

Nunavimmiut are remembering the life of Inuit rights advocate Putulik Papigatuk, who died last week.

He was 69.

Papigatuk was best known as one of the 11 Inuit to negotiate and sign the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement in 1975.

He was named to the Order of Nunavik for his contributions to Nunavik’s land claims agreement in 2018.

“Putulik was an important figure in the development of today’s Nunavik,” said Makivik Corp. president Pita Aatami in a news release marking the former leader’s accomplishments.

“The [James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement] was the first comprehensive land claim agreement signed in modern times and could not have been realized without the leadership of the Northern Quebec Inuit Association, of which Putulik was a member,” he said. “Putulik’s role and contribution was invaluable.”

Papigatuk was born in an igloo in 1952, but lived most of his life in Salluit, then known as Sugluk.

He attended a federal day school in his home community until Grade 5, and then went to residential school at the Churchill Vocation School in Manitoba in the mid-1960s.

In the early 1970s, Papigatuk worked for the Falconbridge Nickel Mine and Asbestos Corporation, later purchased by Glencore.

Papigatuk stayed involved in politics throughout his career. He was also a member of the negotiating team for the Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement,  served as a regional councillor at the Kativik Regional Government and sat as chair of the Nunavik Marine Region Impact Board up until his death.

“We will miss him very much and we send our heartfelt condolences to his family,” Aatami said.

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(15) Comments:

  1. Posted by Che on

    Rest in Peace, good man. And may the family find comfort and peace in the coming days and years.

  2. Posted by Timoon Toonoo on

    I like to wish condolences to Putulik Papigatuk’s family and friends. RIP my friend.

  3. Posted by RIP uncle on

    Aalummi. Such a soft hearted kind and caring man. I will always remember him for never passing judgement on to others and giving his all. May you rest easy and reunite with Dad.

  4. Posted by Lorraine Brooke on

    Thank you for decades of friendship and guidance.

  5. Posted by Nalligivatsi – Lucy-mit on

    Condolences to his wife Nakasuk and his family.
    His life on this earth is finished and according to the bible is sleeping now until the sound of tittulautiks

  6. Posted by Courtney Costello on

    Putulik was such a nice man. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

  7. Posted by Adamie Kalingo on

    Grew up with him from 1958 when my family moved to Sugluk until 1974 when we returned to Ivujivik. Somewhere in that time, he and I kind of went our separate ways when we had to further our education. And, somewhere in thereafter, we got involved in politics and got elected into local and regional politics. Still, with all these big matters to consider, we were friends through and through and for life. “P.P.P. (Peter Putulik Papigatuk)” will not soon be forgotten.

  8. Posted by Sharon E on

    It was an honor to know and work with Putulik. He was a true leader with a pure heart for Inuit and Inuit rights. My prayers and condolences are with his family and many friends. God sure took one of the best!

  9. Posted by Morgan Douglas-Alexander on

    I am so sad to hear of Putilik’s passing. I had the pleasure of knowing him and his family when I was teaching in Salluit. He was always kind and a great person to talk with. I send prayers and warm wishes to his family that their happy memories of this good man will get them through these difficult days. God Bless.
    Morgan Douglas-Alexander

  10. Posted by Johnny S. Papigatuk on

    On behalf of my family and my mother Nakasuk Papigatuk Nakurmiimarialuk for all your thoughts and prayers, my dad Putulik died on Aug 5th at home next to his family and loved ones. I am the second oldest son and my older brother name Johnny Paulusie Papigatuk is who my dad dearly loved and he is in jail please pray for him again thank you all God bless

  11. Posted by Jobie Weetaluktuk on

    Sad to hear. He was truly one of our first fighters for respect in our own land.

  12. Posted by percy kabloona on

    Putulik Papigatuk it was nice to met you in person i will and your friends will miss you from kivalliq percy kabloona

  13. Posted by BRIGITTE BOYER on

    i had the honour of knowing mr papigatuk, i had the chance to call you my friend, my heart is with the family.,

  14. Posted by Jacques Lacroix on

    I would like to salute a very good man with whom I worked and travelled while working for the Kativik Environmental Quality Commission. He taught me a great deal about the Inuit culture and respect for the land. May he rest in peace.

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