Nunavut’s new commissioner

“I promise to do this task to the best of my ability”


Wearing a simple black skirt and a red tunic adorned on the right with an elaborate corsage, and on the left by her recently received Order of Canada medal, Iqaluit’s Ann Meekitjuk Hanson took her oath of office last week from Justice Beverly Browne to become Nunavut’s third commissioner.

“By taking this oath, I have promised to do a good job… I promise to do this task to the best of my ability, so I will live by my word,” Hanson said, saying she that will always try to remain humble.

Hanson is no stranger to the job. She served as Deputy Commissioner of the Northwest Territories from September, 1987 until March, 1992, the first Inuk and the first Nunavut resident to hold that position.

“The things she has done have truly prepared her to be Commissioner of Nunavut,” said Premier Paul Okalik, who gave Hanson a handshake and a warm hug after her oath.

Hanson succeeds Peter Irniq, who has held the position since 2000. Nunavut’s first commissioner was Helen Maksagak, who also served as Commissioner of the Northwest Territories from 1995 until March, 1999.

Hanson was installed April 21 at a simple ceremony in the Nunavut legislative chamber attended by her husband, Bob, numerous family members and friends, Nunavut government officials, Nunavut MP Nancy Karetak-Lindell, and Inuit leaders such as ITK president Jose Kusugak and Makivik president Pita Aatami.

In 2003, Hanson was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada for making a “significant contribution to the social and cultural development of the North.” In 2004, she received the medal at a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.

“She is respected for her ability to provide valuable linkages between the traditional ways of her people and contemporary society,” the Governor General’s office says.

Hanson, who has enjoyed a long career in journalism and public service, is well-known in Nunavut for her work as a CBC journalist and as a community volunteer.

In 1973, she was the first editor of Inukshuk, the community newspaper that eventually became Nunatsiaq News. At CBC radio, where she worked as an announcer and producer, Hanson recorded numerous stories, legends and songs from Inuit elders.

She was born on the island of Qakutut, near Kimmirut, in 1946, and for her first 11 years, spoke only Inuktitut.

Later, she went to school in Iqaluit, Qamanituaq (Baker Lake), and Toronto. She has also studied at the University of Windsor, St. Francis Xavier University, and Nunavut Arctic College, where she received an honours diploma in journalism.

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