Raymond Ningeocheak has died at the age of 81. He served as vice-president of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. from 1993 to 2011 and was involved in several initiatives including bowhead whale hunt limits, polar management and trichinella testing on walruses. (Photo courtesy of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.)

Raymond Ningeocheak mourned as ‘true and selfless leader’

Longtime NTI vice-president was a signatory of Nunavut Agreement, pushed for Inuit self-determination

By David Lochead

Raymond Ningeocheak, a longtime vice-president of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. and member of numerous organizations in the territory, is being remembered this week for his long service to Nunavut.

Ningeocheak died Sept. 28. He was 81.

“On behalf of Nunavut Inuit, I give my deepest condolences to Raymond’s family,” NTI president Aluki Kotierk said in a news release.

“He will forever be remembered as a true and selfless leader.”

As one of the signatories to the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement — the 1993 document that led to the creation of a separate territory for Inuit from central and eastern Northwest Territories — Ningeocheak played an important role in Nunavut’s history.

Among his numerous services, Ningeocheak was the second vice-president for NTI and a board member for the organization.

“My father was a very giving person,” his daughter, Sarah Netser, told Nunatsiaq News.

“He taught me if you want people to be nice to you, be nice to them.”

Ningeocheak served as vice-president of NTI from 1993 to 2011. Before the Nunavut Agreement was finalized in 1993, he had held multiple roles in the region.

He was a board member of Inuit Tapirisat of Canada from 1976 to 1984 and the organization’s vice-president from 1985 to 1988. Ningeocheak was also a board member for the organization that predated NTI, Tungavik Federation of Nunavut, from 1983 to 1992.

After his time at NTI, Ningeocheak was vice-president of the Kivalliq Inuit Association from 2012 to 2019.

“He devoted his life to making Nunavut a better place to live,” Premier P.J. Akeeagok said of Ningeocheak in a statement released on Facebook.

“It was an honour to have worked with him and I will miss him dearly.”

Throughout his life, Ningeocheak led or was involved in several initiatives to improve Nunavut and Inuit-self determination, NTI stated in its release.

He was a proponent of Inuit harvesting rights and sustainable wildlife management. As a vice-president at NTI, he was active in having a prohibition on bowhead whale hunts changed to allow a harvest with a limit of five whales per year.

Ningeocheak also had a role in ensuring Inuit Qaujimajatuqangiit was included in polar bear population estimates and harvesting quotas.

Nunavut Tunngavik’s trichinella testing is another program he was involved in, with the pilot occurring in 2017. Currently, the program tests more than 100 walrus samples annually to ensure country food is safe for consumption.

“We as Inuit, trusted his leadership and dedicated advocacy,” said Nunavut MP Lori Idlout on Twitter.

“I ask that we come together to honour his life … his legacy must continue.”

Recently, Ningeocheak was the beneficiary of a fundraiser to pay for his flight home to Coral Harbour from Ottawa, where he lived at Embassy West Senior Living for more than a year.

After what was supposed to be a temporary stay for physiotherapy, Ningeocheak spent more than a year in the south and during that time was diagnosed with dementia, Netser told Nunatsiaq News in February.

The GN would not pay for his flight back to Coral Harbour because it felt it could not provide him the necessary care in that hamlet, the family’s lawyer, Anne Crawford, told Nunatsiaq News at the time.

Ningeocheak felt isolated in the south, Crawford said, and his family had created a plan to care for him in Coral Harbour. They were able to raise $35,000 for him to fly home Feb. 21.

Netser said her father was happy to be around family for the last part of his life and the family was grateful for the chance to be with him.

“It meant a lot to the family,” she said.

Outside of his public accomplishments, Netser said her father taught her to help and feed those in need.

“He said to always show kindness and love,” she said.


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(5) Comments:

  1. Posted by Long time Nunavumiuq on

    First I would like to send my condolences to his family and R.I.P. Raymond Akkuluk.

    I got to be around Raymond in Ottawa and it was so heart breaking to watch him cry asking for his family everyday. I was so happy when his family finally was able to take him home because, he was always stuck in his bedroom at the West Embassy. When the GN would not pay his way back to his home town, I was so pissed off knowing there are more of our Elders that will end up in the same situation. Lots of our Inuit elders already have died at the West Embassy before even having a chance to go home to family, and this is so shameful. I hope the MLA’s do not act like they cared for Raymond because they did not want to pay his way back home, and should not be allowed to even make any fake comments on here.
    I had to say that and get it out of my chest because it was so painful to watch Raymond cry all the time, and asking just any Inuit that came to Embassy if they can help him.
    Please withheld my name.

    RIP Raymond you will be missed love you our new angle.

    • Posted by anonymous on

      Sincere condolences to Raymond’s family, extended family & many friends he leaves behind. Yes, shame on GN for not allowing Raymond to rertun home to be with his family. The GN sent Raymond down to Ottawa for medical & should have paid his return home, not amused. Again sincere sympathy to Raymond’s family in their loss.

  2. Posted by Jay Arnakak on

    my condolences to all his family.

    qikajuittuq taqaiqsilirli. Thank you, Ningeocheak.

    I had the privilege of working with Raymond at NTI; he always called me by my last name, Arnakak, and he made me feel pride in my name as few have.

    • Posted by Jay Arnakak on

      I was just a policy analyst, but he always took the time to chat and banter with everyone, really.

  3. Posted by Blaine Ellis on

    What sad news. My condolences to Raymond’s family.

    I enjoyed working with Raymond. Many pleasant experiences while working in Nunavut and often think about the day Raymond introduced me to “cowboy coffee”.

    May you rest in peace.

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