Top gun has loads of experience

Sanikiluaq marksman joined Rangers in 1947


A Canadian Ranger from Sanikiluaq is not only one of the best marksmen among Baffin Rangers – he’s also one of the longest-serving Rangers in Canada.

While in Iqaluit last weekend for a shooting competition, Johnny Tookalook described how in 1947 he received a rifle, 20 rounds of ammunition and an armband from a Qallunaaq visiting from Port Harrison, now known as Inukjuak, and was made a member of the Canadian Rangers.

“He [Tookalook] wasn’t quite 16,” said Capt. Conrad Schubert, from the First Canadian Rangers Group.

Schubert said the First Canadian Rangers Group had no idea that Sanikiluaq was home to such a long-serving Ranger, because records were lost during the period when responsibility for the patrol was shuffled back and forth from Quebec to the First Canadian Rangers.

According to Tookalook, Johnassie Iqaluk from Sanikiluaq became a member of the Canadian Rangers at the same time.

The two will likely receive the same long-term service award as Abraham Irqu, 73, from Akulivik.

Two years ago, Irqu received a Canadian decoration for his 52 years of continual service as a Canadian Ranger – making him one of only a few to qualify for this award.

Until news about the long-serving Sanikiluaq Rangers surfaced, Peter Kunilusie from Clyde River, who joined in 1949, was thought to be the longest-serving Ranger.

Rankin Inlet resident Ollie Ittinuar, who turns 80 next year, still holds the honor of being Nunavut’s oldest Canadian Ranger.

Top patrol in last weekend’s shooting competition – also a Nunavut first – was the Iqaluit patrol, which placed first overall in five separate competitions that involved shooting at targets 100 or 200 metres away.

Individual winners included:

* Cpl. Joelie Quanaq from Arctic Bay in the 100-metre deliberate competition (in which marksmen can take as long as they want to shoot at the target);
* Dinos Tikivik from Iqaluit in the 100-metre sitting competition;
* Cpl. George Qattalik from Igloolik in the 100-metre standing competition;
* Jaypeetee Kudlualik from Qikirtarjuaq in the 200-metre deliberate competition;
* Sgt. Simeonie Keenainak from Pangnirtung in the 200-metre rapid fire competition (in which participants have 45 seconds to fire 10 shots).

The top shots in the shooting competition were Dinos Tikivik, first, with 179 out of a possible total of 250 points, Jaypeetee Kudlualik, second, with 173 points, and Sgt. Simeonie Keenainak, third, with 166 points.

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