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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Jan. 12 that former premier Eva Aariak will serve as Nunavut’s new commissioner.

“With her long record of service to Nunavummiut and tireless efforts to promote and preserve their culture and languages, I am confident that Ms. Aariak will excel in her new role as commissioner of Nunavut and continue to inspire others to serve their communities,” Trudeau stated.

Former Nunavut premier Eva Aariak will take over duties as the territorial commissioner, succeeding Nellie Kusugak.
NNSL file photo

Aariak has been “a lifelong champion for Nunavut and Inuit languages and culture,” according to a Government of Canada news release.

“Throughout her career as an educator, journalist, entrepreneur, public servant, and elected official, she promoted the use and understanding of Inuktut. As the first languages commissioner of Nunavut, Ms. Aariak also helped make this a working language within the territorial government, and recommended to the Nunavut Legislative Assembly the groundbreaking Inuit Language Protection Act, which was subsequently passed into law,” the news release states.

Aariak was the territory’s first female premier, with a term stretching from 2008-2013.

“During her time as premier, she also led innovative and inclusive poverty reduction efforts to strengthen local economies, improve food security, and increase access to housing across the territory,” the news release reads.

Trudeau extended his thanks to former commissioner Nellie Taptaqut Kusugak of Rankin Inlet, who filled the role from 2015-2020.

Among the responsibilities that commissioners fulfill is the swearing-in of members of the legislative assembly and the executive council, opening the legislative assembly, and providing assent for legislation passed by the assembly.

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Derek Neary

Derek Neary has been reporting on developments in the North for 18 years. When he's not writing for Nunavut News, he's working on Northern News Services' special publications such as Opportunities North,...

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