Order of Canada ‘very humbling,’ says Edna Elias

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Kugluktuk’s Edna Elias has been named to the Order of Canada, the Office of the Governor General announced on June 27.

Edna Elias has an extensive background in politics, Inuit language promotion, education, business and served as Nunavut’s fourth commissioner.
photo courtesy of Edna Elias

Her selection is based on “her contributions to preserving Nunavut’s linguistic and cultural heritage, and for her political leadership,” a news release stated.

Elias referred to the designation as “very humbling.”

“Having been one of the leaders in Inuinnaqtun language revitalization using the Master Apprentice Program, and having great mentors, I’m very happy to see other language advocates using the method to preserve and strengthen Inuinnaqtun,” she stated.

As a speaker of Inuinnaqtun, Inuktitut and English, Elias formerly served as co-chair of the Northwest Territories Aboriginal Language Task Force, as well as director of the NWT’s Language Bureau. She also owned and operated her own interpretation, translation and consulting business.

She served as Nunavut’s fourth commissioner from 2010-2015. She’s a former mayor of Kugluktuk and was also a councillor. Elias has also worked as a teacher and principal and in child and community development capacities.

Currently residing in Edmonton, Elias was one of 83 new appointments to the Order of Canada earlier this week. The distinction “honours people whose service shapes our society; whose innovations ignite our imaginations; and whose compassion unites our communities,” states the Office of the Governor General.

An investiture ceremony will be announced at a later date.