Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. President Cathy Towtongie named the recipients of the NTI President’s Awards at the annual general meeting feast in Rankin Inlet last night. NTI’s delegates are gathered in Rankin Inlet for the annual meeting this week.
Each year, the awards are bestowed upon three recipients who have made a significant contribution to preserve Inuit culture and lead community initiatives. This year’s recipients are David Oolooyuk, Veronica Ell, and the Ennaida Lake descendants.
Towtongie commended Ooloyuk for his expertise and longstanding involvement in racing dog teams, noting that he has also been recognized for his skill in the Hudson’s Bay Quest that traverses the Manitoba-Nunavut boundary. Ell was widowed early on in life and was able to support her large family because of her considerable talent as a seamstress. The Ennaida Lake descendants, known as Ahiarmiujuit (people of the interior), were recognized for overcoming extreme hardship when their belongings were bulldozed and they were forced to survive with almost no resources. Well-known drum maker and drum dancer David Serkoak accepted the honour on behalf of the Ahiarmiujuit. Serkoak is recognized for his role in preserving traditional Inuit drum dancing.
All recipients were awarded a plaque and a $500 prize.