Nunavut Tunngavik President Cathy Towtongie today expressed her condolences to the family of well-known traditional counsellor Thomas Ootook of Pond Inlet. Ootook passed away Sunday in Ottawa.
“I was saddened to learn of Thomas’ passing today. The comfort and relief he brought to so many Inuit through his wisdom and counselling will never be forgotten. He was a leader in the field of traditional Inuit counselling and his unique style will be missed by Inuit,” said Towtongie.
Ootook often counselled in partnership with his longtime spouse, Regilee. Together they were the co-recipients of the Health Care Worker Award presented by Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami. Former Nunavut Premier Eva Aariak also presented Ootook with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal two years ago.
The Ootooks provided a successful combination of traditional and modern Inuit counselling techniques to individuals and couples. They were regular participants in various healing sessions, and often participated in healing sessions associated with NTI’s Qauma Mobile Treatment Project, which sought to deliver counselling to former residential school students.