INUK TRIBAL OFFICIAL PIITA (PETER) IRNIQ BORN—2ND NUNAVUT COMMISSIONER
Irniq, born in Lyon Inlet, near Repulse Bay, Northwest Territories (NWT), grew up trapping, hunting, and travelling by dogsled. Attending residential schools (1958-63), he was physically abused for speaking Inuktitut. In Churchill, Manitoba, Irniq became a CBC announcer-operator & Inuit specialist, government cultural consultant, and Inuktitut magazine editor. From 1971-2005, Piita served as: President, Keewatin Inuit Association (1982-87); member, NWT Legislative Assembly (1987-91); Executive Director, Inuit Cultural Institute (1992); Communications Director, Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (1993); Deputy Minister of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth (1998); and finally, as the 2nd commissioner of Nunavut (2000-05). Irniq now writes on Inuit life for Nunavut News/North and won Ontario Community Newspapers Association’s Columnist of the Year Award in 2007. He also creates inukshuks (Inuk stone cairns) which have appeared at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, and in France, Argentina, Mongolia and the U.S.
Sources: Gurston Dacks, “Piita Irniq,” The Canadian Encyclopedia, 6/10/2008. Retrieved, 2/26/2022, Piita Irniq | The Canadian Encyclopedia Wikipedia Photo: Boliyou, 2/8/2008. Inuksuk erected by Peter Irniq, The Ancient Americas (permanent exhibit), The Field Museum, Chicago. Permissive Use.