Board of Directors

Inuit Uqausinginnik Taiguusiliuqtiit is made up of five members who are appointed by Nunavut’s Executive Council, based on recommendations from the Minister of Languages. The members represent each of Nunavut’s three regions and are appointed for a renewable term of three years. A permanent staff of eight employees based in Iqaluit supports the members in carrying out their powers and duties.

Mary Thompson was born on the land near Arviat in 1946. Her parents were traditional drum dancers and singers and travelled to other communities and internationally to perform. Mary travelled all over the world with her parents and interpreted for them. They taught her Inuit traditional dancing and she got to know many songs. 

Mary has worked as an interpreter/translator for the Departments of Justice and Culture and Heritage, as well as for a number of businesses.  For a time, she was also an announcer with the CBC in Rankin Inlet.  Her work has taken her as far as Russia to teach about Canadian Inuit. 

She has been a long-time volunteer with the Sivullinut Society, assisting the Elders of Arviat in keeping the language strong in the community. She continues to host a weekly radio show called Inuktitut Uqausiliriniq.

Mary adopted and raised five children, all of whom are now adults.  She believes that Inuit language and culture can be strengthened through determination and hard work.

Miriam’s activism with the Inuit Language started when she first heard about the language issues impacting Inuit who had lived most of their lives on the land.  She, herself, grew up entirely in the Inuktitut language.

Today, Mariam is an active teacher and advocate for Inuktut as it is spoken in the Nattilik region of the Qitirmiut. She was the first chairperson for Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit Katimajiit that advises the Government of Nunavut on its policies. She also serves on the Inuit Societal Values committee, the Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit Curriculum Committee, the Kitikmeot Inuit Association and the Nunavut Elders Justice Committee. Locally, she contributes to the Gjoa Haven Housing Authority and, since 1968, with the local vestry.

Miriam started a dictionary in the Nattilingmiut dialect over concerns that there are not enough language resources for her dialect. 

She feels it is imperative to consider Inuit traditional life in the same way one looks on inuksuit – as part of the legacy Inuit have inherited from our ancestors. “Our language is a part of our lives,” she says. “I keep my father’s stories in my heart. Story telling has been a part of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit and my parents used it as a teaching tool. I want to pass on my mother’s and father’s stories to our youth so that they, too, may keep them in their hearts and pass them on to the future generations.”

Born in the spring of 1953 on April 23rd in Hudson Bay company post of Read Island, NWT. My parents were Helen Paolingnak and Peter Miyok.

We lived in Lady Franklin Point (Pin 3) where my brothers and I were picked up in 1959 to attend residential school in Inuvik, NWT. While attending school in Inuvik my parents had relocated to Coppermine in 1967.

My childhood prior to attending residential was life on the land in and around Pin 3; where four families all related, lived in the village by the shore just about 4-5 miles from the Dewline site. Life was simple lots of trapping and hunting of the land. Travelling to Coppermine to visit the trading post three or four times a year either by dogteam in the winter or boat in the summer.

I have four children 1 boy and 3 girls two of whom were adopted by my late sister. Altogether they have given my 22 grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren. I had adopted my oldest grandson whom I have lost to suicide.

1975 I graduated from the Teacher Education Program in Ft Smith and taught in Coppermine for several years before moving to Yellowknife NWT in 1978 to work on program development with the Department of Education. I have attended University of Western Ontario and New Mexico studying Linguistics as my passionate in my Inuinnaqtun language having nearly losing it during my residential school years. I continued working with Inuinnaqtun upon moving back to Kugluktuk the year I adopted my oldest grandson, working with the Kitikmeot Board of Education as the Bilingual Consultant, Curriculum development and as the Inuit teacher at the Kugluktuk High School. I have also coordinated the Aboriginal Headstart Program were we introduced preschoolers to Inuit culture and language.

In 2010 I moved to the Department of Culture and Heritage as a researcher and translating government documents.

I was appointed to the IUT in July of 2015. With this board I would like to ensure that Inuinnaqtun is included in all aspects of the government functions and endure it survival as and Official Language of Nunavut on equal par with Inuktitut English and French.

My wish and dream for Inuinnaqtun, is for it to be spoken by all, elders, parents, youth and children alike. That communication and dialogues between them are all in Inuinnaqtun as it was in my childhood. That one-day, we may have an Inuinnaqtun Language and culture school within our region. In order for this to happen we all need to commit using it daily in all aspect of life. That Inuit teachers are working closely with elders in the schools to ensure correct usage of language.

Louis Tapardjuk has been a public figure in Nunavut for many years as a government minister, a Member of Nunavut’s Legislative Assembly, a board member of the Tunngavik Federation, the mayor of Iglulik and as a local hamlet councillor. Born in an igulvigaq (snow house) on the sea ice near Iglulik, he is known as a passionate advocate for Inuit knowledge, language and culture. As Nunavut’s Minister of Languages, he oversaw the approval of the Inuit Language Protection Act and the Official Languages Act.  He also addressed the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in 2009 where he linked the efforts to preserve and promote Inuktut to fundamental human rights.