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John Amagoalik

Doctor of Civil Law

John Amagoalik's dream has been for the Inuit people to one day self-govern their own territory and as a leader of this cause, Amagoalik will witness the implementation of this dream on April 1, 1999.

He was born in Quebec in a small seasonal hunting camp near Innujuaq, and was relocated at age five to Resolute bay in 1953 with his parents and family. He was educated in residential school settings in Resolute Bay, Churchill and Iqaluit.

Presently, he is the Chief Commissioner of the Nunavut Implementation Commission, and has held prominent elected and official positions in various organizations and committees over the last twenty years. Known mainly as a strong voice of the Inuit people and recognized among Inuit as an individual of considerable influence, he spearheaded initiatives leading to the signing of the Nunavut Land Claims agreement in 1993 with its provisions for establishing the Nunavut Territory in 1999.

Given a modest career debut as the Baffin Regional Information Officer with the Government of the North West Territories (GNWT) from 1971 to 1974, he was head of the North West Territory Land Claims Commission between 1977 and 1979. From 1981 through 1985 and again from 1988 through 1991 he served as the elected President of Inuit Tapirisat Canada (ITC). From 1979 to 1981 he assisted the leadership of ITC as the Vice-President, and from 1982 through 1987 he co-chaired the Inuit Committee on National Issues. In 1986/87 he was elected as the Chairman of the Nunavut Constitutional Forum, and he also served as a constitutional and political advisor to the Tunngavik Federation of Nunavut from 1991 to 1993.

Internationally, he was a member of the Executive Council of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference from 1980 to 1983.

Presently, he writes a regular column in Nuatsiaq News, "My Little Corner of Canada," which explores with the Inuit his exposure to Canadian national and regional political thinking from his many public encounters across Canada.

He is married with four children, and his leadership has earned him an Honourary Doctor of Letters.