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Harry Niakrok Sr. takes eighth spot on Rankin Inlet council

Council now fully formed for new term
Harry Niakrok Sr., middle, is sworn in as Rankin Inlet’s eighth council member by Mayor Harry Towtongie, right, and Deputy Mayor Daniel Kowmuk, left. Stewart Burnett/NNSL photo

More people submitted their names to fill the eighth seat on Rankin Inlet’s hamlet council than ran for council in the election, leaving those acclaimed to vote by secret ballot among the applicants to fill the last chair.

Council chose Harry Niakrok Sr. for the final position, earning a clear majority among a field that included Troy Rauhala, Scott Sadler, Joe Strickland, Kevin Sanguin, Cecilia Ayaruak, Bobby Oolooyuk, John Qatiktalik Ell and Bernard Krako.

Niakrok joins the acclaimed council for the new term, with Harry Towtongie re-elected as mayor.

“Rankin is a growing community, and it’s growing really fast,” said Niakrok Sr. after being sworn in Monday, Nov. 6.

“It’s growing so fast, in fact, we have shortages of lots for buildings for houses, for apartments. I’d like to see development done in a responsible way – i.e., lots in the proper places, not just all over the place.”

He’d also like to see the community benefit as much as possible from the Meliadine gold mine.

With no political history beforehand – sans a stint on student council – Niakrok said he applied for the position because he felt he had something to offer council, by means of connecting with community members and being their spokesperson in the hamlet chambers, hopefully effecting change for the better.

Niakrok works as regional coordinator for Nunavut Parks and Special Places and has spent most of his life in Rankin Inlet, besides two decades in Arviat.

“I feel very humbled and appreciative of being selected to be on council,” said Niakrok. “I’ll certainly do my best to represent the people and the community.”