It was a momentous day for the Kivalliq’s Nancy Uqquujuq Karetak-Lindell when she was officially presented with the Order of Canada in Ottawa this past week.
The former Nunavut MP said she was actually awarded the Order of Canada in July 2022 but, because of the personal ceremonies falling behind due to the pandemic, she was told it may take up to two years before she officially received it.
Then, about a month ago, Gov. Gen. Mary Simon decided she was going to award all of the Indigenous recipients, and all those recognized for their work with Indigenous people, together on Indigenous Day, June 21.
Karetak-Lindell said the award was made even more special with it being presented by Simon, an Inuk herself, and someone Inuit know and have a history with.
That brought a very different meaning, according to Karetak-Lindell, who said she was “very surprised” to be named to the Order of Canada.
“It was not a call I was expecting the least bit,” she said.
“I was at a cabin just outside of Rankin Inlet, where Joe Kaludjak and I spent our days, when the call came. I was taken totally by surprise and, all of a sudden, you’re thinking well what did I ever do to deserve such recognition?
“And then, I guess, people who nominated me felt that I had contributed to Inuit and, in a way, the country by doing that. It takes a little time – for me anyway – to accept that I’m going to be a recipient.”
Karetak-Lindell said her family was taught by her father that they should help because they want to help and that’s it.
She said they were also taught not to toot their own horn, or people will think you’re only helping them for ulterior motives.
“Being Nunavut’s member of Parliament gave me the opportunity to reach more people and get to know the other communities of Nunavut, not just Arviat and Kivalliq, which is where I lived and did my most acts of kindness, for a lack of a better phrase.
“Being a member of Parliament gave me the opportunity to travel and meet all the wonderful people we live with, and see what people do for their communities and their people.
“For me, it was always about making our communities a better place to live in — making our communities places of opportunity because, at the time I was getting into this kind of work, there weren’t that many people who could be used as role models from our communities.
“I wanted to encourage young people not to give up, to pursue their dreams, even though there are people saying you can’t do it. Don’t listen to those people, but follow your heart.”
Karetak-Lindell said she’s kind of like the second generation, where the road has been paved for her already by the work of people before her.
But still they were challenging times.
“We were the age group who went to residential schools, and had to try to find a way to get our voices heard and make changes for our people.
“But you always look back to the resilience and adaptivity of our people and their strength. Even though people tried to make us lose our language, culture and traditions, (Inuit) persevered, which made it easier for us to carry on because they already laid the foundation for us.
“Sometimes that hill just keeps getting bigger and bigger until you reach the top of it. There are good news stories. There are good people doing good work. There is hope for change, but it has to come from within us.
“Slowly but surely people are reclaiming their language and their culture. And they’re trying to make our communities better places to live in.”
ᐃᖃᐅᒪᓇᕐᓂᕐᒥᒃ ᐊᑐᓴᖅᐳᖅ ᐃᓕᓴᕆᔭᐅᓂᖃᖅᑎᓪᓗᒍ ᓇᓐᓯ ᖃᕆᑕᖅ-ᓕᓐᑎᐊ ᐃᓕᓴᕆᔭᐅᓂᖃᖤᑕᐃᓐᓇᕐᒪᑦ ᖁᑦᑎᖕᓂᖅᐸᖅ ᐃᓕᓴᕆᔭᐅᔪᑎᒥᒃ ᑲᓇᑕᒥ, ᐊᑐᕙ ᐱᓇᓱᐊᕈᓯᕆᓴᖅᑕᑦᑎᓐᓂ.
ᐅᖃᖅᐳᖅ ᐃᓕᓴᕆᔭᐅᓂᖃᓚᐅᖅᑐᒐᓗᐊᖅ ᔪᓚᐃ 2022, ᑭᓯᐊᓂ ᑲᑎᒪᓂᕆᔭᐅᔭᕆᐊᖃᖅᓯᒪᔪᑦ ᑭᖑᕙᓯᒃᓯᒪᓂᖏᓐᓄᑦ ᓄᕙᖕᓇᕐᔪᐊᖅ ᐱᔾᔪᑎᒋᓪᓗᒍ ᐅᑕᕿᑐᐃᓇᕆᐊᖃᕐᓂᖓᓂ ᐊᕋᒍᑦ ᒪᕐᕈᒃ ᐃᓕᓴᕆᔭᐅᒪᕆᓚᐅᖏᓂᖓᓂᒃ.
ᐊᓱᐃᓚᒃ ᑕᕿᐅᓵᖅᑐᒥ, ᑲᕗᓄ ᔭᓄᕈ ᑕᕿᐅᓵᖅᑐᒥᒃ ᒥᐊᓕ ᓴᐃᒪᓐ ᐃᓕᓴᖅᓯᓂᖃᕈᒪᓕᓚᐅᖅᓯᒪᖕᒪᑦ ᓄᓇᖃᖅᖄᓯᒪᔪᑦ ᑎᑯᐊᖅᑕᐅᓯᒪᔪᓂᒃ, ᐃᓕᓴᕆᔭᐅᔪᑎᖃᖁᓪᓗᒋᑦ ᐊᒃᓱᕈᖃᑦᑕᕐᓂᕐᒥᓂᒃ ᐃᑲᔪᕋᓱᒃᖢᑎᒃ ᓄᓇᖃᖅᖄᖅᓯᒪᔪᓂᒃ. ᔪᓂ ᑉᖕ.
ᖃᕆᑕᖅ ᓕᓐᑎᐊ ᐅᖃᖅᑐᖅ ᐃᓕᓴᕆᔭᐅᔪᑎᓂ ᐱᑯᓇᑲᓐᓂᒻᒪᕆᓚᐅᖅᐳᖅ ᐃᓄᖃᑎᒥᓂ ᑐᓐᓂᕆᔭᐅᓪᓗᓂ, ᑐᑭᓯᖃᑎᒋᒃᖢᑎᒡᓗ ᐃᓄᖃᑎᒋᒃᑲᒥᒃ.
ᑕᒪᓐᓇ ᐊᓯᐊᓂᒃ ᑐᑭᖃᒻᒪᕆᒪᐅᖅᑐᖅ, ᖃᕆᑕᖅ ᓕᓐᑕᐊ ᐅᖃᖅᐳᖅ, ᑲᒪᒋᒻᒪᕆᓚᐅᖅᑕᖓ ᐃᓕᓴᕆᔭᐅᓂᕐᒥᓂᒃ ᖁᑦᑎᖕᓂᐸᖑᖃᑕᐅᔪᒥᒃ ᐃᓕᓴᕆᔭᐅᔪᑎᒥᒃ ᑲᓇᑕᒥ.
ᑐᓴᔾᔭᕋᓱᒋᓚᐅᖏᑦᑕᕋ ᐃᒪᓐᓇᑦᑎᐊᖅ, ᐅᖃᖅᐳᖅ.
ᐃᒡᓗᕋᓛᕐᒥᓚᐅᖅᐳᖓ ᓯᓚᑕᓂᑦᑎᐊᖅ, ᔪ ᖃᓗᔾᔭᕐᓗ ᐅᐸᒃᓯᒪᕙᒃᑕᑦᑎᓐᓂ, ᐅᖃᓗᒡᕕᐅᑎᓪᓗᖓ ᖁᒃᓴᓪᓚᓚᐅᖅᐳᖓ, ᐃᓱᒪᓕᖅᖢᖓᓗ ᖃᓄᐃᒻᒪᑦ ᐃᓕᓴᕆᔭᐅᔪᑎᑕᕐᒪᖓᕐᒪ.
ᐊᒪᓗ ᐃᓱᒪᒃᑲᓂᓕᕆᓪᓕᖓ, ᐅᕙᓂᒃ ᑎᒃᑯᐊᖅᓯᓚᐅᖅᑐᑦ ᐅᒃᐱᕈᓱᖕᓂᖃᕋᒥᒃ ᐃᑲᔪᕐᓂᕆᓚᐅᖅᑕᓐᓂᑦ ᐃᓄᖕᓄᑦ ᐃᓄᖏᓐᓄᓪᓗ. ᐱᕋᔮᕐᓇᖅᑐᖅ ᐅᕙᓐᓄᓪᓕ. ᐊᖏᖅᓯᒪᓇᓱᒃᖢᖑ ᐊᑎᖃᖃᑕᐅᓂᐊᓕᕐᓂᕐᓂᑦ.
ᖃᕆᑕᖅ-ᓕᓐᑎᐊ ᐅᖃᖅᐳᖅ ᖃᑕᖑᑎᒋᑦ ᐃᓕᓐᓂᐊᖅᑎᑕᐅᕙᓚᐅᖅᓯᒪᖕᒪᑕ ᐃᑲᔪᕐᓂᕐᒥᒃ ᐊᒪᓗ ᐃᑲᔪᖃᑎᒋᖕᓂᕐᒥᒃ, ᐃᑲᔪᕈᒪᓂᕐᒧᑐᐃᓐᓇᖅ.
ᐅᖃᕆᕗᖅ ᐃᓕᓐᓂᐊᖅᑎᑕᐅᓚᐅᖅᓯᒪᓂᕐᒥᓂᓪᓗ ᐊᔪᖏᓂᖓ ᐊᑐᕐᓘᑎᖏᓪᓗᒍ, ᐅᕙᓗᓂ ᑕᑯᔭᐅᕐᓘᑎᖃᑦᑕᕐᓂᐊᖅᑐᖅ, ᓇᖕᒥᓂᖅᓱᕋᓱᒃᑯᓂ.
ᓄᓇᕗᒻᒧᑦ ᑭᒡᒐᖅᑐᐃᕙᒃᑎᓪᓗᖓ ᐱᕕᖃᓚᐅᖅᐳᖓ ᐃᓄᖕᓂ ᐱᓕᕆᖃᑎᒋᖕᓂᕐᒥᒃ, ᐃᓕᑦᑎᑦᑕᕐᕕᒋᓪᓗᒋᓪᓗ ᓄᓇᓕᑦ. ᐊᕐᕕᐊᓂᑐᐃᓇᐅᖏᑦᑐᖅ-ᑭᕙᓪᓕᕐᒥ, ᓄᓇᕗᓕᒪᒥ. ᐃᑲᔪᕋᓱᒃᐸᓚᐅᖅᐳᖓ ᐊᕿᐅᒪᑎᓇᓱᒃᖢᒋᑦ.
ᑲᑎᒪᔨᐅᓪᓕᓂ ᐱᕕᖃᖅᑎᓚᐅᖅᐸᖓ ᐊᐅᓪᓚᑲᑕᖕᓂᕐᒥᒃ ᑕᑯᖃᑕᐅᑎᓂᕐᒥᓪᓗ ᐃᓂᖃᑎᓐᓂᑦ, ᓄᓇᓕᖕᓂᑦ ᐊᓯᐊᓂᑦ.
ᒪᑯᒃᑐᑦ ᐱᓇᔪᖁᓚᐅᖅᓯᒪᕙᒃᑲ, ᓴᐱᓕᖅᐸᖏᓪᓕᑎᒡᓗ, ᐱᔪᒪᔭᖏᑦ ᐱᓇᓱᒡᓗᓂᒋᑦ, ᐅᖃᐅᔭᐅᒐᓗᐊᖅᐸᑕ ᐊᔪᕐᓂᐊᕐᓂᖏᓐᓂᒃ. ᓇᓚᒃᐸᖏᓪᓗᒋᑦ.
ᖃᕆᑕᖅ-ᓕᓐᑎᐊ ᐅᖃᖅᐳᖅ ᑭᖑᓪᓕᐅᓂᖅᓴᐅᒐᒥ , ᐱᓕᕆᔭᐅᓯᒪᓂᒃᑐᓂᒃ ᐊᓯᐊᓂᑦ ᐱᓕᕆᐊᖃᓚᐅᕋᒥ. ᑭᓯᐊᓂ ᓱᓕ ᐊᒃᓱᕈᕐᓇᖅᑐᖅᓯᐅᖃᑕᓚᐅᖅᐳᖅ.
ᐅᕙᒍᑦ ᐃᓕᓐᓂᐊᕆᐊᖅᑎᑕᐅᓯᒪᓂᑯᒐᑦᑕ ᑐᓴᖅᑕᐅᔭᕆᐊᖃᖅᑐᒍᑦ ᐊᕿᒋᐊᕆᐊᓕᒃᑯᑦ ᐱᓕᕆᐊᑦᑎᓂ.
ᑭᓯᐊᓂᓕ ᑕᑯᓪᓗᒍ ᑭᖑᒻᒧᑦ ᓴᖏᓂᕐᒥᒃ ᐱᓯᒪᓂᕗᑦ ᐃᓄᒃᑎᒍᑦ, ᐅᖃᐅᓯᕗᑦ ᐃᓕᖁᓯᑦᑎᓐᓂᓪᓗ ᐊᓯᐅᑎᑕᐅᓇᓱᒃᑲᓗᐊᖅᑎᓪᓗᒍ ᐱᓯᒪᑦᑎᐊᖏᓐᓇᕋᑦᙱᒍᑦ ᐃᓄᒃᑐᑦ. ᐊᔪᕐᓇᖏᑉᐸᓕᕈᑎᒋᕙ ᑲᔪᓯᑎᓐᓂᕐᒥᒃ ᐊᕿᒃᓯᒪᓂᒃᑲᒥ.
ᑐᓴᑦᑎᐊᖏᓐᓇᖅᐳᒋᑦ ᐱᓕᕆᔨᑎᐊᕙᐅᖕᒪᑕ, ᐅᒃᐱᕈᓱᒃᐳᖓ ᐊᓯᔾᔩᔪᓐᓇᕐᓂᖏᓐᓂ ᐊᑲᐅᔪᒃᑯᑦ.
ᓱᑲᐃᑦᑐᒐᓗᐊᖅ ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᐅᖃᐅᓯᕐᒥᖕᓂᑦ ᐃᓕᓐᓂᐊᒃᑲᓐᓂᕐᓂᖅᓴᐅᓕᖅᖢᑎᒃ, ᐃᓕᖁᓯᕐᒥᖕᓂᓪᓗ. ᓄᓇᓖᓪᓗ ᐅᓗᕆᐊᓇᖏᑦᑐᑰᖅᑎᑕᐅᓇᓱᒃᖢᑎᒃ.