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Missing Arviat Elder found safe

Thomas Hiatalaaq Alikaswa had been missing more than a week
Arviat Elder Thomas Hiatalaaq Alikaswa is escorted off the runway Friday, May 12, to the cheers of hundreds. He had been missing on the land for over a week. Photo courtesy of Jacob Okatsiak

“I’ll put it this way,” said Arviat Mayor Joe Savikataaq Jr. about the return of Elder Thomas Hiatalaaq Alikaswa Friday, May 12, “the town was so happy, the whole town was at the airport when Thomas was arriving.”

The Elder had been missing on the land for over a week.

“He was out on the land and today he got found,” said Savikataaq Jr. “He’s well, he was able to walk on his own. We had a parade right from the airport leading into town.”

Resident Jacob Okatsiak said people were deeply connected at Alikaswa’s arrival to the airport, singing and cheering as his helicopter landed.

Okatsiak added that local hunters and search and rescue personnel deserve thanks for their work in finding and returning the Elder.