Annie Aningmiuq is eager to return to Nunavut, and now she has another reason to make trips when Covid allows it – she has a new occupation.
Aningmiuq was recently hired as Nunasi Corporation’s vice-president of government and community relations.
Living in Ottawa for the past decade, she hasn’t been on the ground in her home territory for about a year and a half due to the pandemic. But she hopes to soon be aboard flights back and forth to help Nunavut-based Nunasi grow its businesses.
“This opportunity, when it came up, was so attractive to me just because of the aspect of being back up North. Really wanting to be back in the communities was a huge thing for me, and working for an Inuit organization owned by Inuit was a big thing,” she said of her decision to accept the job.
Aningmiuq, who hails from Pangnirtung, brings a familiarity with some of Nunasi’s partners – such as the Inuit associations and Inuit development corporations – and some of Nunasi’s clients, like the Government of Nunavut and the federal government.
Expanding and improving on the operation of the Larga homes – boarding homes for travelling Inuit – is another priority.
“I’m really looking forward to the work ahead,” she said.
Established in 1976, Nunavut-based Nunasi Corp. also has investments in construction, commercial real estate, retail, bulk fuel storage, logistics and supply.
Aningmiuq recently held the title of policy and regional affairs adviser to Carolyn Bennett, minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations. During that time, Aningmiuq had a hand in files such as the Inuit-Crown Partnership Committee and Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls. For almost two years, she travelled with the minister and prepared briefing notes.
She was present for the January 2019 apology that Bennett made in Arviat for the federal government’s past policy of forced relocation of Inuit.
“(My role was) making sure that that (apology) was done in a very respectful way – obviously it was a very sensitive subject for the community,” Aningmiuq recalled.
After her federal government position became uncertain due to the October 2019 election, Aningmiuq took on a leadership role in the policy and communications department at the National Association of Friendship Centres.
Aningmiuq attended the University of Guelph, where she enjoyed environmental courses and women’s studies.
She has since taken circumpolar studies through the University of the Arctic and she foresees herself enrolling in business development courses to strengthen her knowledge and abilities in her new occupation.
She’s a graduate of the two-year Nunavut Sivuniksavut college preparatory program. After that, registering in Canada World Youth took her to India for three months. Although that experience occurred a dozen years ago, it left an indelible mark on her memory.
“When you’re coming from a town of 1,500 people and all of a sudden you’re living in a place that’s heavily populated and totally opposite from what you’re used to, it completely opened my eyes to think about what’s outside of my comfort zone,” she said.
She grew up in Pangnirtung for the first 20 years of her life and she reflects fondly on her time out on the land with her family. She did plenty of ice fishing and spent many joyous periods at camp.
She remembers being out on the ice with her father, patiently waiting near a seal hole so Aningmiuq, at around age 12, could harvest her first seal.
“He was just so proud of that moment,” she recalled of her father’s reaction.
All these years later, Aningmiuq is achieving in an entirely different realm, just like so many others she admires.
“Inuit are succeeding in so many ways and it’s so good to see all the accomplishments, especially for Inuit women,” she said. “Within the past few years, I’ve seen Inuit women go into leadership positions, whether it’s in arts or politics. I’m completely blown away by them and I’m trying to follow their lead.”