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Mayor at 24, and ready for the challenge

A trend is emerging in Nunavut: young women in politics.

The community of Kimmirut, with a population of approximately 450, has elected 24-year-old Ningeolaa Killiktee as mayor. She was sworn in Jan. 4 after a December election.

Senior administrative officer Kimberley Young thinks Killiktee may be the youngest mayor in the territory, though executive director of the Nunavut Association of Municipalities Brian Fleming could not confirm.

The community of Kimmirut, with a population of approximately 450, elected 24-year-old Ningeolaa Killiktee as their new mayor in December. She was sworn in Jan. 4 by Cst. Chris Spiers.
photo courtesy Kimberley Young

Mila Adjukak Kamingoak was 31 when she was acclaimed as MLA for Kugluktuk this past October. Pam Gross, who ran for MLA for Cambridge Bay in October, was subsequently elected mayor of that community. She's 32.

Killiktee said she started working at a very young age.

"I've always enjoyed working."

A friend asked her if she wanted to run. Killiktee gave it some thought, and decided to give the run a try.

Her motivation?

"To make the changes to the community that the community wants to see. I really want to listen to what the community wants and move forward," she said.

Despite the fact that she has two young children – a son aged four and a daughter aged two – and works at a store in the community, she says she wanted a challenge and to play an active role in shaping her community.

Killiktee said she thinks sometimes Kimmirut has been overlooked.

"And the community has not moved ahead like it should have."

Her job as mayor, won by four votes in a race against Koojeasuk Kolola, is her first leadership position. She lists the personal qualities that she brings to her new role: "I like to work hard. I am organized. I like to listen to people."

The young mayor says her mother inspired her to reach her goals.

"I watched her work really hard and I wanted to be just like her."

As to what issues will face her as Kimmirut's mayor, Killiktee said, "One of the biggest issues may be that I am young and proving that I can do the job might be hard. I want to work hard to show the community that I can help make our community better."

Her goal is to see her community happy and well-looked after.

New mayor of Kimmirut, 24-year-old Ningeolaa Killiktee, is gathered with council members after the swearing in ceremony Jan. 4. Back row, left to right: Coun. Jimmy Akpik, Coun. Palanga Lyta, Coun. Jean-Pierre Goulet, Deputy Mayor Maliktoo Lyta and Coun. Matto Michael. Front row, left to right: Coun. Appa Pudlat, Coun. Mialiralaa Judea and Coun. Akulujuk Judea. Sitting: Mayor Nigeolaa Killiktee.
photo courtesy Kimberley Young

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