From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Eva Aariak1, MLA is a Canadian politician, who was
elected in the 2008 territorial
election to represent the electoral district of Iqaluit East in the
Legislative Assembly of
Nunavut. She was subsequently chosen as Premier of
Nunavut, under the territory's consensus government system, on
November 14, 2008.
Prior to her election as an MLA, Aariak was the first Languages
Commissioner for Nunavut.
Originally appointed to a four-year term beginning in 1999, her
term was later extended for another year until December 2004. In her
capacity as Languages Commissioner, one of her more noted
achievements was to choose ikiaqqivik as the Inuktitut language word for the Internet; the word literally
means "travelling through layers" and refers to the traditional Inuit concept of a shaman
travelling through time and space to find answers to spiritual and
After stepping down as Languages Commissioner she went on to
teach Inuktitut at the Pirurvik Centre in Iqaluit, and later owned and operated
Malikkaat, a retail store in Iqaluit which sold Inuit arts and
She was later reappointed as acting commissioner in December 2007
after the resignation of then Languages Commissioner, Johnny
She has also served as coordinator of the Baffin Divisional
Education Council's Inuktitut language book publishing program, as
president of the Baffin Regional Chamber of Commerce and as
chair of the Nunavut Film Development Corporation.
Aariak was the only woman elected to the Legislative Assembly in
the 2008 election. She subsequently expressed her disappointment
with that fact, suggesting that improved daycare services in Nunavut
might be needed to help women participate more actively in the
political process and
that the territory should revisit the failed proposal to have a
smaller number of electoral districts, each of which would choose
one man and one woman as MLAs.
At the Nunavut Leadership Forum on November 14, 2008, Aariak was
chosen as the new premier over incumbent Paul Okalik and MLA Tagak Curley. She
is the only woman currently serving as a provincial or territorial
premier in Canada, and only the fifth woman — after Rita Johnston, Nellie
Cournoyea, Catherine Callbeck and Pat Duncan — ever to hold
a premiership. She is the sixth female First Minister in the
country, that total including former prime minister Kim Campbell.
- Note 1: Aariak
is occasionally seen as Arreak, which was the
original spelling and was due to non-Inuit mishearing the
pronunciation of names.
Eva Aariak at the Legislative
- ^ a
Former Nunavut languages
commissioner joins Iqaluit East race
"Nunavut names new
premier", The Globe and Mail, November
- ^ a
"Malikkaat: For all things
Inuit", Nunatsiaq News, November 10,
Legislative Assembly Bids Fond
Farewell to Languages Commissioner Eva Aariak
Katharina Soukup, "Travelling Through Layers:
Inuit Artists Appropriate New Technologies", Canadian
Journal of Communication, 31: 1 (2006).
Nunavut @ Five
Baffin Regional Chamber of Commerce
"Nunavut Film Makers Receive
Support for Projects", Nunavut Film Development Corporation,
November 24, 2006.
"Daycare needed to tip
scales, says sole female MLA", Northern News Services, November
"Reconsider gender parity,
says lone female Nunavut MLA", cbc.ca, October 29, 2008.
"Eva Aariak chosen by MLAs as
Nunavut's new premier and first woman leader", Canadian Press, November 14, 2008.
In Old Names, a Legacy