Inuit Circumpolar Council – Canada elects new president, vice-president


Monica Ell-Kanayuk has been elected to a four-year term as president of Inuit Circumpolar Council – Canada. (CBC)
Monica Ell-Kanayuk was elected the new president of Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) – Canada at the organization’s annual general meeting in Alaska on Sunday.

Ell-Kanayuk is a well-known politician in Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut where she was a former MLA and cabinet minister in the territorial Legislative Assembly.

Ell-Kanayuk beat out two other contenders: 2014-2018 ICC Chair Okalik Eegeesiak, and Herb Angik Nakimayak, an MLA from Canada’s Northwest Territories and 2014-2018 vice-president of ICC-Canada, said a news release from the organization on Sunday.

ICC-Canada’s new vice-president is Lisa Koperqualuk, an anthropologist and political scientist from Nunavik, the Inuit region of northern Quebec.

General assembly underway in Arctic Alaska
The Arctic Alaskan city of Utqiagvik, Alaska in 2005. The ICC general assembly runs here until July 20. (Al Grillo/Associated Press)

The Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) represents the approximately 160,000 Inuit from Canada, Greenland, Russia and the United States.

The ICC meets every four years to elect a new chair and executive council and to establish the organization’s focus for the next four years. It’s four regional components include: ICC-Alaska, ICC-Canada, ICC-Greenland and ICC-Chukotka.

The organization is also a permanent participant on the Arctic Council, a forum made up of the world’s eight circumpolar nations and six Arctic indigenous groups.

The ICC was established in 1977 to advance Inuit concerns on the international stage, strengthen cross-border political and economic collaboration, and promote policies to preserve the environment in the Arctic.

Ell-Kanayuk and Koperqualuk will take up their new positions when the current ICC General Assembly wraps up in Utqiaġvik, Alaska on July 20.

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Canada’s northern affairs minister to attend ICC general assembly in Alaska, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Sámi school preserves reindeer herders’ heritage with help of internet, Cryopolitics Blog

Norway: Norway and Sweden in quarrel over cross-border reindeer grazing, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Russia plans fenced parks to confine reindeer herding in Arctic, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Report sheds light on Swedish minority’s historic mistreatment, Radio Sweden

United States: Alaskan Inuit dialect added to Facebook’s Translate app, CBC News


Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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