Canada Post unveiled a new stamp in honour of Nellie Cournoyea, the former premier of the Northwest Territories (N.W.T.).
The stamp was unveiled at a community event at in the Northwest Territories community of Ulukhaktok.
“Champion of her people – the Inuvialuit of Canada’s western Arctic – Nellie Cournoyea is known for the unwavering vision, work ethic and heart that have guided her fight for Indigenous self-determination and Inuit empowerment,” Canada Post said in a statement on Sunday.
The stamp features a 2022 headshot of Cournoyea, taken by photographer Peggy Jay.
Life in politics
Cournoyea, an officer of the Order of Canada, was premier of the Northwest Territories from 1991-1995.
She was only the second woman to lead one of Canada’s provincial or territorial governments, and was the first Indigenous woman to do so.
She was first elected to the N.W.T. legislature in 1979 and went on to hold several ministerial positions before becoming premier.
After the end of the premiership, she went on to lead the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, the organization that represents Inuit in Canada’s western Arctic.
Prior to that she was a radio broadcaster and a land claims fieldworker.
Childhood in the Arctic
Cournoyea was born in the Northwest Territories community of Aklavik to a Norwegian father, a trapper, and an Inuit mother from Herschel Island, Yukon.
As a child she grew up in a bush camp and completed school by correspondence.
Cournoyea is now chair of the Nutrition North Canada Advisory Board and vice-chair of the Tuktoyaktuk Community Corporation.
Stamp series honours Indigenous leaders
The Cournoyea stamp is the latest addition to Canada Post’s ongoing multi-year series honoring Indigenous leaders, which began in 2022.
Two other stamps will be launched this week, one in honour of George Manuela, a leader from B.C. and a member of the Neskonlith Indian Band of the Shuswap Nation; and Thelma Chalifoux , a Métis teacher and senator from Alberta.
All three stamps will be available as of June 21, National Indigenous Peoples Day, online at Canada Post or in outlets.
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