Canada Post honours former N.W.T. Premier Nellie Cournoyea

The new stamp features a photo of Cournoyea taken in 2022. The inside cover of the stamp booklet features a photograph of Cournoyea taken in 1993 that’s superimposed over a photograph of Trout Lake, Northwest Territories. (Courtesy Canada Post)

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 IslandYukon.

The community of Aklavik in Canada’s Northwest Territories. (Kate Kyle/CBC)

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.

Comments, tips or story ideas? Contact Eilís at eilis.quinn(at) 

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Director hopes film on Hebron relocation can both educate and spark healing, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Certification marks help both Sami artisans and consumers, says council, Eye on the Arctic

Russia: German project to house everything published in Siberian and Arctic languages to seek new funding, Eye on the Arctic

Sweden: 2022 Gollegiella Nordic Sami language prize awarded in Stockholm, Eye on the Arctic

United States: How Inuit culture helped unlock power of classical score for Inupiaq violinist, Eye on the Arctic

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

Leave a Reply

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.
Netiquette »

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *