Mariano Aupilardjuk, Pond Inlet Drum Dancers at Larga

Mariano Aupiliardjuk (1923-) was honoured with an Aboriginal Achievement Award in 2001 for his contributions as a bridge between generations, Inuit governance, local residents, on how to use IQ in modern society. In local Rankin Inlet elementary and secondary schools, at NAC, across Canada, advises RCMP, facilitates community and pan-territorial healing, works with youth to help them acquire land skills

“Aupilardjuk, a well-known elder who sits on the task force, recalled the arrival of Qallunaat: “When the Europeans arrived I felt very happy because I didn’t think we’d suffer anymore. But, in the long run, we lost our identity and culture,” he said. He pointed out, though, that while the two cultures may have clashed in the past, there’s opportunity now for mutual respect. “When I’m still alive I’d like to assist the next Inuit generation and their own identity,” Aupilardjuk said. No one is saying the task of implementing IQ will be easy. The Nunavut government has said it wants traditional knowledge to be at its foundation, but it has yet to be fully incorporated (Rideout 2001b).”

“If it were up to the Nunavut government’s Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit task force, Inuktitut would be their working language, government programs would reflect the Inuit way of life, and Inuit culture would flourish in the workplace. In meetings that were ripe with Inuit culture — the lighting of the qulliq, eating country foods and singing traditional songs — GN employees, Nunavut Social Development Council members, and elders talked about ways of bringing Inuit traditional knowledge into the daily workings of the territorial government (Rideout 2001b).”

“The task force’s mission is to direct the Nunavut government on how to apply Inuit traditional knowledge to its programs, policies and services, and to make government offices more conducive to the Inuit lifestyle. The task force — made up of Simon Awa, Sandra Inutiq, NSDC members Louis Tapardjuk and John Ningark, and elders Elisapee Ootoova and Mariano Aupilardjuk (Rideout 2001b)”
A respected elder and an Inuit filmmaker are two of the winners of this year’s national aboriginal achievement awards. Mariano Aupilardjuk of Rankin Inlet and Zacharias Kunuk of Igloolik are among a group of 14 notable people who will be honoured at a gala evening in Edmonton next month. Aupilardjuk, widely recognized throughout Nunavut for his wisdom and teachings of Inuit traditional knowledge, said he was proud of the award. “It made me accept myself more,” Aupilardjuk said through an interpreter. Aupilardjuk, who is now in his seventies, has spent years promoting Inuit culture. He’s given numerous talks at Nunavut schools, as well as throughout Canada, on Inuit traditional knowledge. He has a deep sense of how Inuit Quajimajatuqangit links the past, present and future of the Inuit people. Aupilardjuk said many Inuit are taking a keen interest in preserving their age-old traditions by incorporating them into everyday life. “I am happy about it. I’m hearing it more from others about how important it is and how it’s becoming a reality,” Aupilardjuk said. The National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation is also praising the elder for his work with healing circles throughout the territory. Aupilardjuk’s sense of spirituality and compassion was evident last week when he sang a powerful song at an Inuit Quajimajatuqangit meeting in Iqaluit. The song told the story of a homeless man Aupilarduk saw on the street in New York City. He said people walked past the man, showing little compassion for his suffering. During the song, the elder touched his heart and the words brought many people, including Aupilardjuk, to tears (Rideout 2001a).

Mariano Aupilardjuk of Rankin Inlet Aupilardjuk, widely recognized throughout Nunavut for his wisdom and teachings of Inuit traditional knowledge, said he was proud of the award. “It made me accept myself more,” Aupilardjuk said through an interpreter. Aupilardjuk, who is now in his seventies, has spent years promoting Inuit culture. He’s given numerous talks at Nunavut schools, as well as throughout Canada, on Inuit traditional knowledge. He has a deep sense of how Inuit Quajimajatuqangit links the past, present and future of the Inuit people. Aupilardjuk said many Inuit are taking a keen interest in preserving their age-old traditions by incorporating them into everyday life. “I am happy about it. I’m hearing it more from others about how important it is and how it’s becoming a reality,” Aupilardjuk said.The National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation is also praising the elder for his work with healing circles throughout the territory. Aupilardjuk’s sense of spirituality and compassion was evident last week when he sang a powerful song at an Inuit Quajimajatuqangit meeting in Iqaluit. The song told the story of a homeless man Aupilarduk saw on the street in New York City. He said people walked past the man, showing little compassion for his suffering. During the song, the elder touched his heart and the words brought many people, including Aupilardjuk, to tears.
[2004 Aupilardjuk is 81. He grew up near Nattiligaarjuk, Committee Bay where there was lots of ‘old ice’ and therefore Qallupilluq (Ernerk 1996)] Nunavut’s commissioner, Peter Irniq, said both men are well-deserving of their awards.

Peter Irniq has a special respect for Aupilarduk, because their families lived together in an outpost camp near Repulse Bay when Irniq was a child (Rideout 2001a).

Selected Bibliography

1995. “A Special Report on Nunavut.”
Bell, Jim. 1998. “MLA peeved at inaccurate documentary on Marble Island.” in Nunatsiak News. Iqaluit, NU. http://www.nunatsiaq.com/archives/nunavut981031/nvt81002_15.html

—. 2000. “Université Laval to host Nunavut blab-fest.” in Nunatsiak News. Iqaluit, NU. http://www.nunatsiaq.com/archives/nunavut000230/nvt20211_09.html

Editor. 2001. “Mariano Aupilardjuk: Heritage and Spirituality.” in First Nations Drum. http://www.firstnationsdrum.com/Sum2001/NAAA-Aupilardjuk.htm

Ernerk, Peter. 1996. “Life in another time.” in Nunatsiak News. Iqaluit, NU. http://www.nunatsiaq.com/archives/back-issues/week/60216.html

Legatto, Lisa. 2001. “Saint Mary’s to Archive Unique Interviews.” in Saint Mary’s The Times. Halifax, NS. http://www.stmarys.ca/thetimes/may01/article_archive.html

McKibbon, Sean. 1999. “Iqaluit museum hosts Rankin ceramics exhibit.” in Nunatsiak News. Iqaluit, NU. http://www.nunatsiaq.com/archives/nunavut991230/nvt91203_10.html

Minogue, Sara. 2004. “Swiss collectors eye Inuit artworks.” in Nunatsiak News. Iqaluit, NU. http://www.nunatsiaq.com/archives/40528/news/nunavut/40528_10.htm

Murphy, Kirsten. 2002. “A hard lesson in ceramics.” in Nunatsiak News. Iqaluit, NU. http://www.nunatsiaq.com/archives/nunavut021018/news/features/21…

Poll. 2004. “GN Government priorities.” in Nunatsiak News.

Rideout, Denise. 2001a. “Inuit filmmaker, elder win aboriginal achievement awards.” in Nunatsiaq News. http://www.nunatsiaq.com/archives/nunavut010228/nvt10202_13.html
—. 2001b. “Nunavut’s Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit group gets started.” in Nunatsiak News. Iqaluit, NU. http://www.nunatsiaq.com/archives/nunavut010228/nvt10202_08.html

Secretariat, Rural. 2001. “Canadian Rural Partnership: Rural Canadians on the Internet: Rankin Inlet.” in Canadian Rural Partnership. Ottawa, ON. http://www.rural.gc.ca/internet/story3_e.phtml

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