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New chair of ICC to come from Canada’s eastern Arctic

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Okalik Eegeesiak, an Inuk from Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut, is expected to become the next chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council. Eegeesiak is currently president of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association. The group represents the 14,000 Inuit in the Qikiqtani Region -- also known as the Baffin Region -- of Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of Nunavut.

Canadian Inuit leaders asked Eegeesiak to assume the new position during an ICC-Canada board meeting on Friday.

“I am delighted to have the confidence of Canadian Inuit, and (be) asked to take up this important position,” said Eegeesiak in a news release shortly after the announcement.

The Inuit Circumpolar Council is a non-governmental organization founded in 1977. It represents roughly 150,000 Inuit in Canada, Greenland, the United States and Russia. It holds a general assembly every four years and promotes Inuit rights and culture

It’s expected that Eegeesiak will officially assume the position at the ICC General Assembly in the Arctic Canadian city of Inuvik in July 2014.

“I look forward to working with the ICC offices in Alaska, Russia, and Greenland to determine how best to share with Canadians the important work that needs to be done by all Inuit and for all Inuit,” Eegeesiak said.

The current ICC chair is Greenland’s Aqqaluk Lynge.

This story is posted on Alaska Dispatch as part of Eye on the Arctic, a collaborative partnership between public and private circumpolar media organizations.