Raymond Ningeocheak has died aged 81. He was vice-president of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. from 1993 to 2011 and was involved in several initiatives including bowhead whale hunting limits, polar management, and walrus trichinella testing. (Photo courtesy of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.)
Longtime NTI vice-president was a signatory to the Nunavut Accord, pushed for Inuit self-determination
Raymond Ningeocheak, longtime vice-president of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. and a member of many organizations in the territory, is commemorated this week for his long service to Nunavut.
Ningeocheak died on September 28. He was 81 years old.
“On behalf of the Inuit of Nunavut, I offer my deepest condolences to Raymond’s family,” NTI President Aluki Kotierk said in a statement.
“He will forever be remembered as a true and selfless leader.”
As one of the signatories to the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement — the 1993 document that created a separate territory for the Inuit of the central and eastern Northwest Territories — Ningeocheak has played an important role in the history of Nunavut.
Among his many services, Ningeocheak served as NTI’s second vice president and a member of the organization’s board of directors.
“My father was a very generous person,” his daughter, Sarah Netser, told Nunatsiaq News.
“He taught me that if you want people to be nice to you, be nice to them.”
Ningeocheak was vice-president of NTI from 1993 to 2011. Prior to the finalization of the Nunavut Agreement in 1993, he held several positions in the region.
He was a board member of the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada from 1976 to 1984 and vice-president of the organization from 1985 to 1988. Ningeocheak was also a board member of the organization that preceded NTI , the Tungavik Federation of Nunavut, from 1983 to 1992.
After his time at NTI, Ningeocheak served as Vice President of the Kivalliq Inuit Association from 2012 to 2019.
“He has dedicated his life to making Nunavut a better place to live,” Premier PJ Akeeagok said of Ningeocheak in a statement posted on Facebook.
“It was an honor to have worked with him and I will miss him dearly.”
Throughout his life, Ningeocheak led or was involved in several initiatives aimed at improving Nunavut and Inuit self-determination, NTI said in its statement.
He was a supporter of Inuit harvesting rights and sustainable wildlife management. As Vice President of NTI, he actively pushed for the ban on bowhead whale hunting to be amended to allow harvesting with a limit of five whales per year.
Ningeocheak also played a role in ensuring that Inuit Qaujimajatuqangiit were included in polar bear population estimates and harvest quotas.
Nunavut Tunngavik’s trichinella test is another program it has been involved in, with the pilot taking place in 2017. Currently, the program tests over 100 walrus samples each year to ensure country foods are unique to the region. consumption.
“As Inuit, we have trusted in his leadership and dedicated advocacy,” Nunavut MP Lori Idlout said on Twitter.
“I ask that we come together to honor his life…his legacy must continue.”
Recently, Ningeocheak benefited from a fundraiser to pay for his return flight to Coral Harbor from Ottawa, where he lived at Embassy West Senior Living for over a year.
After what was supposed to be a temporary stint for physiotherapy, Ningeocheak spent more than a year in the south and during that time was diagnosed with dementia, Netser told Nunatsiaq News in February.
The GN would not pay for her return flight to Coral Harbor because they felt they could not provide her with the necessary care in that hamlet, family attorney Anne Crawford told Nunatsiaq News at the era.
Ningeocheak felt isolated down south, Crawford said, and his family had created a plan to care for him in Coral Harbour. They were able to raise $35,000 for him to return home on February 21.
Netser said his father was happy to be with his family for the last part of his life and the family was grateful to have the chance to be with him.
“It meant a lot to the family,” she said.
Outside of his public accomplishments, Netser said his father taught him to help and nurture those in need.
“He said to always be kind and loving,” she said.