- Abe Okpik
Abe "Abraham" Okpik [ [http://www.nunanet.com/~nunat/week/70718.html#2 Arctic residents say farewell to the humble name-giver] ] CM, [ [http://www.gg.ca/honours/search-recherche/honours-desc.asp?lang=e&TypeID=orc&id=1260 Order of Canada Abe Okpik, C.M.] ] (
12 January, 1929- 10 July, 1997) was instrumental in helping Inuitobtain surnames rather than disc numbers. He was also the first Inuk to sit on what is now the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories[ [http://www.civilization.ca/media/docs/fs60s03e.html Civilization.ca Fact Sheet] ] and worked with Thomas Berger.
Okpik (the name means "
Snowy Owl" in Inuvialuktun), an Inuvialuit, was born in the Mackenzie Delta area of the Northwest Territories, near Aklavik at a summer fishing camp. As a youth he, like many other aboriginal people, contracted tuberculosisand was sent to the Charles Camsell Hospitalin Edmonton. Although he was permanently injured by his dog sledhe was still able to hunt and trap.
By the 1960s, Okpik was living in what was then called Frobisher Bay, now Iqaluit. He was working at Apex, the subdivision where most Inuit lived in the town's early days, at the rehabilitation centre. He was later to work for Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (DIAND) as an administrator.
In 1965 Okpik was appointed to the
Northwest Territories Council( 5th Northwest Territories Legislative Council), the forerunner of the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories. At that time most of the council were from Ottawa, only a few were elected, and Okpik was the first Inuk appointee.
Since the 1940s the
Government of Canadahad used "disc numbers" to identify Inuit due to the lack of need in historical times for surnames. In the mid 60s the Northwest Territories Council undertook to replace the disc numbers with last names under "". Okpik, his disc number was "W3-554", was picked to head the project. From 1968 until 1971 he visited every community, as well as many traditional campsites, in the Northwest Territories, what is now Nunavutand Nunavikin northern Quebec. At each place Okpik would record the names, sometimes first as well, that people wanted and would sometimes have to explain the necessity for the names. [ [http://www.katilvik.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=5&Itemid=30 katilvik.com Glossary] ]
The Berger Commission
In 1974 the Government of Canada commissioned Thomas Berger to head the
Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry. The inquiry lasted longer and travelled further than was expected, through 35 northern communities, [ [http://history.cbc.ca/history/webdriver?MIval=EpisContent.html&series_id=1&episode_id=17&chapter_id=2&page_id=1&lang=E Natives Speak Out] ] and Okpik accompanied Berger as both an interpreter and broadcaster.
Order of Canada
In recognition of Okpik's work with the "Berger Commission", on the NWT Council and for "Project Surname" he was made a "Member of the Order of Canada". The appointment was made
15 December, 1976with the investiture 20 April, 1977.
Later life and death
In 1979 he returned to Iqaluit but had spent time on
Banks Islandand in Spence Bay, now Taloyoak.
Okpik spent the rest of his life in Iqaluit and was an elected member of the town council on several occasions. He also served on several volunteer organisations and committees. Okpik died in Iqaluit
10 July, 1997after an illness and his funeral service was held in St. Jude's Cathedral 15 July.
The "Abe Okpik Hall" in Apex [ [http://www.nunatsiaq.com/archives/51223/news/iqaluit/briefs.html "Iqaluit this week"
Nunatsiaq NewsDecember 23, 2005] ] is named for him. The former mayor of Iqaluit, Jimmy Kilabuk, had a mural painted on the side of his home in 1998 that included Okpik. [ [http://www.nunatsiaq.com/archives/nunavut980731/nvt80717_02.html Community group sponsors public art in Nunavut's capital Nunatsiaq News July 16, 1998] ]
* [http://www.turtletrack.org/Issues03/Co11152003/CO_11152003_Elder_Story.htm Elders' stories - Abe Okpik]
* [http://www.nald.ca/library/learning/unipkausivut/page25.htm What Does It Mean to Be an
Eskimo? by Abe Okpik]
* [http://www.nunavut.com/nunavut99/english/name.html "WHAT'S IN A NAME?" by
Ann Meekitjuk HansonCommissioner of Nunavut, in which she remembers Abe Okpik]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Okpik — redirects here. For the person, see Abe Okpik. Okpik Owner … Wikipedia
Inuit language — The Inuit language is traditionally spoken across the North American Arctic and to some extent in the subarctic in Labrador. It is also spoken in far eastern Russia, particularly the Diomede Islands, but is severely endangered in Russia today and … Wikipedia
Disc number — Aboriginal peoples in Canada … Wikipedia
Iqaluit — Infobox Settlement official name = Iqaluit other name = native name = ᐃᖃᓗᐃᑦ nickname = motto = imagesize = image caption = Aerial view of Iqaluit flag size = image seal size = image shield = shield size = image blank emblem = blank emblem size =… … Wikipedia
List of Inuit — This is a list of Inuit people. The Inuit (sometimes referred to as Eskimo) are a group of culturally similar indigenous peoples inhabiting the Arctic regions of Alaska, Greenland, the Canadian territories of Northwest Territories and Nunavut,… … Wikipedia
Aboriginal peoples in Canada — Native Canadian redirects here. For Canadian born people in general, see Canadians. Aboriginal peoples in Canada … Wikipedia
Aklavik, Northwest Territories — Infobox Settlement name = Aklavik native name = Akłarvik other name =Location map polarx CanadaGeo caption = lon shift = 4.1 label=Aklavik label size=70 | lat skew=1.2 background = #DDDD22 position=top lat = 68.22 long = 135.0 mark=Green pog.svg… … Wikipedia
Nunavut (electoral district) — Nunavut Nunavut electoral district Nunavut riding in relation to Canada Federal electoral district … Wikipedia
Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry — The Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry was commissioned by the Government of Canada on March 21, 1974 to investigate the social, environmental, and economic impact of a proposed gas pipeline that would run through the Yukon and the Mackenzie River … Wikipedia
Liste der Members des Order of Canada/O — Members des Order of Canada A B C D E F G H I J K … Deutsch Wikipedia