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ITK President, Natan Obed, and NIYC President, Maatalii Okalik on the passing of Meeka Kilabuk

Media Release: November 10, 2015
Meeka Kilabuk speaking at the National Inuit Youth Summit in August, 2015 in Iqaluit

Ottawa, ON, November 9, 2015 -- Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) President, Natan Obed, and the National Inuit Youth Council (NIYC) President, Maatalii Okalik, honour former Inuit Tapirisat of Canada Secretary-Treasurer, Meeka Kilabuk.

“On behalf of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, I would like to offer my deep condolences to the family of Meeka Kilabuk and take the opportunity to honour the life and legacy.  Meeka indeed reflected the values and attributes that embody our Inuit community and our family – values of hard-work, compassion and pride in her culture.  She was a tireless advocate for her Inuit family as the first secretary-treasurer of ITK’s founding organization, Inuit Tapirisat of Canada, as President of the Qikitani Inuit Association and in her work outside of Inuit politics,” said Natan Obed.

“Inuit are indeed a close knit family and, when we lose a prominent member of our community, it is time for us to honour their life, their work and their passions, and reflect on how we can move forward in a way that honours them,” he continued.  “Meeka’s legacy is one of pride in her culture and traditional knowledge passed on from her mother and sisters. It is also one of support to her community and belief in a bright future for our Inuit family. This is how we will honour her.”

“On behalf of the NIYC family, I would like to pay tribute to Meeka Kilabuk who dedicated her life to preserving and promoting the interests of Inuit and extend condolences to her family. Aakuluuvusi,” said Maatalii Okalik.

“As an Inuk woman from Panniqtuuq, Nunavut, a mother, a visionary, the first ITC secretary treasurer, Inuk ambassador, politician, fashion designer, aunt, grandmother, friend and Elder, she brought perspective to our lives, contributed to the organization of Inuit when it mattered most and championed our best interests selflessly. Meeka was a living example of an Inuk who embodied what we aspire to achieve in Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit: Inuit values and ways of knowing, for today and the generations to come. I commend her for her lifetime achievements that have not gone unnoticed by us and continue to inspire us into tomorrow. Let us honour her. 

“Recently, Inuit youth had the privilege to learn from her as she was a Resident Elder at the latest National Inuit Youth Summit. The knowledge, passion and vision for the future was well received from the youth and no doubt anyone who crossed her path in her lifetime. 

“Her legacy lives on in our regions, across the Inuk world and in each of us. Qujannamiik. Sailittiarit (May peace be with you), ilinnik atiliit amisuuniarivut.”