Interactive: Indigenous politicians in Canada

One subject of an excellent Q&A published by the Nunavut Standard this week is P.J. Akeeagok, 43, one of the 20 National Assembly members who represent the Inuit in Parliament. Akeeagok is optimistic about his future:

Q: What’s your philosophy of life?

A: Be optimistic and believe you can do things and be successful. People are watching what you do. They can see you, they can hear you, so you better represent yourself and them well. If you are positive, you will survive.

Q: Do you have any advice for would-be leaders?

A: Experience. Some people just talk. You don’t know if you are going to be good or bad. Experience will help you be better. It will help you grow, develop the skills that will help you make decisions.

Q: What is it like living and working in Inuit communities?

A: It is a unique community in itself. It is usually outside the population of the land where most people live. It is strange to see the fast pace of life of people who live on sparse resources, where people travel long distances to get the basics of life. Not to mention it is a climate that is not very friendly to human beings, which is why living there is very challenging. But it is also very beautiful and unique. You cannot get the essence of Nunavut without being there.

Q: Do you think the people of Nunavut have the political power to govern themselves?

A: I think so. That boy is going to be premier one day.

Q: What do you think about the younger generation of Inuit leaders?

A: Some of them are our leaders. They are doing a wonderful job.

Q: What is the most important goal of your leadership?

A: To lead the people toward the development and economic progress.

Q: What do you want your legacy to be?

A: The people know that I will always be with them. I will always be their leader and I will always work together with them.


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Akeeagok will be premier of Nunavut when the territorial parliament convenes in February 2019.

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