Peter Irniq

Peter Irniq, cultural proponent, public servant, commissioner of Nunavut (b at Lyon Inlet, NV, 1947). Irniq has distinguished himself for his active commitment to and advocacy of Inuit culture in general and, in particular, for promoting the Inuktitut language and the inclusion of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit - Inuit traditional knowledge - in institutions serving the Inuit.

Irniq has lived in several of the communities of the Kivalliq (formerly Keewatin) region to the west of Hudson Bay. He represented the Keewatin region in the Council of the Northwest Territories from 1975 to 1979. He served as Speaker of the Keewatin Council during 1982 and 1983, and was President of the Keewatin Inuit Association for five years. He was the Member of the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories for the constituency of Aivilik from 1987 to 1991. He was not re-elected after 1991.

His first public service appointment was as Executive Assistant to the Assistant Commissioner for the Northwest Territories, which he held during 1974 and 1975. Subsequently, as Superintendent of Renewable Resources, he encouraged the hiring of Inuit and the integration of traditional knowledge into the activities of the department. After the completion of the Nunavut land claims settlement, which led to the decision to create the new territory of NUNAVUT, he served on the Nunavut Implementation Commission. In anticipation of the division of the Northwest Territories, elements of the Northwest Territories' government were reorganized into a dual structure. Irniq represented Nunavut's interests in this new structure by serving as Assistant Director, Nunavut, for heritage and culture in the territorial department of Education, Culture and Employment. He was appointed Deputy Minister of Culture, Language, Elders and Youth in 1998. In 1999 he worked on the establishment of agencies of the fledgling Nunavut government, dealing with official languages, access to information and conflict of interest.

Irniq was appointed the second Commissioner of Nunavut in April 2000. The largely ceremonial office of Commissioner resembles that of the lieutenant-governor of a province.

Irniq concluded his term as commissioner early in 2005. He was replaced by Ann Meekitjuk HANSON on 21 April 2005.