Getting down to business
Baker elder appointed to law review commission

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

Baker Lake (Dec 08/99) - Recognition for the knowledge and cultural efforts of Baker Lake elder Barnabus Piryuaq continues to mount.

A mere month after receiving an Inuit Heritage Trust award for his contributions to archeology in Nunavut, Piryuaq was selected as one of four commissioners to serve on Maligarnit Qimirrujiit, Nunavut's Law Review Commission.

Piryuaq joins Sandra Omik and Jonah Kelly of Iqaluit, and Kugluktuk's Lena Pederson on the commission.

In making the appointments, Premier Paul Okalik said he appreciated the interest expressed by the Nunavut residents to take on such an extremely important endeavour.

"There was a considerable number of applicants and I want to thank each one of them for their desire to have a role in this important effort," said Okalik.

Piryuaq says he decided to apply for a commissioner's position after speaking to Baker Lake MLA Glen McLean.

"I was very surprised when I found out I was appointed because I thought they would select someone with more qualifications," said a modest Piryuaq.

"I know it's a big job and I'm a little apprehensive, but when I was chosen I couldn't refuse."

Piryuaq says it's too early at this stage to comment on what he sees as being the biggest challenges facing the commission.

He says much will have to be looked at with the laws inherited from the GNWT and how they fit Nunavut and much will also have to be studied.

"I have quite a lot of material to read and I don't know what kind of budget we're going to have to work with.

"I'll have to study the guidelines and aims of the commission before I really know what the biggest challenges are we face."

Members of the Kivalliq Inuit Association (KIA) were quick to offer Piryuaq their congratulations upon hearing about his appointment.

KIA president Paul Kaludjak says Piryuaq was appointed by the KIA as a founding board member of the Inuit Heritage Trust.

Pirjuaq has been a member of the Baker Lake Qilautimiut Elders Committee and was instrumental in the formation of the Inuit Heritage Centre.

"The Kivalliq Inuit Association would like to applaud the choices of Premier Paul Okalik," said Kaludjak.

"We congratulate Mr. Pirjuaq and the other appointees to the commission."