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Levi Nowdlak, left, is Qulliit Nunavut Status of Women Council's Wise Woman of the Year for 2009. Nowdlak's mother Evie Onalik, right, says she is proud of her daughter for speaking out against sexual abuse. - Gabriel Zarate/NNSL photo

Young but wise

Gabriel Zarate
Northern News Services
Published Monday, March 16, 2009

IQALUIT - Nunavut's main women's advocacy group has given its highest annual award to a young woman for speaking out against sexual abuse.

Levi Nowdlak, 18, of Iqaluit, was named this year's Wise Woman of the Year by the Qulliit Nunavut Status of Women Council.

The presentation of the third annual award happened on International Women's Day, March 7, at Inuksuk High school in Iqaluit.

The awards are meant to celebrate women who are role models in their communities and who are known for their volunteerism and service to others, while also acknowledging advocacy work that has improved the status of women in the territory.

Like many Nunavummiut women, Nowdlak was a victim of sexual abuse. Unlike many, she has spoken out.

"(This award) is going to show girls that they can step up and say that something happened to them without fear of being judged," Nowdlak said.

Nowdlak's mother said she was proud of her daughter.

"It took a lot of courage and strength to speak up and speak out," said
Evie Onalik. "I really hope other girls can see this and follow it as an example."

-with files from Carolyn Sloan