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Putting his stamp on the nation

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Young David (Ottukia) Dechert, originally from Chesterfield Inlet, can already boast something the vast majority of Canadians never will - and he's only four years old.

NNSL photo/graphic

David Dechert displays the Leocadia Emingak-made parka he was wearing in 2009 when his photo was taken at the Cambridge Bay airport that now adorns a Canadian stamp. - photo courtesy of Christine Dechert

Dechert is featured on Canada Post's new Canadian Pride stamp series.

The photo of David that appears on the stamp was taken on May 25, 2009, in Cambridge Bay.

David and his mom, Christine Dechert, call British Columbia home, but Christine spends a lot of time working as a doctor in both the Kivalliq and Kitikmeot regions, mainly in Cambridge Bay.

The two happened to be in Cambridge when former governor general Michaelle Jean paid a visit.

Christine said she and David joined a couple of nurses at the airport to see Jean.

She brought David along because he loves airplanes and is always fascinated by them.

"Davey was wearing a really attractive parka made by local seamstress Leocadia Emingak that made him look gorgeous," said Christine.

"While we were waiting at the airport, a photographer took a lot of pictures of Davey. He's a pretty cute kid, so it's not uncommon for people to pay a lot of attention to him and take his picture. But this guy really took a lot and, at the end, he asked me for David's name."

That was that for about the next nine months, when the nurse in charge at the Cambridge Bay Health Centre contacted Christine to tell her Canada Post wanted to use her son's picture on a stamp.

Christine said she was quite happy to let David's image appear on the stamp.

She said it's pretty thrilling to know David, an Inuk child, is on a stamp representing all Canadians.

"He's on a domestic definitive stamp, which is neat because that's the one used most in Canada for letter mail. Definitive stamps are the smaller ones people use most of the time, and then there's the bigger commemorative ones. Seeing Davey on a stamp representing all Canadians is pretty cool."

Christine said David is too young to comprehend what all the fuss is about.

She said he's seen her get excited about his stamp, and people talk to him about it, but, to him, a stamp is something you put on ink and make a picture of Santa Claus.

"It's a proud time for the family, and really nice that his first family still considers him one of their own.

"Davey's birth parents are Belinda Sammurtok and Tommy Adams, so he has relatives across the North in the Kivalliq, parts of the Kitikmeot and Northern Quebec.

"It's really nice for them to see a family member on a stamp, and I want to honour them for the gift they gave me in Davey."

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