A special feature of Toonik Tyme is the Honorary Tuniq award. In the early years of Toonik Tyme, this honour was given to a distinguished guest invited to preside over the week’s festivities. In recent years, local residents have been honoured for their contribution to the community and Nunavut. The first Honorary Tuniq was the Right Honourable John Diefenbaker, former Prime Minister of Canada. Other past Honorary Tuniq have included His Royal Highness, Charles, Prince of Wales; three former commissioners of the Northwest Territories: Brent Sivertz, Stuart Hodgson and John Parker; local businessman Bob Hanson and Bowhead Whaling Hunt Captain, Soloman Awa. We are pleased to say that the 2013 Honorary Tuniq is Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory, a storyteller, poet, uaajeerneq dancer, and leader in the promotion & preservation of Inuit culture and arts.
2010 Honurary Toonik John Maurice
John Maurice has lived in many places, but for the last 32 years he has made the Arctic home living in Aklavik, Igloolik and Iqaluit.
He has three University degrees: a Bachelor of Education from the University of Washington, a Master of Arts from the University of Manitoba and a Bachelor of Education from Acadia University. He has also studied at the Universities of London and Victoria. He holds the Diploma of Ministry from Saint Francis Xavier University.
After a long career as a teacher in Nunavut, he retired in 2008. He is presently the Returning Officer for Elections Canada for Nunavut.
For many years, he has been involved with the sport of speed skating and is presently Head Coach and President of the Nunavut Speed Skating Association. He has attended many Arctic Winter Games, Canada Winter Games and other national and international competitions as the representative of Speed Skating Nunavut.
He is married to Rhoda Ungalaq and has four children and two grand-daughters. He is good father to his children. Rhoda and John have a passion for going out to their cabin on the land and so they have a busy schedule of commuting by either boat or snowmobile, and even sometimes on foot to their cabin. John loves music of all sorts and is actively involved in the community as a volunteer, one of the two original volunteers at the Kamatsiaqtut Nunavut Help Line still serving as a volunteer, as a member of several subcommittees for the City of Iqaluit and also with the Iqaluit Roman Catholic Community.
He loves to travel and build houses and cabins, recently has made trips to Chile and Italy and plans many more trips abroad in the future.
Inuapik Sageaktook, Honourary Toonik 2009
Inuapik was born on April 17, 1929 near Lake Harbour, NWT; Inuapik celebrated her 80th birthday in 2009. She married her husband Charlie Sageaktook in August 1949. They raised nine children together and Inuapik now has 13 grand children and 10 great grand children.
Inuapik’s family was one of the first Inuit families to settle in Iqaluit early on her family lived on the Army base. Her knowledge of Iqaluit’s history is great and her stories of when she first settled in Iqaluit are very fascinating and inspirational.
Inuapik shows pride in her Inuit culture for all to see. She can be found lighting the qulliq at numerous ceremonies taking place throughout the city, and describes the importance of the qulliq and how Inuit survived on it.
The Toonik Tyme Society is pleased to recognize Inuapik Sageaktook as the 2009 Honourary Toonik
Simonie Alainga, Honourary Toonik 1984
Simonie Alainga (1934 – 1994) was well-known for his leadership and generosity. He was a father, hunter and provider. He passed on vast knowledge and skills that are still in use today with search and rescue teams. Always eager to help he could always be counted to assists and lead community events including Toonik Tyme.
Jim Kilabuk, Honourary Toonik 1973
Jim Kilabuk (1900 – 1984) who lived in Pangnirtung served as an Honourary Toonik in 1973. His Grand Order Toonik continues to be proudly displayed in the home of his daughter, Meeka. Jim was recognized as an Honourary Toonik in recognition and acknowledgment for his contributions and services to his community and other Inuit villages well throughout his life.
Gordon Rennie, Honourary Toonik 1970
“I was here when Toonik Tyme started,” remembers past town councilor Gordon Rennie. “Diefenbaker was selected for Toonik once and I recall having diner with him when he came … but that was some time after Toonik Tyme started.”
Gordon, originally from Newfoundland and Labrador, was often involved in helping organize Toonik Tyme and points out that residents of Iqaluit who have displayed an exceptional level of community spirit have also been recognized for their efforts by being awarded with Honourary Toonik. Gordon has special memories of the very first Honourary Toonik in 1965.
“Our first Toonik was an Inuk from Cape Dorset, his name was Atchealak … he used to be my clerk at the Hudson Bay Company, a real handyman he was, always around to help out … he dressed up in Caribou furs and came over the hill by dog team … It was really quite dramatic and exciting with all the Inuit dancing and music.”
Gordon has also served as Honourary Toonik (1970) and keeps his Order of the Honourary Toonik in his office.
“I was really quite honoured, I guess I might have been as much of a dignitary as could be found around in those days! It’s good to see that this is still being done for Toonik Tyme.”
His Royal Highness, The Price of Wales
Right Honourable John George Diefenbaker
Commissioner Brent Sivertz
Commissioner John H. Parker
Commissioner Stuart M. Hodgson
Lars Chemuitz, President of Greenland
His Excellency Roland Michener, Governor General of Canada
Bryan R. Pearson, Mayor of Frobisher Bay
Roland LaFrancois, President, Nordair Limited
Peter Thaarup Hoegh, Mayor of Nuuk Greenland
Oqi Kunuk, Elder
Gordon Rennie, 1970
Jim Kilabuk, 1973
Simonie Alainga, 1984
Simanik and Hannah Kilabuk, 2000
Mike Ferris, 2002
Glenn Higgins, 2003
Elisapee Davidee Aningmiuq, 2004
Dick Smith, 2005
Her Excellency Michaelle Jean, Governor General of Canada, 2006
Qamagia Mitsima, 2007
Alicee Joamie, 2008
Inuapik Sageaktook, 2009
John Maurice, 2010