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Eva Aariak , MLA is a Canadianmarker politician, who was elected in the 2008 territorial election to represent the electoral district of Iqaluit East in the Legislative Assembly of Nunavutmarker. She was subsequently chosen as Premier of Nunavut, under the territory's consensus government system, on November 14, 2008.


Prior to her election as an MLA, Aariak was the first Languages Commissioner for Nunavut. Originally appointed to a four-year term beginning in 1999, her term was later extended for another year until December 2004. In her capacity as Languages Commissioner, one of her more noted achievements was to choose ikiaqqivik as the Inuktitut language word for the Internet; the word literally means "travelling through layers" and refers to the traditional Inuit concept of a shaman travelling through time and space to find answers to spiritual and material questions.

After stepping down as Languages Commissioner she went on to teach Inuktitut at the Pirurvik Centre in Iqaluitmarker, and later owned and operated Malikkaat, a retail store in Iqaluit which sold Inuit arts and crafts. She was later reappointed as acting commissioner in December 2007 after the resignation of then Languages Commissioner, Johnny Kusugak.

She has also served as coordinator of the Baffin Divisional Education Council's Inuktitut language book publishing program, as president of the Baffin Regional Chamber of Commerce and as chair of the Nunavut Film Development Corporation.

Political career

Aariak was the only woman elected to the Legislative Assembly in the 2008 election. She subsequently expressed her disappointment with that fact, suggesting that improved daycare services in Nunavut might be needed to help women participate more actively in the political process and that the territory should revisit the failed proposal to have a smaller number of electoral districts, each of which would choose one man and one woman as MLAs.

At the Nunavut Leadership Forum on November 14, 2008, Aariak was chosen as the new premier over incumbent Paul Okalik and MLA Tagak Curley. She is the only woman currently serving as a provincial or territorial premier in Canada, and only the fifth woman — after Rita Johnston, Nellie Cournoyea, Catherine Callbeck and Pat Duncan — ever to hold a premiership. She is the sixth female First Minister in the country, that total including former prime minister Kim Campbell.


  • Aariak is occasionally seen as Arreak, which was the original spelling and was due to non-Inuit mishearing the pronunciation of names.


  1. "Nunavut names new premier", The Globe and Mail, November 14, 2008.
  2. Legislative Assembly Bids Fond Farewell to Languages Commissioner Eva Aariak
  3. Katharina Soukup, "Travelling Through Layers: Inuit Artists Appropriate New Technologies", Canadian Journal of Communication, 31: 1 (2006).
  4. "Malikkaat: For all things Inuit", Nunatsiaq News, November 10, 2006.
  5. Nunavut @ Five
  6. Baffin Regional Chamber of Commerce
  7. "Nunavut Film Makers Receive Support for Projects", Nunavut Film Development Corporation, November 24, 2006.
  8. "Daycare needed to tip scales, says sole female MLA", Northern News Services, November 3, 2008.
  9. "Reconsider gender parity, says lone female Nunavut MLA",, October 29, 2008.
  10. "Eva Aariak chosen by MLAs as Nunavut's new premier and first woman leader", Canadian Press, November 14, 2008.
  11. In Old Names, a Legacy Reclaimed

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