The Honourable Edna Ekhivalak Elias, O.Nu

Commissioner of Nunavut

Edna Ekhivalak Elias

The Honourable Edna Ekhivalak Elias, O.Nu
Commissioner of Nunavut

A respected educator and language specialist, Edna Elias’s years of service to her territory have made her an ideal choice to serve as Commissioner of Nunavut. Ms. Elias has completed her third year of five serving Nunavut.

Ms. Elias’s home community is Kugluktuk, Nunavut, where she has served as a teacher/principal, volunteer for many organizations and for many years served as mayor or councillor.

Ms. Elias’s distinguished career began as an elementary school teacher in Kugluktuk and Arctic Bay in 1980. In the 1980s, she served as Co-Chair of the Northwest Territories Aboriginal Language Task Force, as well as Director of the Language Bureau of the Department of Culture and Employment for the Government of the Northwest Territories.

In the 1990s, she worked as a school principal in Kugluktuk, and as an Executive Assistant at Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. in Cambridge Bay. In 2000, she was the Supervisor at Family and Community Support Services in High Level, Alberta, and in the following years purchased an existing business in Alberta expanding her interpreting/translating business to include consulting on Inuit education, culture and languages.

Ms. Elias enjoyed the work as an Inuinnaqtun interpreter/translator for the Legislative Assembly of Nunavut, Inuit land claims and public organizations and the government. One of her major tasks was a survey of housing needs of Nunavut residents. An Inuit Health survey conducted by McGill University in the mid 2000s, aboard the CCG research vessel, the Amundsen brought Ms. Elias to all the coastal Inuit communities along the Beaufort Sea, Coronation Gulf and through the Northwest Passage to Resolute Bay.

Throughout her long career, Ms. Elias has been dedicated to the promotion of Inuit culture. She oversaw the delivery of Aboriginal and Official Language services for the Government and Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories. She founded the Edmonton Inuit Cultural Society.

In May of 2011, Elias led a 225–km “Women in Action-Steps of Hope” walk for cancer research from Umingmaktok across Dease Strait to Cambridge Bay, NU resulting in a donation of $92,000.00 for the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton.

Ms. Elias is the mother of three children, grandmother of two and a proud great grandmother of one.