Sanikiluaq man earns national honours for his environmental work

Sanikiluaq man earns national honours for his environmental work

Sanikiluaq resident Lucassie Arragutainaq is a recipient of Polar Knowledge Canada’s 2022 Northern Science Award. He was honored for his work in Inuit research and climate protection, particularly in Hudson Bay. (Photo courtesy of Polar Knowledge Canada)

Lucassie Arragutainaq has worked for more than 30 years to ensure that Inuit voices are heard on how to deal with climate change

For more than 30 years, Lucassie Arragutainaq has worked to ensure that the voices of the Inuit are heard when it comes to fighting climate change.

“The Inuit were talking about climate change when it wasn’t even being mentioned in the scientific community,” he said in an interview with Nunatsiaq News this week.

Arragutainaq of Sanikiluaq was recently recognized for his work when he received the 2022 Northern Science Award at ArcticNet’s annual scientific meeting on December 8.

The award, presented by Polar Knowledge Canada, a federal agency, recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution and enhanced the public’s understanding of northern Canada.

Arragutainaq was honored for his work in Inuit research and conservation. With the award, he received the Centenary Medal and an award of $10,000.

Arragutainaq is a longtime community leader who has worked as a coordinator with the Nunavik and Eeyou Marine Impact Review Boards, as well as the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board.

He also co-edited the Voices from the Bay report, which documents the traditional ecological knowledge of the Inuit and Cree people in the Hudson Bay Bioregion, while serving as chair of the Sanikiluaq Hunters and Trappers Association.

Reflecting on his work documenting climate change and his contribution to research, Arragutainaq said he wanted to help share Inuit knowledge, so much of which has been passed down orally through generations.

“I wanted to break up [the knowledge] down who cares about anyone or the government and wanted to help believe better [Inuit],” he said.

In a press release, Polar Knowledge Canada noted that Arragutainaq has been actively involved in scientific studies of the changing environment of Hudson Bay.

He has documented indigenous ecological knowledge, “influenced the course of research in the region, and brought community voices and priorities to the fore”.

“Mr. Arragutainaq has worked tirelessly for the benefit of the Norse and Aboriginal people and the wildlife on which they depend,” the press release said.

“Through his leadership, experience and expert support of community-driven research, he has been a mentor and an inspiration to young researchers and many others who have worked with him.”

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