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People

Tagak Curley

Photograph: Tagak Curley

Source

Tagak Curley.

(1944 - )

Tagak Curley was a founding member and the first president of the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada. He has for many years been politically active at the local and territorial level. Currently he is president of the Nunavut Construction Corporation.

Tagak Curley was born in Coral Harbour. Although he was raised in the traditional Inuit manner, he also attended local English schools.

From 1966 to 1970, he worked as a development officer with the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development. His first-hand view of rapidly disappearing culture and traditions moved Curley to become involved in the political organization and leadership of his people at the local level, serving as the Repulse Bay settlement manager in 1970-71. He also acted as editor of the Keewatin Echo, the first English-Inuktitut newspaper in Canada.

Curley formed the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada (ITC) in 1971, out of a desire to have the Inuit represented by their own organization, and became its first president. He later held positions with the Nunavut land claim negotiating team, the Inuit Cultural Institute, and the Nunasi Corporation. At the territorial level, he was a member of the legislative assembly from 1979 to 1987. While a member, he held several cabinet posts: minister of economic development, minister of Mines and Resources Secretariat, and minister of public utilities from 1984 to 1987, and minister of government services in 1986-87. He also ran as a federal Liberal candidate in the 1979 election.

In the years following the passage of the Nunavut Act [laws.justice.gc.ca/en/N-28.6/index.html], Curley acted as business manager for Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI), the organization implementing the land claim. Currently, he is president of the Nunavut Construction Corporation (NCC), the company responsible for building the government offices and housing necessary for the new territory. He has held this position since April 1997.

Sources

Aboriginal people profiles, politicians : Tagak Curley [online]. -- Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, 2000 [Cited December 1, 2000]. -- Access: www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/ks/english/3106_e.html

National Aboriginal Achievment Awards, 1998 recipients : Tagak Curley [online]. -- National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation [Cited December 1, 2000]. -- Access: www.naaf.ca/rec98.html#Curley

Windspeaker profiles of outstanding Aboriginal people : Tagak Curley [online]. -- AMMSA (Aboriginal Multi-Media Society). -- [Cited November 29, 2000]. -- Access: www.ammsa.com/achieve/AA98-T.Curley.html