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Manitok Catherine Thompson

Photograph of Manitok Catherine Thompson

First woman Member of the Nunavut Legislative Assembly

Born in Coral Harbour, Northwest Territories in 1955

Manitok Catherine Thompson

Political Affiliation: former Liberal, independent

Legislative Career: Northwest Territories' Legislature for the riding of Aivilik, by-election, re-elected October (1995), Nunavut Legislature for the Rankin Inlet South/Whale Cove riding (1999)

Manitok Thompson graduated from the Teacher Education Program in Fort Smith in 1977 and taught in schools in Coral Harbour, Repulse Bay and Yellowknife until 1983. She remained in the education field for the next 12 years, holding the positions of Coordinator of Interpreter Services with the Stanton Yellowknife Hospital, Language Consultant, Inuktitut Programs Specialist and high school teacher.

During this period, Mrs. Thompson was also an active volunteer, organizing the inaugural Keewatin Arts and Crafts Festival, music festivals, Rankin Inlet's Hamlet Days and the Concerned Citizens Against Drug and Alcohol Abuse. She also was a volunteer pastor for a small church in Repulse Bay. In recognition for her civic involvement she received the Volunteer Award for the Hamlet of Rankin Inlet.

In 1994, she entered politics at the municipal level as a Councillor for Rankin Inlet and was appointed to the Nunavut Social Development Committee.

She was first elected to the Northwest Territories' Legislature for the riding of Aivilik in a by-election on May 8, 1995, and re-elected in October of the same year. While holding the cabinet portfolios of Minister of Municipal and Community Affairs and Minister responsible for the Women's Directorate she was a member of the Standing Committee on Finance, the Standing Committee on Agencies, Boards and Commissions and the Special Committee on Housing.

In Nunavut's historic first election on February 15, 1999, 88 percent of the territory's 12,000 eligible voters cast ballots. Manitok Thompson won the seat for the Rankin Inlet South/Whale Cove riding and was the only woman to be elected among the 11 women candidates. Mrs. Thompson was subsequently elected to Cabinet and appointed as Minister of Public Works and Services and the Minister Responsible for the Nunavut Housing Corporation by her colleague Premier Paul Okalik.

In late 2001, she was named Minister of Community Government and Transportation and Minister responsible for Sport Nunavut. In the final year of her term she held the portfolios of Minister of Education, Minister of Human Resources and Minister responsible for the Arctic College.

Manitok Thompson ran as an independent in the 2004 federal election and was defeated by the Liberal incumbent, Nancy Karetak-Lindell.

Mrs. Thompson is now employed as an official with the government of Nunavut's Department of Education.

She and her husband Tom have two sons, Trevor (Qusagaat) and Randy (Tweenaq) and currently reside in Iqaluit.


Burke, Marie. "Nunavut on the Brink of a New Era in Government." Windspeaker. Vol. 16, no. 11, p. A8.

D'Souza, Patricia. "Dangerous Territory: Nunavut's Burgeoning Evangelical Movement Is Gaining Strength Among Inuit Decision-Makers." This Magazine. Vol. 37, no. 6, (May-June 2004), p. 26.

Government of Nunavut.
(accessed September 15, 2005).

Legislative Assembly of Nunavut.
(accessed September 15, 2005).

Nunatsiaq News.
(accessed September 15, 2005).

Steele, Jackie and Manon Tremblay. "Paradise Lost? The Gender Parity Plebiscite in Nunavut." Canadian Parliamentary Review. Vol. 28, no. 1, (Spring 2005), p. 34-36.

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