Mary Simon: Canada’s New Inuk Governor General

We were thrilled to hear the recent news that Canada’s new Governor General will be Inuk leader, Mary Simon! Born in Kangiqsualujjuaq, Nunavik, Simon grew up in the community of Kuujjuaq and began her career as a producer and announcer for CBC North. Since then, she has worked for over 40 years advocating for Indigenous rights through various organizations and public service positions. Among Simon’s many honours, she is an Officer of the Order of Canada, holds the Greenland Medal for Meritorious Service, a National Aboriginal Achievement Award, honorary doctorates from multiple Canadian universities, and more.

A Brief History of Mary Simon’s Career:

1978–1985: Elected Vice President of the Makivik Corporation, later becoming President

1980–1983: Was an Executive Council Member, Inuit Circumpolar conference

1982–1992: Worked as a Senior Inuit Negotiator during the repatriation of the Canadian Constitution and Charlottetown Accord discussions

1986–1992: Elected President, Inuit Circumpolar Conference

1992–1994: Served as Special Envoy, Inuit Circumpolar Conference

1993: Served as a member of the Nunavut Implementation Commission in 1993; was Co-Director (Policy) and Secretary to the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples

1994: Appointed by Prime Minister Jean Chretien as the first Canadian Ambassador for Circumpolar Affairs

1994–2004: Led negotiations in creating the eight-country council, The Arctic Council, which included active participation of the Indigenous circumpolar world; was the Canadian Ambassador to Denmark; was a member of the Joint Public Advisory Committee of the NAFTA Commission on Environmental Cooperation and later served as chairperson

2004–2005: Was Special Advisor to the Labrador Inuit Association on the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement

2006: Appointed President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami