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Ms. Novalinga was elected to the Executive position of Makivik Corporate Secretary on January 17, 2019. She was born in Puvirnituq in 1959, and completed her secondary school in Ottawa.
As Corporate Secretary Rita manages the offices Makivik has in Kuujjuaq, Inukjuak, Montreal, Quebec City, and Ottawa. She ensures Makivik’s Annual General Meetings, and Board Meetings run smoothly, and oversees vital logistical areas related to the operations of Makivik’s offices, including an area very dear to her heart – translations and interpreting.
Throughout Rita’s life, since she was eight years old, she has worked as an interpreter and later as a translator, ensuring that Nunavik’s unilingual population understood the world around them. She started working with her father who was a fishing guide, and continued throughout her career as a translator/interpreter. Now as Corporate Secretary she oversees the translators and interpreters Makivik hires for documents and publications, and the interpreters we employ at our meetings.
She started her professional career as a school teacher in Puvirnituq in the early 1990s, for two years, and also worked at the Municipal Council as an Executive Secretary for a year with the Mayor and as an interpreter for him. In 1993 she started working at the Kativik School Board (KSB), now renamed Kativik Ilisarniliriniq (KI), as a secretary, Executive Secretary then as an interpreter and translator, eventually becoming the Secretary General.
In the mid 2000s Rita became the Director General of the Fédération des coopératives du Nouveau-Québec (FCNQ) for five years, overseeing a major economic and social development organization in Nunavik.
She subsequently worked for the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services (NRBHSS) as an Interpreter and Translator for two years before returning to Kativik Ilisarniliriniq as Assistant Director General until her election as Makivik Corporate Secretary in January 2019.
As the Inuit language is her lifelong passion, Rita has been on Committees related to the development and preservation of Inuktitut. In the 1990s a committee composed of Nunavik’s key organizations related to culture and language developed a new Inuktitut language font, called AiPaiNunavik, which brought back the fourth column of syllabics to Nunavik. Rita was a member of this committee which created the font, representing KSB.
At the national level, Rita was a member of the Atausiq Inuktut Titirausiq (AIT) Task Group which worked on the development of a unified writing system for the Inuit language. The AIT is mandated to research and identify the speech components of Inuktut and the current Inuktut orthographies in use, and recommend an Inuktut orthography that has the best chance of advancing Inuktut far into the future.
Rita lives in Dorval, Quebec with her daughter Alyssa. Aside from her passion in language, Rita is an accomplished throat singer, having learned from master throat singers in Puvirnituq while at school In Puvirnituq.