KUUJJUAQ – AUGUST 10, 2021 – It is with profound sadness that Makivik Corporation recognizes the passing of Putulik Papigatuk in Salluit. A tireless advocate for Inuit rights in Nunavik, and a community leader in Salluit, Putulik Papigatuk played an important role in the negotiations, and was one of the eleven Inuit to sign the historic James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement (JBNQA) in 1975.
“Putulik was an important figure in the development of today’s Nunavik,” said Pita Aatami, President of Makivik Corporation. “The JBNQA was the first comprehensive land claim agreement signed in modern times and could not have been realized without the leadership of the Northern Quebec Inuit Association, of which Putulik was a member. The agreement ultimately led to the 1978 creation of Makivik to administer the funds from the JBNQA. Putulik’s role and contribution was invaluable. We will miss him very much and we send our heartfelt condolences to his family.”
Born in an Igloo, Putulik Papigatuk lived his entire life in his hometown of Salluit, formerly known as Sugluk. He attended the Federal Day School in Sugluk until grade five, and then attended Residential School in Churchill Manitoba from 1965-66. From 1969 to 1973 he worked for the Falconbridge Nickel Mine and Asbestos Corporation. But it was as a Northern Quebec Inuit Association board member during the 1975 JBNQA negotiations that he made his greatest mark on Nunavik history.
In recognition for his important role in the development of the JBNQA, he and his fellow signatories were awarded the Order of Nunavik in 2015. Putulik Papigatuk was also a member of the negotiating team for the Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement (NILCA).
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Makivik is the land claims organization mandated to manage the heritage funds of the Inuit of Nunavik provided for under the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement. Makivik’s role includes the administration and investment of these funds and the promotion of economic growth by providing assistance for the creation of Inuit-operated businesses in Nunavik. Makivik promotes the preservation of Inuit culture and language as well as the health, welfare, relief of poverty, and education of Inuit in the communities.