A man with many hats

NNSL (Sep 15/97) - The former mayor of Gjoa Haven, Uriash Puqiqnak, has been busy since stepping down from the position last year.

Having become involved with the Northwest Passage Historical Society three years ago, Gjoa Haven's mayor from 1991 to 1996 is now devoting much of his time to developing a national park in the area around the community, a project that will hopefully become reality over the next few years.

Puqiqnak has also been working on the Gjoa Haven tourism committee, with an eye to opening a tourism centre.

Scheduled to open sometime this winter pending the arrival of materials from the sealift, the tourism centre will focus on the legendary Franklin expedition and Inuit life.

Seeing a centre built to focus on the traditional way of life is one project dear to Puqiqnak.

"Sometimes I wonder what my children's grandchildren will believe in -- for their culture," said Puqiqnak. He said even the way of life his parents and grandparents lived is greatly different than life now.

By having a hand in seeing the tourism centre built, Puqiqnak said he hopes to help future generations understand the Inuit way of life.

Since stepping down from office, Puqiqnak has been spending much of his time carving. In fact, he built a 12-by-14 house a few kilometres from the town site, close to where he can find marble to carve.

"He's done a lot for the community of Gjoa Haven without asking for anything in return," said community development officer Charlie Cahill.