Arviat loses elder
Community grieves passing of respected woman

by Jennifer Pritchett
Northern News Services

ARVIAT (Oct 15/97) - Meg Kuksuk had just retired from her job with the Arviat hamlet when she passed away at home Oct. 6.

Kuksuk had been a custodian at the community arena for several years and had been an active member of the community for most of her 66 years.

She retired July 27 after her fight with cancer had made it too difficult to go to work, said a man who used to work with her.

"She'll be greatly missed," said the man who didn't want to be identified.

Simona Baker, Kuksuk's daughter-in-law, said she was a member of several area committees including the elders' committee and the Anglican church in Arviat, and was involved in as much as she could find time to do in the community.

She said that the elder will be most remembered for her compassion for people in need, despite the hardship she had experienced in her own life.

Kuksuk's first husband died. Her second husband and one of her children died in a house fire during the '70s.

"(But) she was always the first person there -- it didn't matter if it was day or night, she would even be there all night," she said. "Everybody knows her for what she did for the whole community."

Baker remembers when Kuksuk was the first person to console her mother when her brother had died.

"I was away and she was the first person there," she said.

And even when Kuksuk was dying, she was comforting her family, telling them not to be sad.

Baker said that the family is upset by the passing of Kuksuk, but is also happy that she lived longer than they had all expected.

Kuksuk had been diagnosed with cancer more than two years ago, and family members didn't think she would have been with them that long.

She is survived by 11 children and more than 30 grandchildren.