Turning the page
Keewatin youth part of historic event

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

RANKIN INLET (Apr 06/99) - Gloria Kowtak is a Grade 11 student at Simon Alaittuq high school in Rankin Inlet who now has memories of a lifetime from Nunavut's first big day this past week.

Originally from Whale Cove, Kowtak moved to Rankin Inlet two years ago and an announcement on her school's PA system led her to being part of the new territory's first legislative assembly.

"I first heard about the opportunity to be a page for Nunavut's first legislative assembly when Don (Simon Alaittuq high school principal Donald Clark) announced it over the school's PA system," says Kowtak.

"When I first heard the announcement, I thought I should try and get that because I like travelling and should give it a try, to be there for the first legislative assembly."

Kowtak will be joined in Iqaluit by fellow Keewatin student pages Rachel Misheralak (Whale Cove), Eric Okatsiak (Arviat), Genevieve Killulark (Baker Lake), Salomon Malliki (Repulse Bay) and Stacey Panlyuk (Coral Harbour).

As well as her move to Rankin from Whale Cove, Kowtak had the opportunity during the past two years to travel to Pangnirtung for soccer and volleyball tournaments and says she really enjoys the travelling experience and seeing new places. She says having the opportunity to participate in the first legislative assembly is something very special to her.

"Someday, I'll be able to say to my kids, 'Oh, I was there for the first legislative assembly for Nunavut,'" says Kowtak with a laugh, her obvious pride in being one of the original pages showing through the excitement in her voice.

"I think it's very important for our young people to be aware of opportunities like this and what's going on with Nunavut because maybe they'll be working for our new government in the future. Our leaders of tomorrow are in classes now."

Working for the new Nunavut government somewhere down the line may also be in Kowtak's plans. In fact, being a part of that government isn't a totally alien thought to the amicable young student.

"It was a great opportunity to get a look at and learn some first-hand information about politics. Maybe later I'll become a politician. Politics is something I can, maybe, see myself getting into a little later, after I graduate."