'He was a visionary': Inuit leader remembered in Northern Quebec

'He was a visionary': Inuit leader remembered in Northern Quebec
From CBC - October 12, 2017

RobbieTookalook, an Inuit leader who was instrumental in the signing of the 1975James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreementis being remembered as one of the pillars of modern-dayNunavik.

Tookalookdied on Oct. 4,in his homevillage ofUmiujaq,on Hudson Bay.

''It was important for him to die in the north,'' said his friend Sen. Charlie Watt, who visitedTookalooka few weeks before his death.

Watt said even in hisfinal days,the 73-year-old wanted to discuss elements of the James Baytreatythat have not yet been implemented.

''That'sRobbiefor you,'' said Watt, describing him as a person who was fully committed to any issue he took on.

Defining Canadian history

TheJames Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement was the first majorland-claims agreement in Canada.

In addition to providing financial compensation for Cree and Inuit communitiesaffectedbythe massive James Bay hydroelectric development project,it defined future relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous governments.

Watt remembers meetingTookalookin the early1970sinInukjuak, Que.,during the firstlegal challenge to the hydroelectric project.

Watt said hewas amazed byTookalook'sability to handle himself in a bureaucraticlegal setting, an environment that stoodin such stark contrast tohis northern community.

''He was quite energetic, active and tried his best to represent his people,'' said Watt.''He is going to missed by a lot of us.''

For more than two decades,Tookalookwas a board member ofMakivikCorporation,the administrative body that now represents theNunavikInuit.

Tributes pour in for 'leader, teacher'


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