An Inuit leader and a filmmaker have received the Northern Medal from the Governor General’s office. The award was created in 2005.
Mary Simon, president of Canada’s national Inuit organization Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, received the honor for her lobbying efforts on behalf of the Inuit in Nunavut, northern Quebec, Labrador and the Northwest Territories. From 1994 to 2003 she served as ambassador of circumpolar affairs and was Canada’s ambassador to Denmark from 1999 to 2001, the first Inuk to hold such a position, according to CBC News.
Filmmaker Zacharias Kunuk is the other recipient. He co-founded the filmmaking company Igloolik Isuma Productions, known for the 2001 Cannes Camera d’Or–winning Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner), which was filmed in Inuktitut and also won several other awards. He has produced documentaries on Inuit culture and climate change as well as being involved in making The Journals of Knud Rasmussen and Before Tomorrow.
More information on the Governor General’s Northern Medal and why the winners were chosen can be found here.