- BA / 95
Able to speak English, French and Inuktitut, Paul Okalik was Nunavut’s first premier. He has a long history of working hard for the Inuit and their land. After working for years towards a land claim agreement that would see the birth of Nunavut, Okalik came to Carleton in the early 1990s, earning a degree in political science and Canadian studies. Since then he has also earned a law degree and was called to the bar in 1999, becoming Nunavut’s first Inuk lawyer.
In addition to the Nunavut Land Claim Agreement of 1993, Okalik’s work as premier brought about significant improvement in the socio-economic conditions facing Inuit in Nunavut. He brought in a modern Human Rights Act, Education Act, Official Languages Act (which made Nunavut the only truly trilingual jurisdiction in the country) and the Inuktitut Language Protection Act which created the only public government in the country to protect an aboriginal language.
In 2005, he received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Carleton.