Koperqualuk, Lisa Qiluqqi

Arctic anthropologist, essayist and activist born in Puvirnituq (Nunavik) in 1962. 

Lisa Qiluqqi Koperqualuk, also called Lisa Koperqualuk or Lisa Koperqualuk Ugaituk, was born in 1962 in Puvirnituq, Nunavik. Around the age of five, her family moved to Kuujjuaq, then to Kuujjuaraapik, and finally to Kangirsuk where they lived for four years. Lisa Qiluqqi Koperqualuk was strongly influenced by her grandfather, Aisa Koperqualuk, an anglican pastor in his community. He gave her the name of his own mother, Qiluqqi. By naming her this way, Aisa gave his granddaughter a saunik, a namesake, linking her being to all of the kinship links in her family. Lisa Qiluqqi Koperqualuk therefore became the "mother" of her grandfather.

At the beginning of her teenage years, Lisa Qiluqqi Koperqualuk decided to move to southern Ontario, and then Montreal, to pursue her education. She graduated with a B.A. in Political Science from Concordia University and a Masters in Anthropology from Université Laval. She has developed her career around these two intertwined aspects; political activism and anthropology.

Lisa Qiluqqi Koperqualuk has held for many years, the position of Communications Officer for the Makivik Corporation, the organization responsible for protecting the interests and the rights of Inuit in Quebec. In July of 2018, she was elected Vice President of the Inuit Circumpolar Council - Canada (ICC). She is also the co-founder of the Inuit Women's Association of Nunavik, "Saturviit", and a member of the Kativik Environmental Quality Commission. During her career, Lisa Qiluqqi Koperqualuk has been involved in programs which aim to improve conditions in Inuit communities. She participated in the creation of a post-secondary education program in Nunavik, "Nunavik Sivunitsavut", which means "Nunavik our future". She was also involved in the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) until the submission of their report in June 2019, when her mandate was completed.

As an anthropologist, Lisa Qiluqqi Koperqualuk focuses primarily on globalization and its impact on Inuit traditional way of life, and on the role Inuit cosmology, spirituality and traditional life plays on the cultures’ capacity to adapt to change. In her article "Anaanaangai! Bonjour, ma mère!", published in the magazine En Quête in 2008, she explains several Inuit customs, including saunik, which are threatened with extinction today. "Être Inuit au Nunavik. Enjeux et défis de la mondialisation", published in Cahiers du 27 juin in 2004, and "Mouvements politiques des Inuit : Pour l'autodétermination du Nunavik", published in Revue sociale et politique in 2014 are some of the many articles she wrote about Nunavik. Traditions Relating to Customary Law in NunavikLes traditions liées au droit coutumier au Nunavikᐱᕐᕈᓯᑐᖃᑦᓴᔭᒥᑎᒍᑦ ᐱᖁᔭᖃᕈᓯᖏᑦ ᓄᓇᕕᒻᒥᐅᑦ, was published in 2015. This book documents the lifestyle of olden times and is based upon interviews with fourty Inuit from Nunavik. In 2015, she authored the introduction of Sheila Watt-Cloutier's autobiography, The Right to Be Cold, translated into French in 2019 under the title Le droit au froid.

Since September 2019, Lisa Qiluqqi Koperqualuk has been curator for the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA), where she facilitates the connexion between the MMFA and Nunavik’s Inuit communities, through the Avataq Cultural Institute.

This biography is based on the available written material during a collective research carried out during 2018-2021. It is possible that mistakes and facts need to be corrected. If you notice an error, or if you wish to correct something in an author's biography, please write to us at imaginairedunord@uqam.ca and we will be happy to do so. This is how we will be able to have more precise presentations, and to better promote Inuit culture.


(c) International Laboratory for Research on Images of the North, Winter and the Arctic, Université du Québec à Montréal, 2018-2021, Daniel Chartier and al.