Arnatsiaq, Nicholas P.

Politician, interpreter and poet born in Agu Bay (Nunavut) in the 1960’s.

Nicholas P. Arnatsiaq, also known as Nick Arnatsiaq or Nicolas Arnatsiaq, was born in actual Nunavut, sometime in the early 1960s. After spending his childhood in the Agu Bay region on northeast Baffin Island, he moved to Igloolik, also in Nunavut, at the age of seven. He attended a Catholic school in Chesterfield Inlet, on the west coast of Hudson’s Bay.

His professional career takes two paths: he is first working as a translator and an interpreter on one hand for his own company in Iqualuit, and on the other hand in Ottawa for the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, an Inuit organization founded in 1971 to represent the interests and rights of all Inuit in Canada. During his Ottawa years, he was also the assistant editor of an Inuktitut language magazine. Since the end of the 1970s, he has actively participated in the local politics in Igoolik, first serving as head of economic development, then president of the Igloolik Cooperative and then a head member of the Baffin Regional Council. Formed in 1977 and composed of the mayors and councillors of Baffin region communities, this group represents Inuit community interests in government discussions. Nicholas P. Arnatsiaq became the vice-mayor of Igloolik and was elected mayor in January 2012. His support for mining development projects in the Igloolik area, including that of Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation, forced him to resign from his position as mayor in July 2012. In the 1970s, he was the author of several writings : stories, legends, poems which were published in Inuktitut Magazine et Interpreter. In these works he addressed many aspects of Inuit life: the residential school experience in Conflict (1972) and the importance of the natural world in Peace of Mind (1977). During several speeches in the 2000s, he expressed his fear of seeing Inuit youth move away from their culture.

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 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.