Maatalii Okalik, subject of the NatGeo doc “The Last Ice,” writes about how the Arctic is dying due to climate change and oil profiteers—and her Inuit community needs to be heard.
Originally from Panniqtuuq (Pangnirtung), Nunavut, Maatalii Okalik is recognized locally and internationally for her work as an Inuit youth advocate. As the President of Canada’s National Inuit Youth Council (2015-2017), Okalik built awareness around the unique issues facing Inuit youth, including high suicide rates, occupational uncertainty, and the growing regional impact of climate change. In this role she also championed Inuit cultural and language education among Inuit youth, a cause she further promoted during her tenure at the Pirurvik Center in Iqaluit, Nunavut. Okalik also previously served as the Chief of Protocol with the Department of Executive and Intergovernmental Affairs for the Government of Nunavut and the President of the Ottawa Inuit Children’s Centre. For her activism, she received the 2017 Indspire Award for Inuit Youth and the 2016 Qulliit Nunavut Status of Women Council’s Outstanding Young Woman Award. Okalik has a degree in Human Rights and Political Science from Carleton University and is currently pursuing a Master's in West Nordic Studies: Governance and Sustainable Management at the University of Greenland.