Biographic Sketch of Rosemarie Kuptana, President, Inuit Circumpolar Conference
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                             P R O F I L E
                           ROSEMARIE KUPTANA

     Born in 1954, Rosemarie Kuptana grew up in a traditional 
     Inuit hunting society and spoke only Inuvialuktun (the 
     Western Arctic dialect of the Inuit language) until the age 
     of eight.  Her home community of Sachs Harbour, Northwest 
     Territories is a village of about 100 people on the Beaufort 
     Sea in the far western Arctic region of Canada.  

     At eight, Rosemarie was taken away by police from her family 
     and community to attend a government residential school for 
     indigenous children four hundreds miles away from her home.  
     As was typical of the education policies applied to 
     indigenous peoples in the 1960's and early 1970 s, she was 
     forced to speak only English and to adopt a foreign way of 
     living.  Her early struggles to resist assimilation into 
     white Euro-Canadian culture helped shaped Ms. Kuptana's 
     determination throughout her adult life to promote Inuit 
     culture and defend the Inuit right to self-determination.  
     She has been guided by the values instilled in her by her 
     parents, William and Sarah Kuptana, her grandparents and 
     extended Inuit family. 

     Rosemarie became involved in Inuit organizations around 1975 
     when discussions first began between Inuit and the 
     Government of Canada to reach formal agreements regarding 
     Inuit land rights.   

     In 1979, Rosemarie began a career in broadcasting by joining 
     the Northern Service Branch of the Canadian Broadcasting 
     Corporation, hosting morning and radio shows on CBC Western 
     Arctic.  Her programs focused on the cultural, social and 
     political issues of the day, including the Inuvialuit land 
     claim negotiations and the oil and gas exploration taking 
     place in the Beaufort Sea. 

     Rosemarie subsequently joined the Inuit Broadcasting 
     Corporation (IBC). IBC was established with a mandate to 
     produce and transmit radio and T.V. programs in Inuktitut, 
     as well as to reflect, and provide information on, 
     contemporary and traditional Inuit life. 

     Ms. Kuptana served the IBC as a Production Coordinator and 
     as President of the Corporation, from 1983 to 1988. Ms. 
     Kuptana has also participated in the design, planning and 
     launching of Television Northern Canada - the first all 
     northern television network serving most of the Canadian 

     After leaving broadcasting, Ms. Kuptana worked towards the 
     advancement of Inuit rights in several Inuit political 
     organizations.  From 1986 to 1989, she was Canadian Vice-
     President for the Inuit Circumpolar Conference -- the 
     international organization which represents the collective 
     interests and identity of the Inuit people living in the 
     Arctic and subarctic regions of four circumpolar countries 
     (Russia, Alaska, U.S.A., Canada and Greenland). 

     From April 1991 to June 1996, Ms. Kuptana served as 
     President of the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada, the national 
     political voice of Inuit in Canada. During this period, she 
     was the lead Inuit negotiator in Canadian constitutional 
     negotiations in which Inuit sought (and came close to 
     winning) recognition of the inherent right of self-
     government of indigenous peoples.  Ms. Kuptana has also been 
     part of a team that successfully negotiated an amendment to 
     an international treaty for the purpose of recognizing the 
     constitutionally protected hunting rights of Inuit. 

     Ms. Kuptana is known as a skilled and determined negotiator, 
     who is always prepared to defend the Inuit right to self-
     determination and the equality rights of indigenous peoples.  
     She has spoken widely on a range of topics affecting Inuit 
     life today such as transboundary pollutants, social issues, 
     constitutional and human rights issues. 

     In 1995, Ms. Kuptana was elected President of the Inuit 
     Circumpolar Conference.  Currently her work for ICC focuses on: 

          public education about Inuit life and culture; 
          environmental protection of the Arctic; 
          promotion of Inuit views on sustainable development and 
          resource management; 
          securing recognition of indigenous peoples right to 

     Now resident in Ottawa, Ms. Kuptana has one daughter, 
     Ellice, and two sons, James and Peter.  Over the years, Ms. 
     Kuptana has received many awards for her service in the 
     protection of Inuit culture and Inuit rights, including the 
     Order of Canada, the Governor General's Confederation Medal, 
     1992 Northern of the Year Award, the 1992 MacLean's Magazine 
     Honour Roll, a 1994 National Aboriginal Achievement Award 
     and honourary doctorates from Trent University and York 

     Wendy Moss
     Special Assistant to the President
     Inuit Circumpolar Conference
     170 Laurier Ave. W., Suite 500
     Ottawa, Ontario
     K1P 5V5

     tel: (613) 563-4967
     fax: (613) 563-0740

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