IQALUIT, NU February 23, 2023. Pauktuutit’s Board of Directors selected this year’s Inuk Woman of the Year and Young Inuk Woman of the Year as part of our Annual General Meeting.

“These awards recognize the important contributions recipients are making within their communities and the inspiration they provide to other Inuit women,” says Gerri Sharpe, President of Pauktuutit. “As an organization, we believe in strengthening the leadership capacity of Inuit women, particularly those who are bridging the gap for women across Inuit Nunangat and Inuit Nunangiit (urban).”

Young Inuk Woman of the Year

Malaya Bishop originally from Iqaluit is this year’s Young Inuk Woman of the Year. An Underwater Research Technician for Parks Canada’s Underwater Archaeology Team, Malaya has a primary focus on the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror National Historic Site near Gjoa Haven, Nunavut. She researches Inuit observations and historical data and works with – and advocates for – locals to ensure their voices are included in decisions that impact their communities. 

Malaya’s educational background encompasses an array of subjects that spark her interests in creativity, being active, problem solving, community engagement, and observing human behaviour. She completed college training in media production before earning her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a Certificate of Community Engagement and Service-Learning. Malaya then went on to complete a Master of Arts in Northern Studies and her Commercial Scuba Diving certification. 

Now, she advocates for diving to be recognized and acknowledged as a valid and legitimate career in Nunavut waters. She enjoys connecting with Inuit community members and schools to present on underwater archaeology and commercial diving careers. She has a passion for listening to stories and searching underwater for potential archaeological sites.

Inuk Woman of the Year

Nikki Komaksiutiksak from Chesterfield Inlet, NU, is this year’s Inuk Woman of the Year. The Executive Director of Tunngasugit, Western Canada’s first Inuit Resource Centre located in Winnipeg, MB, Nikki is an active member of the Inuit community there and uses her understanding of the South to assist other Inuit moving to the big city.

Nikki demonstrates a passion for her cultural identity. She is an experienced throat singer, teaches Inuit history and culture and is a heartfelt musical performer. Nikki has participated in several international events, including representing Manitoba and Inuit at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Summer Games and more currently, the 2015 Indigenous Music Awards in Winnipeg.


Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada is the national non-profit organization representing all Inuit women in Canada.  Its mandate is to foster a greater awareness of the needs of Inuit women, and to encourage their participation in community, regional and national concerns in relation to social, cultural and economic development.

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