George Berthe

George Berthe is definitely a young man in a hurry. At 22, he is a seasoned veteran of Nunavik politics, currently serving as Assistant to the Vice-President of the Makivik Corporation, the organization charged with advancing the political, economic and social interests of Nunavik’s Inuit. Mr. Berthe assists with the corporation’s environmental and wildlife responsibilities. He’s also the youngest person working there. Through this work, he has already played an important role in the implementation of an agreement of legendary importance to Aboriginal life and success in Canada, the 1975 James Bay Northern Québec Agreement. Before that, he was recruited from his high school to serve as the political assistant to the Chairman of the Kativik Regional Government. He was elected Student Council President of Kuujjuaq’s Jaanimmarik High School and won numerous achievement awards. Then he ran successfully and was elected to serve as a Director of the Nayumivik Landholding Corporation. He was 19; the youngest person ever elected to this position. Fluent in Inuktitut, English and working on his French, Mr. Berthe is someone to watch in the years ahead. Already an excellent public speaker, he has a special interest in developing modern technologies as a way to improve life in the rugged North. Recently, he was appointed President of the Fundraising Committee assisting Taqramiut Nipingat Inc., the Inuit radio and television corporation of Arctic Québec. Born in the challenging lands of Northern Québec, Mr. Berthe has always demonstrated a devotion to his Aboriginal language, culture and traditions. His young life has also been touched by tragedy. Mr. Berthe lost one brother to suicide and another to tuberculosis. Adopted by his grandmother, he was only five when his grandfather died. As difficult as these tragedies were, he did not let them consume him, choosing to forge ahead. Mr. Berthe was the 1997 National Aboriginal Achievement Award youth recipient, receiving the award for the leadership he has shown, and the hope for the future he represents and embodies.