Ambassador Mary May Simon

There are many forgotten people in this world.  The fortunate ones find a leader to champion their cause.  The Inuit found one such champion in Mary May Simon.  She has worked incessantly to provide a national and international voice for Inuit concerns.  When she was named Canada’s Circumpolar Ambassador in October 1994, Ms. Simon became the first Inuit person to assume the role of ambassador.  Born in 1947 in George River near Quebec’s Ungava Bay, she began her career as a radio and television host with CBC North.  She was President of Makivik Corporation which oversaw the implementation of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement and had the responsibility for investing $90 million received by the Inuit of Northern Quebec as a compensation.  In 1986 she created the Inuit Circumpolar Conference, an organization dedicated to the advancement of global Inuit and their concerns.  She was the Inuit Negotiator and Senior Advisor to the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada during the Charlottetown discussions.  She has received the Order of Canada, the National Order of Quebec, the Gold Order of Greenland, the Governor General’s 125th Commemorative Medal, and Honourary Doctorates of Law from McGill and Queen’s.  In 1995 she was named chancellor of Trent University.  She received the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for her work with the environment and for raising awareness of, and promoting solutions to, the challenges facing the Inuit of Greenland, Alaska, Russia, and Canada.