Inaugural Louie Kamookak medal awarded to Josephine Kamookak

by Derek Neary- November 7, 2018

Josephine Kamookak, wife of the late Inuit historian and educator Louie Kamookak, accepted one of the first Louie Kamookak medals presented at a National Arts Centre ceremony in Ottawa on Nov. 1.

Josephine Kamookak of Gjoa Haven accepts a medal named in honour of her late husband, Louie Kamookak, from Gavin Fitch, president of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society in Ottawa on Nov. 1. Ben Powless/Canadian Geographic photo

The Royal Canadian Geographic Society, for which Louie was an honorary vice-president, established the award to commemorate Louie, who was instrumental in helping locate the John Franklin British expedition ship Erebus, which had been lost in the Arctic Ocean since the mid-1840s. His contributions to geographical knowledge were also cited as a reason for the medal in his name.

Louie, a resident of Gjoa Haven, died in March.

“The reason (Josephine) got the medal is because she accompanied (Louie) almost every step of the way. She, in her own right, is a pretty amazing person as well,” said Deb Chapman, communications manager with The Royal Canadian Geographic Society.

Josephine couldn’t be reached for comment.

Jared Harris, an English actor who portrayed Capt. Francis Crozier in the AMC television series The Terror, which dramatized the ill-fated Franklin expedition, was also awarded a Louie Kamookak medal.

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