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Nunavut's new senator, Dennis Patterson, served for 16 years in the Northwest Territories legislature as an MLA, cabinet minister and premier. ((PMO))

Nunavut's newest Canadian senator will be Dennis Patterson, who was premier of the Northwest Territories before Nunavut was carved out of it 10 years ago.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Patterson's appointment, along with eight others, in a release Thursday.

Patterson, 60, was premier of the Northwest Territories between 1987 and 1991. He was involved in the settlement of two historic land claims, including the Inuit land claim that created Nunavut in 1999.

He also served as a cabinet minister during his 16-year career in the territorial legislature.

A lawyer, Patterson was the first executive director of the Maliiganik Tukisiiniakvik legal aid society in Iqaluit before he entered politics. He was admitted to the Nunavut Law Society in 2001.

He succeeds Willie Adams, who retired from the Senate on June 22. He had been appointed to the Senate in 1977 by then prime minister Pierre Trudeau.

On Adams's retirement, Inuit groups called on Harper to appoint another Inuk to the red chamber. Patterson, who is not Inuk, currently lives and works as a private consultant in Vancouver.