Two prominent Nunavummiut artists, Mathew Nuqingaq and Tanya Tagaq Gillis, are being named to the Order of Canada. 

The recognition came as a surprise to the Iqaluit-based Nuqingaq, who being recognized for his contributions as a jewellery designer and drum dancer.

"I'm very, very shocked and kind of in disbelief and almost said 'no,' because I was getting nervous," he said.

"I feel that you know there's more deserving people than me and I'm still not really believing it."

Nuqingaq is also being honoured for his leadership role in the arts community, but he said working with others is just part of being an artist.

"We teach and then we learn from them, it goes both ways all the time. Even if it's a young person."

So far he has only told his wife, who he said is supportive, especially when he said he felt that others were more deserving.

"She said, I had made my life out of being an artist,"  Nuqingaq said.

As he tells others, "I think my friends will be proud, they're always very, very supportive."

Tagaq, who is originally from Cambridge Bay, is getting the appointment for her "contributions to Canadian culture through her avant-garde Inuit throat singing."

The Polaris Prize and Juno Award winning performer released her fourth album, Retribution, this year.

Tagaq and Nuqingaq are the 29th and 30th people from the territory to be named to the order in its 50-year history. This afternoon Governor General David Johnston, announced a total of 100 new appointments to the Order of Canada.

The order was created to recognize outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. Appointments are made by the governor general on the recommendation of the Advisory Council for the Order of Canada.