Former Nunavut politician elected president of Inuit Circumpolar Council Canada

Monica Ell-Kanayuk will serve as president of the organization from 2018 to 2022, the organization announced on July 15.

Monica Ell-Kanayuk chosen to lead the organization for the 2018-2022 term

Monica Ell-Kanayuk has been elected president of the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) Canada. She is expected to start her new role once the ICC General Assembly wraps up this week in Utqiagvik, Alaska. (Madeleine Allakariallak/CBC)

A former Nunavut cabinet minister has been elected to lead the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) Canada.

Monica Ell-Kanayuk will serve as president of the organization from 2018 to 2022, the organization announced on July 15.

Ell-Kanayuk replaces outgoing president Nancy Karetak-Lindell.

"I'm very happy. I'm a bit surprised, but I'm relieved this is over and I'm looking forward to working hard," Ell-Kanayuk said.

When asked about the challenges ICC is facing, Ell-Kanayuk said she couldn't point to one particular issue. But she said ICC stands for "working together" on Inuit rights, better health determinants, food security, economic development, wildlife and the environment.

The Canadian delegation of the Inuit Circumpolar Council voted in a new president, Monica Ell- Kanayuk of Nunavut, and a new vice-president, Lisa Koperqualuk of Nunavik. ICC's 13th General Assembly runs from July 16-19 in Utqiagvik, Alaska. (Madeleine Allakariallak/CBC)

She also explained why it's important to have an Inuit voice on the global stage

"If we don't deal with our own issues and what we want on the table, somebody else will do that for us."

Lisa Koperqualuk has been elected vice-president, replacing Northwest Territories MLA Herb Nakimayak.

Nakimayak, who represents the Nunakput constituency, ran against Ell-Kanayuk for the ICC Canada president position.

Ell-Kanayuk and Koperqualuk will start their new roles following the 13th ICC General Assembly, which runs from July 16-19 in Utqiagvik, Alaska, also known as Barrow.

With files from Madeleine Allakariallak