Joey Angnatok
Joey at sea Author: Rodd Laing

Joey Angnatok

Social Entrepeneur

collecting knowledge for community and beyond

meet joey

An Inuk from Nain, Nunatsiavut, Joey is a unique blend of social entrepreneur, expert knowledge holder, researcher, role model, husband and father. Joey, a commercial fisherman, is trusted by community members and an all-Inuit crew onboard his 65-foot MV What’s Happening. This vessel is used for commercial fishing and for marine research from Goose Bay in the eastern subarctic to Resolute, Nunavut. He has become a reliable resource for community members, governments, and academia to better understand the unique environment in which he lives and works.

collecting knowledge for community and beyond
Nominated by: Jason Edmunds MI'15
Class of 2021 Location Nunatsiavut
Joey Angnatok and his MV What's Happening
Joey Angnatok and his MV What's Happening

As an Inuit hunter, trapper and fisherman, I have had the opportunity to explore the Coast of Labrador by snowmobile and boat during all seasons. Over several decades, I have witnessed the ever-changing climate first hand; these changes include shrinking icebergs, changes in sea ice formation and thickness, warming weather temperatures in all seasons, a decrease of cold water species, shrubs growing in the North, and the decline of the George River Caribou herd. I have witnessed the introduction of new species such as killer whales and cormorants, and parasites present in different species. I have also witnessed the change of animals’ abilities to adapt to survive such as polar bears fishing in rivers like grizzlies and seals feeding in freshwater lakes.

“This gathered knowledge of land and sea allows me to contribute to our own local knowledge and to the work of Western researchers and others on adaptation to this changing world.”

- Joey Angnatok

During a very impactful two-week trip for fieldwork, one goal was to determine if Greenland sharks were present in the Northwest Passage. Our findings were astonishing. The answer was an overwhelming yes.

Any fieldwork completed in Resolute Bay requires there to be an Inuk present with researchers. On one occasion because of being Inuit from another region, a special meeting was held to determine whether or not it was still required. While steaming into the harbour of Igloolik, the beach was full of people. We met with the mayor who told us that the news of our fieldwork was spreading from town to town. The message from the elders was that we had inspired members of these communities to see that there are no limitations to what Inuit people can do.

never stop exploring


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