Arviat Elder found after more than a week

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“I’ll put it this way,” said Arviat Mayor Joe Savikataaq Jr. about the return of Elder Thomas Hiatalaaq Alikaswa Friday, May 12, “the town was so happy, the whole town was at the airport when Thomas was arriving.”

The Elder had been missing on the land for over a week.

“He was out on the land and today he got found,” said Savikataaq Jr. “He’s well, he was able to walk on his own. We had a parade right from the airport leading into town.”

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Alikaswa was spotted by none other than his son, Jamie Kablutsiak, as Kablutsiak and other searchers stopped on an esker and peered through binoculars when the Elder was finally seen.

Resident Jacob Okatsiak said people were deeply connected at Alikaswa’s arrival to the airport, singing and cheering as his helicopter landed.

Okatsiak added that local hunters and search and rescue personnel deserve thanks for their work in finding and returning the Elder.

Stewart Burnett, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kivalliq News

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