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Gerry Kisoun officially sworn in as NWT Commissioner

Will serve as King's representative for five years

Of all the reasons he's happy to be the next Commissioner of the Northwest Territories, Gerry Kisoun said having the ceremony in his home town was the greatest.

"I think it's good to see the crowd out today and it's very good that the event was held here," he said. "Here in Inuvik and not in the capital city. That was one of the things when they first spoke to me. We're all family here.

"It's a long time coming. We haven't had a lot of people sitting in this role for quite awhile. We're another part of government."

Gerald W. Kisoun, or Gerry as he is known by literally everyone in the North, was sworn in as 18th Commissioner of the Northwest Territories in a packed ceremony at the Midnight Sun Complex on May 14. The commissioner acts in the same role as the Governor-General or Lieutenant-Governors elsewhere in Canada.

He was welcomed in with a performance by the Inuvialuit Drum Dancers and the Delta Good Time Band performed traditional Delta jigs throughout the afternoon.

Kisoun said he was looking forward to getting on the job, having experience with the line of work. He said his first task was going to be distributing the Coronation Medals for Elders around the territory.

"I was actually deputy commissioner for the Northwest Territories for two terms a couple of years back," he said. "I guess I've been a part of this for quite awhile.

"I've got a couple of years to work in the office. I come from a Northern Games and Muskrat Jamboree background with a lot of volunteering. I hope to continue to be able to help out in my community as much as I can."

Kisoun said he was offered the position by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau himself, who phoned him with the news earlier last month. Aside from official discussions, Kisoun said they spoke about the Muskrat Jamboree and he reminded Trudeau how he helped him with his drum dancing when he visited in 2015.

"I helped him out with his dancing a bit," he with a smile.

Kisoun was born in the Mackenzie Delta and was formally educated in Inuvik. He served in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police from 1971 to 1996, with posts in Alberta, Yukon, Tuktoyaktuk and Inuvik. Following his time in policing, he spent 17 years with Parks Canada as part of the Western Arctic Field Unit. From 2011 to 2017, Kisoun served as Deputy Commissioner of the NWT. He will serve as commissioner for the next five years.

About the Author: Eric Bowling

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