Myrna Pokiak, an Inuvialuk artist from Tuktoyaktuk, is the designer behind a new silver coin issued by the Royal Canadian Mint to mark 150 years of the Northwest Territories.
The coin features 11 ulus representing the Inuvialuit people and the territory’s official languages, the mint said in a news release, alongside a Dene tipi and Métis sash flowing like a river.
The NWT entered Confederation in 1870.
At the time, the territory spanned most of present-day Canada west and north of Ontario, with the exception of British Columbia and a small region around Winnipeg.
Pokiak told RCI she had wanted to respectfully and responsibly showcase Inuit, First Nations, and Métis culture in her design, which incorporates the Mackenzie River at its heart.
“The Mackenzie is important for all the Indigenous people of the NWT,” Pokiak told the broadcaster.
“When you grow up on the land and water like we do, everyone loves that water. The river ties us together, it’s how we travel. Just being near the water or a lake calms you and you don’t need anything else.”
The coin has a face value of $30 but retails from the mint for $174.95. There are 2,500 available and delivery is expected to begin in November.