Lena Pedersen

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Lena (Elizabeth Magdalena) Pedersen[1] or Lena Pederson (born 1940, Greenland) is a politician and social worker from Nunavut, Canada. In 1959, Pedersen moved from Greenland to the Northwest Territories and lived in Coppermine (Kugluktuk), Pangnirtung and Rae (Behchoko) before moving to Cape Dorset where she participated in the art work sales of the West Baffin Eskimo Co-operative.[1]

Lena was the first woman elected to the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories in the Northwest Territories 1970 election. The elections ordinance was amended to allow women the vote and run for office prior to the 1951 Northwest Territories election. Lena was not the first woman to run however as Vivian Roberts was a candidate in the 1951 election.

In 1999 she was appointed by premier Paul Okalik to the Maligarnit Qimirrujiit, Nunavut's Law Review Commission. Prior to her appointment she served as a board member for the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada and the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation, and as a drug and alcohol program coordinator for Kugluktuk.

In the 2003 Northwest Territories general election she ran in Yellowknife Centre finishing last with 10 votes in a field of seven candidates.

The former Lena Pederson (Kitikmeot) Boarding Home in Yellowknife, that was used by patients from Nunavut's Kitikmeot Region while on medical travel, was named in her honour.[2]


Regarding the geographic move of the Northwest Territories government and the effect on Eskimo Co-operatives, Pedersen is quoted as saying:

"The NWT Government moved North in 1967 to get closer to the people," but "it has achieved only to get closer in miles to some communities. It is still as far as or further removed from the people as it every [sic] was."— Lena Pedersen, 1974[3]

Partial bibliography[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Lena (Elizabeth Magdalena) Pedersen First woman elected to the Northwest Territories Council". Library and Archives Canada. April 12, 2005. Retrieved 2007-10-29. 
  2. ^ Lena Pederson Boarding Home
  3. ^ Marybelle Mitchell (1996). Talking Chiefs to a Native Corporate Elite The Birth of Class and Nationalism Among Canadian Inuit (.PDF). McGill-Queen's Press -MQUP. pp. 241–242. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 

External links[edit]

Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories
Preceded by
Robert Williamson
MLA Central Arctic
Succeeded by
William Lyall