Kiviaq, Canadian lawyer, politician, boxer and football player, Died at 80

Kiviaq, birth name David Charles Ward was born on January 23, 1936, and died on April 24, 2016.

was a Canadian Inuit lawyer, politician, and former sportsman.

He was raised in Edmonton, Alberta in a time where racism was very much common, he had vivid memories of running from white kids who shouted insults like “flea-bitten Eskimo.”

He had to fend off neighbourhood bullies, which honed his fighting skills, and he was soon training at a local boxing club.

Kiviaq eventually exploded onto Edmonton’s political scene in 1968 subsequently being elected to city council and winning the prestigious Vanier Award as one of Canada’s “five most outstanding young men,” for his work as a public relations officer and recreational director for the city.

David served on the Edmonton City Council as an alderman and ran for mayor in the 1970s.

He was a personable politician, he successfully lobbied for the Commonwealth Games.

David had his own open-line radio show at CJCA and CJOI before going to law school.

Kiviaq was the first Inuk to become a lawyer in his era and was accountable for several important advances in establishing the legal rights of the Inuit people.

In 1983, Kiviaq was called to the bar, a moment recognized in a letter from then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau as a “solid and progressive achievement in the history of your people.”

David Charles Ward made the first application to change his name back to Kiviaq, In September of 2000, the name he received in 1936 at his parents’ camp somewhere near Chesterfield Inlet on the west coast of Hudson Bay.

During 2001, David was the winner of the legal right to use his single-word Inuktituk name.

And the Mayor of Edmonton Bill Smith declared March 14 “Kiviaq Day”, during 2003.

David was active in charitable work and developed the Aboriginal Youth Mentor Program.

Kiviaq passed away at 80 yrs old, following his long battle with cancer, at an Edmonton hospice.