Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut January 03, 2018 - 2:30 pm

Online fundraising campaign seeks help for ailing Nunavut music legend

Charlie Panigoniak needs help with housing costs

An online fundraising campaign aims to support the ailing Charlie Panigoniak, seen here performing at a music festival in Arviat in August 2016. (FILE PHOTO)
An online fundraising campaign aims to support the ailing Charlie Panigoniak, seen here performing at a music festival in Arviat in August 2016. (FILE PHOTO)

The family of the ailing Nunavut musician Charlie Panigoniak is reaching out to the public for help.

Panigoniak, who will turn 72 in March, suffers from Parkinson’s disease and the early signs of dementia.

The plea on the online fundraising page said Panigoniak now needs money to help cover the cost of power and fuel for his Rankin Inlet home.

“Charlie is paying out of his pension to pay his own house monthly [expenses] and that isn’t covering fuel/power plus groceries,” it said, mentioning that his wife, Lorna, who often provided vocals for Charlie’s songs, was laid off work in August due to a job transfer and has not yet started to receive employment insurance.

Panigoniak has been called a “living legend,” by John Main, now MLA for Arviat South.

Main helped to organize a 2016 tribute concert in Arviat for Panigoniak, whose Inuktitut songs and unique mix of country and western and traditional vocals influenced a younger generation of Inuit performers.

Panigoniak, who was born in Chesterfield Inlet, has also lived In Arviat for several years.

“His music is uplifting, some of it is more melancholic, but the thing I find with his songs, they all have a story, similar to other great artists like Johnny Cash. In that way, his music is very touching. It conveys emotion,” Main told Nunatsiaq News.

Panigoniak also had a knack of transforming southern music and songs into Inuit hits, such as his Inuktitut version of of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Rutami tuktugaqalaunipuq.

Panigoniak’s music has been a mainstay on the radios and in community centres across Nunavut since the 1970s when a radio producer took notice of the musician, then living in Rankin Inlet, and started recording him for the CBC Northern Service.

As he became better-known, Panigoniak, along with his band, then travelled across the Canadian Arctic, Greenland, Alaska and southern Canada to share his Inuktitut-language songs.

In 2016, Panigoniak received the Nunavut Commissioner’s Performing Arts Award.

“It is an honour to recognize Mr. Panigoniak for his outstanding contribution to Nunavut’s performing arts,” said Nunavut Commissioner Nellie Kusugak about Panigoniak.

“Charlie Panigoniak created songs as an Inuk. He has travelled to many places to perform and he is a very good role model.”

Panigoniak was also named to the Order of Nunavut in 2012. That same year, he also received a Diamond Jubilee medal, to mark the 60th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne as Queen of Canada.

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(9) Comments:

#1. Posted by a Legend and a gentleman on January 04, 2018

our love to Charlie and his family

#2. Posted by Income Support on January 04, 2018

The Income Assistance Branch of the Department of Family Services has a program called the Senior Fuel Subsidy which provides up to (I think) 3500 litres of home heating fuel for seniors that own their own home and qualify under income thresholds.

#3. Posted by Income Support #2 on January 04, 2018

The link for the program is here:

It says the subsidy ranges from 2500 to 3175 litres of fuel per home, which depended on the community, but that’s wrong.  The allowance has been updated since then, to 3500 litres and it no longer matters which community you live in.  It was in this release:

#4. Posted by Wondering on January 04, 2018

Good for you #2
Whoever is responsible should be advising people of low income, what
they are entitled to, instead of hiding in their offices.

#5. Posted by Evelyn Thordarson on January 04, 2018

It is sad that the programming aid that is available to seniors in the North is not readily shared with them.Government powers that be don’t assume that people know because they do not. Get the word out via announcements on the radio,information pamphlets in the mail with big lettering ATTENTION SENIORS, that should get their attention.Like how many seniors know about the Guaranteed Income Supplement and Old Age Pension that all seniors would qualify for at the age of 65.

#6. Posted by Homeowner on January 04, 2018

Nunavut housing also has programs for Elders
Senior Citizens’ Home Repair Program (SCHRP)
Seniors And Disabled Preventative Maintenance Program (SDPMP)
Seniors and Persons with Disabilities Housing Options Program (SPDHOP)
Emergency Repair Program (ERP)
Google Nunavut housing corporation and you will find these programs under home ownership

#7. Posted by Evelyn Thordarson on January 05, 2018

Number 6 poster that is all well and good but my point is to the elders whom are not computer savvy or even have a computer .Remember not every household has a computer or a library with access to one.People please don’t take things for granted here…

#8. Posted by Stephen Shevkenek on January 05, 2018

Where can I buy one of Charlies cds?

#9. Posted by Homeowner on January 05, 2018

#7 homeowners can go to their local housing association and ask for help. The staff at the housing office can help fill out the forms.

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