People & Culture

Passing the Mic, Part 1 — Nunavut’s viral TikTok Mayor Lenny Aqigiaq Panigayak

Episode 75

In the first of three episodes from Taloyoak, podcast host David McGuffin speaks with Mayor Lenny Panigayak, who shares stories about embracing traditional Inuit life, his social media platform, being out on the land and more

  • Jan 30, 2024
Podcast host David McGuffin and Taloyoak's viral TikTok Mayor Lenny Panigayak. (Photo: Thomas Lundy/Can Geo)
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We are thrilled to be taking you back to Taloyoak, Nunavut, the northernmost community in mainland Canada. In this exciting episode, we sit down with Lenny Panigayak, Taloyoak’s mayor and viral TikTok star (@aqigiaq), who shares moments from his life and Inuit culture with his tens of thousands of followers.

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The Explore Podcast team met Mayor Lenny when we went to Taloyoak to spend a week teaching podcasting to the amazing students at the Netsilik School in a program called “Passing the Mic,” which is supported by Polar Knowledge Canada.

Taloyoak is a lovely little community nestled on Spence Bay in western Nunavut, overlooking the Arctic Ocean and the Northwest Passage. It is a warm and welcoming community of about 1000 people living in brightly coloured, single-story homes, where people embrace traditional Inuit life, such as hunting, fishing, and being out on the land. Those are very much the themes that makeup Mayor Lenny’s TikTok feed, with posts getting up to half a million views at a time. 

This is the first of three episodes we’ll bring to you from Taloyoak, including storytelling about life there from the amazing high school students at the Netsilik School. That includes the throat singers you’ll hear in our podcast introduction today, Martha Neeveacheak and Joyce Ashevak. 

Also, the third annual #RCGSPolarPlunge, a fundraiser in support of this podcast, is happening in frozen lakes, rivers and oceans across Canada on March 4th. Find out how you can help Canadian Geographic and Explore our mission to “make Canada better known to Canadians and the world” by visiting rcgs.org/polarplunge starting in early February.

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