GN announces scholarship in memory of Savanna Pikuyak

A scholarship is being created in memory of a young woman from Sanirajak who was killed in Ottawa earlier this month, Nunavut’s Department of Health announced Wednesday.

Savanna Pikuyak, 22, was identified by Ottawa police as the victim of a Sept. 11 homicide. Her body was discovered in a house near Algonquin College in Ottawa, where she was studying to become a nurse.

Police charged 33-year-old Nikolas Ibey with second-degree murder.

“Savanna was a role model and a kind and good-hearted individual,” Minister of Health John Main said in a news release.

“She was a person who wanted to better herself to help better Nunavut.”

The $5,000 scholarship will be awarded each year to one Nunavut Inuk student entering pre-nursing studies at Nunavut Arctic College, the release said.

To earn the scholarship, applicants are required to write a 500-word essay, including a brief description of who they are as an individual in their community, an explanation of why they want to pursue nursing and how their career in nursing will benefit Nunavummiut.

The deadline to apply for this year’s scholarship is Oct. 14. It will be awarded during a public ceremony, at a date and location to be determined.

“Savanna’s death is a great loss to her family, her friends, community and indeed to all of Nunavut,” Main said.

“I want to extend my deepest sympathies to Savanna’s family and community. I hope this small gesture in her name will help in their healing journey.”

The GN’s scholarship is one of several tributes that have come in in the week and a half since Pikuyak’s death.

Last week, friends and family held a vigil outside the home where she was killed. As well, online tributes were shared by Algonquin College and Nunavut Sivuniksavut, the Inuit college in Ottawa that Pikuyak previously attended.

“She was also such a good cook and had a vast knowledge of everything in general,” said Sheba Pikuyak, Savanna’s mother, in a Facebook message to Nunatsiaq News.

“She loved replying sarcastically, as she loved making people smile and laugh.”

Jeff Pelletier, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Nunatsiaq News