Joe grew up in Kugluktuk, Nunavut, and has a very strong connection to his culture and language. He is an excellent and well-experienced hunter out on the land, sea, and ice, often travelling long distances where his ancestors have travelled before him. He is also a fluent communicator and strong proponent of keeping Inuinnaqtun/Inuktitut language and culture alive and thriving throughout Nunavut. Joe is knowledgeable with Inuit Qauyimayatuqangit (Inuit Traditional Knowledge).
Joe has spent much of his life working in politics and has travelled to many communities in the North. Before being elected as a Member of Legislative Assembly in 2004, Joe served as vice-president and then as president of the Kitikmeot Inuit Association, a regional organization representing Inuit in communities in western Nunavut. He played a role in the negotiations of the Nunavut Land Claims, and has also been instrumental in creating progressive rehabilitation programs for incarcerated youth.