Martha belongs to one of the families that was relocated from Inukjuuaq, Nunavik to Grise Fiord, Nunavut in the 1950s. Growing up traditionally in a family that was closely connected to the land, Martha learned to sew, prepare food, and hunt at an early age. She attended English schools in Yukon, Manitoba, and the Northwest Territories. Martha also attended Carleton University in Ottawa for certification in Teaching a Foreign Language and Journalism.
Because of her leadership, communication, and interpretation skills, Martha has held many positions across Canada and internationally as an indigenous women’s leader and advocate—as well as a longtime professional translator and interpreter. Inspired by her grandfather, Robert Flaherty’s film Nanook of the North, Martha produced her own film Martha of the North documenting her relocation experience. She has also worked with the National Film Board producing a series of Inuit culture vignettes.
Martha is a former president and current board member of Pauktuutit, the Inuit Women’s Association of Canada. An avid craftsperson, she likes to sew clothes, do beadwork, draw, paint, and is currently writing a book. She has travelled extensively throughout her career and has met many dignitaries including Desmond Tuutu, Prince Charles, and Pierre Trudeau. Martha has three children, three grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren and makes her home in Ottawa.