Carrying Those Who Carried Us 

Mathew Nuqingaq 

Jewelry that tells a story.

The unbreakable bond between mother and child, and the person who travels the world, carrying their most precious information with them.  

Meet Mathew

Mathew Nuqingaq

Order of Canada recipient Mathew Nuqingaq has been creating art in the form of jewelry for 24 years, ever since he fell in love with Inuit amulets. That’s when he quit his teaching job to become a jeweler and artist full-time. Today, his creations emanate from his studio Aayuraa in Iqaluit, and are worn by the likes of King Charles and notable Canadians such as Sophie Gregoire. 

Growing up, the Inuk artist and his friends always knew the MedicAlert ID held valuable information. “It's a part of our culture now,” he says. “And it's very important, especially for our elders.” 

 Mathew created two designs for MedicAlert’s first designer collection, both deeply rooted in his heritage.  

 The first tells the story of a legend Mathew heard as a child: a story so old, it has traveled across time and place to reach Inuit communities around the world. It’s the story of Kiviuq, the eternal Inuk wanderer and first person on earth to paddle across the entire planet in a qayak.  

 “I thought it was a perfect vessel, a metaphor for the information that is carried around the world by the people who are wearing the MedicAlert bracelet or necklace,” says Mathew. “We are globetrotters but we’re vulnerable, also.” 

Arrows go forward and down to represent moving forward but also looking back to the past, and the ID is shaped into two kayaks meant to represent two partners traveling side-by-side.  

 The second design, a representation of the amautik—a baby carrier on a mother’s back—is a symbol of the care between a mother and child.  

 “I remember when I was a baby, being in the back of my mother's amautik,” he recalls. “The mother has the biggest love there is for the child right from the beginning. The connection is there.” 

 Just like our parents took care of us when we were little, MedicAlert takes care of us today.  

“It's one of the things that make us feel safe most of the time,” says Mathew.