Abe Okpik was born at a fishing camp in the MacKenzie Delta. He was labeled W3-554 by the federal government, which did not recognize Inuit names.
Okpik founded Project Surname. From 1968 to 1971 he travelled throughout the NWT and what would become Nunavut and Nunavik, recording names and helping people without a last name, pick one. The program eliminated the federal numbers.
When the 1974 Berger Commission was announced, Okpik became Thomas Berger’s interpreter and broadcaster, visiting 35 different communities.
In his later years, he became an Iqaluit City Councillor. The community hall in the Iqaluit satellite community of Apex is named for him.