In 1967, Stuart Hodgson was the newly‐ appointed Commissioner of the Northwest Territories, responsible for establishing a fledgling government in the frontier capital of Yellowknife. Written by his former aide and confidante, Umingmak is a first‐hand account of Hodgson’s often controversial efforts to introduce self‐government and improve the lives of Northerners. Hodgson’s initiatives ranged from helping Inuit citizens choose surnames to replace government‐issued ID numbers; the creation of the interpreter corps that started the careers of Piita Irniq, John Amagoalik and many others; founding the Arctic Winter Games; organizing three Royal visits; and many more. Determined to empower Arctic communities, Hodgson balanced Dene, Inuit and Métis aspirations with those of non‐ Indigenous residents, business interests and the shifting priorities of the federal government. His actions fundamentally shaped both the Northwest Territories and Nunavut and continue to reverberate throughout the Arctic.