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Nunavut Land Claim Agreement: Twenty Year Anniversary?

Authors: James Saku*, Frostburg State University
Topics: Polar Regions, Indigenous Peoples, Economic Geography
Keywords: Nunavut Land Claim Agreement, Aboriginal People, Economic Development
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2020
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:20 PM
Room: Virtual Track 3
Presentation Link: Open in New Window
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

As the largest territory in Canada, the creation of Nunavut in 1999 through the Nunavut Land Claim Agreement (NLCA) between the Inuit of Eastern Arctic and the Canadian government has changed the relationship between the territorial government and the federal government in Ottawa. This agreement restored land rights to Aboriginal people, provided monetary compensation to Inuit who live in the region, change the approach to resource exploitation, and established a greater level of participatory government to the people in Nunavut. Even though created twenty years ago, Nunavut shows a great potential for the future advancement of the Inuit because of the establishment of development corporations and financial compensation awarded to them. Similarly, the agreement recognizes and protects the traditional lifestyle of Inuit people. Furthermore, the agreement established institutions that are to ensure that modernization through resource exploitation does not negatively affect Aboriginal lifestyle and culture. This paper explores the historic context of Nunavut’s creation, the institutional structures that were established and selected socio-economic indicators. Notwithstanding the positive outlook of creating Nunavut, the territory faces numerous problems. These include lack of infrastructure to support economic development and isolation of numerous Inuit communities.

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