Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Nunavut October 24, 2018 - 9:30 am

Nunavut Inuit to explore self-government

“It seems like a timely exercise to look at our options"

NTI’s board of directors passed a resolution on Oct. 22 instructing the organization to lead a process “to examine the possibility of Inuit self-government in Nunavut.
NTI’s board of directors passed a resolution on Oct. 22 instructing the organization to lead a process “to examine the possibility of Inuit self-government in Nunavut." (FILE PHOTO)

Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. will explore different options for pursuing Inuit self-government in the territory, as a means of promoting Inuit rights and participation.

NTI’s board of directors passed a resolution on Monday, Oct. 22, instructing the organization to lead a process “to examine the possibility of Inuit self-government in Nunavut.” The motion was moved by Qikiqtani Inuit Association President P.J. Akeeagok, who is an NTI board member.

“There are sections of the land claim agreement that say we’re supposed to be true partners,” Akeeagok said. “There are good examples where Inuit are not true partners on issues that affect us as a core.”

Last year’s failed amendments to the Education Act, presented under Bill 37, provide one concrete example where Inuit felt stripped of power, he said.

NTI President Aluki Kotierk said the resolution is one step toward addressing certain gaps in how the Nunavut Agreement has been implemented.

“There’s been some discussion, and disappointment in trying to work with the government on Article 32, [which provides] for Inuit to be involved in our social and cultural development,” Kotierk said.

“It seems like a timely exercise to look at our options.”

The resolution’s preamble says that Inuit self-government “may provide an alternative path for Nunavut Inuit to achieve their political aspirations, to promote Inuit rights and self-determination, and to enhance Inuit participation in decision-making on important matters such as language and education.”

Kotierk said that those efforts are preliminary; NTI’s executive has yet to discuss who will lead the study or decide which areas of governance a self-government model could have jurisdiction over.

Nunavut is sometimes already characterized as having self-government, as Inuit form a clear majority of its population and the territory grew from a land claims agreement.

Negotiators who worked on Nunavut’s land claims agreement opted early on for the territory to have a public government, to serve both its Inuit and non-Inuit residents.

But the notion of self-government was always something the territory’s architects saw potential in, Kotierk said.

“We want to see the best way for Nunavut Inuit to be self-determining,” she said.

NTI is holding its annual general meeting in Iqaluit this week until Oct. 25.

- with files from Courtney Edgar

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(15) Comments:

#1. Posted by Soothsayer on October 24, 2018

What most people in Nunavut really aspire to is an ethno-state. But, there is a huge competence gap at the moment and until that is filled this real ‘vision of Nunavut’ will have to wait.

#2. Posted by Northern Guy on October 24, 2018

Self government agreements generally cover things like education and in some cases health care, child welfare and community infrastructure. Not sure what shape or form Inuit self government might take, but don’t expect to get any additional funding from Ottawa out of the deal. Any transfer would result in TFF funding moving from the GN to NTI.

#3. Posted by Former Insider on October 24, 2018

Note to consultants: start your line up for a flow of Inuit money into your pockets for years worth of work! And the best part? It doesn’t matter what you produce, because it won’t happen anyway!

Need any proof? How much of that “Closer to Inuit” policy and plans made NTI and the RIAs any closer to Inuit?

#4. Posted by Knall on October 24, 2018

I guess the GN’s failing?  But then again self-government has limitations.  Does anyone care about Nunavut?

#5. Posted by Beentheredonethat on October 24, 2018

Nunavut will always fail. When you have the wrong people in positions of power that are incompetent, Nunavut will continue to fail. And that doesnt matter qhos skin colour is what colour. Put the right people in the right positions!

#6. Posted by Crystal Clarity on October 24, 2018

How about exploring how to get this one in the best shape possible first before running down the road to Self-Government, or devolution like the last 2 legislatures were rooting for. Get on solid ground first.

#7. Posted by GN is Public on October 24, 2018

GN of Inuit Nunat is a public government.  It is not an Inuit home rule.  Nunavut really does not belong to Inuit.  It belongs to the colonial Crown.

#8. Posted by Oh ima on October 24, 2018

Yeah most of the wrong people are southerners that don’t know what the heck they’re doing so it’s time to put real power in the hands of Inuit

#9. Posted by I live in the Arctic on October 24, 2018

#5 well said I as a Inuk agree with that 100%.

#10. Posted by iRoll on October 24, 2018

#78 Your dreaming in technicolor now. I hope you get your wish one day, I’ll enjoy watching it all fall apart, just for you.

#11. Posted by Knockout Ned on October 24, 2018

#3 is right - this is a major handout to Consultants. Since NTI doesn’t have the capacity to “study” this in-house, and has never bothered to build it, they will farm this out to the usual 2 or 3 Consulting firm, costing us millions of dollars.

It’s a waste of time, a waste of money, and a waste of any political capital remaining after cozying up the Trudeau Government and having it blow up in your face.

#12. Posted by Sayonara GN on October 24, 2018

Timed for the same day as the Coast Guard announcement this is pretty huge. Basically Canada and the Inuit orgs think the GN is probably not worth continuing with.

Given the ineffectiveness of the GN since it was created, and the chaos of the current government it’s hard not to agree.

The frustration of the Inuit orgs is understandable. The feds are just doing more virtue signalling.

In the very long run it might be for the best but there are so many ways it could go spectacularly wrong and I don’t trust any of the parties involved to put in the necessary safeguards.

#13. Posted by The Old Trapper on October 24, 2018

Let NTI go ahead, maybe it is time to make Nunavut into the Inuit homeland that many thought was possible when the NLCA was signed.

A 100% Inuit government, civil service, 100% Inuit owned businesses, 100% Inuit professional class and 100% Inuit workforce. All resources 100% Inuit owned and managed.

And if anyone wants to do business with Nunavut they can damn well learn Inuktitut because that’s our language.

This is what people want and what they thought they were getting in 1999. Let’s make it a reality for 2019.


#14. Posted by Nuexit on October 25, 2018

Inuit self-determination should not be held in simple terms IE self-government.  Public government is supposed to serve the people not just the 15%.  But then Savikataaq/George combination don’t believe in Inuit.

#15. Posted by Rutabeggar on October 26, 2018

Hi Old Trapper. It’s great to have a goal to work towards.  But, who is going to underwrite the cost for this great transformation?  The complete self-sufficiency of Nunavut and maintaining a quality of life that remotely resembles the one that Canadians enjoy are mutually exclusive. If Nunavut got every penny of royalties, income tax, payroll tax, corporate tax etc that are generated from its meager private sector, the resulting tax base would be a fraction of what Nunavut is currently given from the sweat and toil of other Canadians.  The only way to change it would be to attract investment, which no one appears to know anything about.

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