Inuit Heritage Trust slams pull-back on Nunavut Heritage Centre project

“Inuit are unable to reclaim our historical tools and belongings”


Luke Suluk, president of the Inuit Heritage Trust, said Oct. 28 that he’s disappointed that the Government of Nunavut has decided to shelve plans to build a Nunavut Heritage Centre.

The centre was missing from the GN’s current five-year capital plan, brought up last week before the Nunavut legislature’s committee of the whole.

The Inuit Heritage Trust had worked over the past seven years to promote the heritage centre project with Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. and the GN, Suluk said in an Oct. 28 news release.

“Because the GN refuses to commit the dollars, Inuit are unable to reclaim our historical tools and belongings that were claimed by archaeologists and others without our permission,” Suluk said. “The three partners agreed to build the centre to enable Inuit to reclaim and repatriate our artifacts and properly store them in Nunavut, and to use these items for educational purposes.”

The proposal for the 6,700-square-metre heritage centre called for exhibit and archive spaces, studios and an auditorium.

Article 33.2.4 of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement calls for the establishment of heritage facilities in Nunavut, Suluk noted.

“The GN’s lack of commitment in honouring its obligations under the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement is disappointing, but not surprising,” said Suluk. “More affordable options can be looked at such as a $20 million storage facility with a small display area, which can then be expanded over time. This would be a much better option as opposed to simply abandoning all commitments to Article 33 of the NLCA,” Suluk said.

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