Have the negotiators of the land claim failed their own people?


When I arrived in Frobisher Bay in 1956, every Inuk owned his own home.

Now, after all these years, very few local Inuit can say they are homeowners. The majority are totally dependent on the government for the roof over their heads.

Sadly, some of those who took the step to own a house have discovered that it isn’t an attractive option.

What is ironic about this question of property taxes is the fact that the Inuit and those who came before them have lived in and near Iqaluit for more than 4,000 years.

What has the “land claim” done for them? Why was there no provision in the claim to permit any Inuk who wanted a piece of land for a home to simply be given a lot? What has happened to the rights of the individual?

I understand that the land claim of Nunavik, northern Quebec, makes that provision, so that any Inuk wanting a piece of land pays one dollar, whereas an Inuk in Iqaluit must first enter a lottery, and then, if lucky, wins the chance to get a lot, pay as much as $50,000 or more for the privilege, not to own, just to lease the lot, and then pay a fee every year and property taxes on top of that.

Have the negotiators of the land claim failed their own people? Was it an oversight?

Most of the negotiators were too young to have ever owned a home. Is there some way that this oversight can be addressed? I hope so, not only for the sake of the individuals facing eviction, but for future generations, who, I believe, have a right to the land that belonged to them and did so long before there was a Canada.

Bryan Pearson

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