HTA members vote in favour of rights-assignment

Non-Inuit in Iqaluit eligible to assume harvesting rights

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

KIRSTEN MURPHY

Members of the Amarok Hunters and Trappers Association (HTA) voted 11 to 6 in favour of allowing Inuit to transfer harvesting rights to non-Inuit spouses.

The rights-assignment decision was effective immediately following the vote on Aug. 27.

Hunting rights may be transferred to a beneficiary’s spouse, or to another beneficiary in Iqaluit in the case of illness or disability.

However, beneficiaries must complete a Promise to Assignment form. The form must be approved by the Amarok HTA board.

Only 21 members out of a possible several hundred came out to vote. HTA chair David Ell said he was disappointed by the modest turnout but was pleased the issue is moving forward.

Article 5 of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement allows an Inuk, HTA or Regional Wildlife Organization to transfer harvesting rights to another person. However, exactly who can hunt and what they can hunt has never been specified — until now.

The approved two-page ballot makes the following provisions:

• Assignees may hunt any species, including small game and large marine mammals but only after the board has given its consent.

• Assignees must carry their assignment document when harvesting.

• Assignees must have lived in Iqaluit for a minimum of six months.

• An Inuk guide may be required to accompany an assignee.

• Copies of assignment forms must be forwarded to wildlife enforcement agencies.

• Terms and conditions of the transfer rights are subject to change by the Amarok HTA.

• Assignment rights may be revoked if an assignee violates any of the HTA’s terms and conditions.

• Assignees must submit a monthly harvest report to the Amarok HTA office.

Tuesday’s vote comes after years of delays and one re-written ballot. The first bilingual ballot was rejected on May 24 because the wording was too confusing. It was condensed and rewritten in June.

An assignee may be stripped of harvesting rights if the assignor makes a written application.

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