Iqaluit HTA to decide rights-assignment next year

Iqaluit’s Amarok Hunters and Trappers Association will make a decision on the assignment of Inuit hunting rights to non-Inuit after a sub-committee completes its recommendations.


IQALUIT — Before Inuit in Iqaluit can assign hunting rights to non-Inuit, they will have to wait until the Amarok Hunters and Trappers Association comes up with new guidelines.

When the HTA held its well-attended annual general meeting on Saturday, the 200 members present decided to suspend any transfers of hunting rights until the committee looking into the issue of Inuit hunting rights assignments can complete its consultations and make recommendations to the HTA.

The HTA plans to hold a workshop and a special meeting sometime before March 31, 2000 to discuss and vote on these new procedures.

“Everything will then be clear,” said the HTA’s manager, Sytukie Joamie. “The assignee will have a clear understanding and the assignor will have a clear understanding.”

According to Nunavut Land Claim’s section 5.7 on the assignment of Inuit hunting rights, Inuit can give away these rights to another Inuk or “a spouse or a person cohabiting as the spouse of an Inuk.”

But this right will likely be redefined when the HTA committee makes its recommendations. Joamie said that the aim of any changes will be to protect, not limit, the existing rights of HTA members.

At the annual general meeting, the HTA also grappled with how to allocate its dwindling polar bear quota. The community’s annual quota has been cut from 18 animals to 17 due to a defense kill during the summer.

No tags for outpost camps

After lengthy discussion, members decided to reserve all 17 polar bear tags for HTA members.

In the past, four polar bear tags had been reserved for outpost camps near Iqaluit, but those present at the meeting decided to take back this allotment.

Several elderly former residents of these outpost camps who now reside in Iqaluit spoke out in favour of this action.

And while no decision was made to reserve any tags specifically for sports hunters, Joamie said that tag holders can use their polar bear for what he calls “economic harvesting.”

The HTA didn’t limit the polar bear hunt solely to Inuit, but Joamie said all transfers of hunting rights must pass through the HTA.

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