Nunavik Inuit sign deal with Ottawa to launch self-government negotiations

Health and social services will be a priority in discussions, Makivik says

Makivik Corp. president Charlie Watt and Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett sign a memorandum of understanding June 18, which acts as a framework for any future negotiations towards self-government in Nunavik. (Photo courtesy of Makivik Corp)

By Sarah Rogers

Nunavik’s Makivik Corp. has signed an agreement with the federal government that serves as a framework for negotiations towards an Inuit self-government for the region.

The agreement was signed June 18 by Makivik President Charlie Watt and Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett.

The MOU, in development since last fall, outlines Makivik’s objectives, a timeline for discussions, a work plan, dispute resolution and funding.

In an email to Nunatsiaq News, a spokesperson with CIRNA called the document “a starting point for discussions that will cover many topics on self-determination and governance.”

Earlier this year, Makivik appointed a chief negotiator, Mary Simon, to chair the Nunavik Inuit constitutional task force. Its mandate is to spell out the creation and role of an Inuit government in Nunavik based on Inuit values, heritage, identity, culture and language.

“I am very eager to begin the discussions and negotiations,” Simon said, following the MOU’s signing.

Those negotiations will largely be focused at a main table, Simon explained, with sectoral forums to discuss specific issues.

“We have agreed to tackle community and family well-being as an urgent topic to ensure that Nunavik Inuit receive the health and social services that all Canadians expect and to provide economic opportunities that we so desperately need,” she said in a June 19 release.

Now that Makivik has an MOU in place with Ottawa, its next task will be to enter into a similar agreement with the Quebec government.

Simon said last month that Nunavik Inuit are not asking the government for anything, but rather negotiating “to bring back the authority that has been taken” from the region.

The task force is working to prepare a draft of the Nunavik Inuit government constitution, to be presented to an all-organizations meeting this fall.

The federal government is currently working with Indigenous groups at 80 Recognition of Indigenous Rights and Self-Determination discussion tables across the country, with a goal “to explore new ways of working together to advance the recognition of Indigenous rights and self-determination,” CIRNA said.

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(7) Comments:

  1. Posted by Curiosity Rover on

    Is this the early stages of a new Territory?

    • Posted by Israel MacArthur on

      Decades and decades; I don’t think that there is any appetite among the Canadian voter to create another territory, especially until there is a better sense of how the Nunavut experiment turns out.

  2. Posted by Inu on

    see how it goes. Later on it will show how good they are working together and not leave out one of their own. If not? it will be same as Nunavut but worse. Nunavik attitude is like 60 years late than rest of Canada .

  3. Posted by Don’t do it on

    Don’t do it! You’ll end up going 20 yrs back in time like we are in Nunavut! The Government of Nunavut is just going round and round since 1999.

  4. Posted by Tommy on

    Go right ahead, but it is not advisable. And right under the nose of Quebec, too?

  5. Posted by beneficiary on

    With a very students taking up college/university in the current education system provided by KSB, I don’t see any future political figures taking up the high postion(s) in governmental issues needed to run a gov’t in the near future. The current ppl living in Nunavik have or no ambition(s) doing anything good in the foreseeable future due to students being given no motivation. Drugs and alcohol coming first coming from home. Damn…

  6. Posted by Chesley on

    Progress is when things at the community level are going well and improving. Governments fulfils it’s role/does it job when we can sense that is happening, when one can feel it in the air.

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