The Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Stands Out As The Land Claims Settlement To Date
The implementation of the Nunavut agreement raises very different questions and challenges from those it faces in the negotiations. In the Canadian government`s overall requirement policy, there is only one implementation phrase that must be implemented if ratification of the colonies is to be implemented. We can confirm, through personal involvement, that implementation has rarely been discussed in negotiations on the agreement. The Nunavut agreement was a triumph of the political art of the state and, although much has been achieved, its full promise has not been fulfilled. In 1993, expectations that the Nunavut agreement would “solve” difficult social and economic problems were probably too high. Nevertheless, the agreement offers many instruments that The Inuit of Nunavut, the Government of Nunavut and the Government of Canada can use to address difficult public policy issues. Section 4 of the 1990 Nunavut Agreement reaffirms in principle the “support in principle” of Canada and the NWT for the creation of Nunavut, but “outside the claims process.” It also involves the obligation to hold a referendum at the border and to negotiate an agreement on the separation of powers. This is the first time that political development has been tackled coldly and hard in a vast instrument of earthly claim, but not in a final agreement. In hindsight, this was a big step forward for the Inuit. TFN knew that the Nunavut project, if it were able to manage the conditions, particularly the border plebiscite, would gain considerable political momentum, perhaps inexorable, and public support. That is exactly what happened. It was in this broad and rapidly changing political and legal context that Nunavut`s original proposal was developed by ITC in 1975. Negotiations with the Canadian government have been slow and hesitant; the parties had very different views on the magnitude, intent and preferred outcome of the exercise.
To expedite the process, the negotiating mandate for the Nunavut claim was withdrawn in 1982 by ITC and entrusted to a newly created Inuit organization, the Tungavik Federation of Nunavut (TFN), created to negotiate a modern contract with the Government of Canada. The Nunavut Land Claim Agreement was signed on May 25, 1993 in Iqaluit by representatives of the Tunngavik Federation of Nunavut (now Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated), the Government of Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories. This agreement gave the Inuit of the Central and Eastern Northwest Territories a separate area called Nunavut. It is the largest Aboriginal subdivision in Canadian history.  The NLCA consists of 42 chapters dealing with a wide range of political and environmental rights and concerns, including wildlife and harvesting rights, land, water and environmental management rules, parks and protected areas, cultural heritage resources, employment and public procurement, and a number of other issues.  The agreement identifies two areas at the heart of the agreement: the first consists of the Arctic and continental eastern Arctic islands and its adjacent maritime areas; the second area includes the Belcher Islands, associated islands and adjacent maritime areas.  When Nunavut`s claim was negotiated in the 1970s and 1980s, Inuit and the Government of Canada disagreed on whether and how political developments should be taken into account. At the same time, Aboriginal autonomy was debated at three constitutional conferences that failed to establish in the new Canadian constitution the right of Aboriginal people to govern themselves.
It was not until 1995, two years after the nunavut agreement was ratified, that the Government of Canada adopted a policy that recognized the inherent right of Aboriginal autonomy and allowed this issue to be addressed through extensive land claims negotiations.