Nunavut Land Claims Agreement

Date: 1 January 1993
Sub Category:Comprehensive Land Claims Agreement (Canada)
State/Country:Nunavut, Canada
Alternative Names:
  • Nunavut Treaty
  • Agreement between the Inuit of the Nunavut Settlement Area and Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada
  • Subject Matter:Land Settlement | Recognition of Native Title or Traditional Ownership | Recognition of Traditional Rights and Interests | Self Government | Land Management | Compensation
    Summary Information:
    In 1993 representatives of the Inuit people of the central and eastern Artic, the Canadian Government and the Government of the Northwest Territories signed the largest Aboriginal land claim in Canadian history. The agreement, the product of more than 20 years of negotiations, provides title to the Nunavut Inuit over 350,000 square kilometres of land in the eastern Arctic. It establishes clear rules of ownership and control over land and resources. The Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (NLCA) was brought into effect by the passing of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act in June 1993.
    Detailed Information:
    History of the Agreement In 1973, the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada (ITC) began a study of Inuit land use that demonstrated the extent of Inuit title in the Arctic. This study formed the geographical base of the Nunavut territory. By 1976, it was proposed that a territory of Nunavut be created within the Northwest Territories. At this time, the Inuvialuit separated from the ITC to pursue a separate land claims agreement. During the 1980s, the ITC unanimously called for the creation of Nunavut. In 1982, The Tungavik Federation of Nunavut (TFN) took over as the negotiation body of the claim. In 1991, an in-principle land claims agreement was signed by the TFN and the Canadian and Northwest Territories Governments, supporting the division of the North West Territories. By January 1992 an agreement was in place, awaiting the result of a plebiscite on boundaries and the development of a Political Accord to complete the process. The Inuit of Nunavut ratified the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement in November 1992. 1993 saw the formalisation of the agreement. The NLCA was signed by the Canadian Government, Northwest Territories Government and the Tungavik Federation of Nunavut on May 25 1993. In June, both the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act and the Nunavut Act were passed by the Canadian Parliament. On 1 April 1999 the Nunavut Territory and Government came into existence. Components of the Agreement The NLCA gives title to approximately 350,000 square kilometres (136,000 square miles) of land, of which 35,257 square kilometres (14,000 square miles) include mineral rights to the Inuit of Nunavut. Key elements include: Governance Provisions The NLCA includes a political accord that provides for the establishment of the new Territory of Nunavut, and through this a form of self-government for the Nunavut Inuit. The agreement also stipulated equal representation of Inuit with government on a set of new wildlife management, resource management and environmental boards. Land Regime Under the NLCA, the Inuit agreed to ‘cede, release and surrender’ any ‘aboriginal claims, rights, title and interests in any Canadian land’ (s 2.7.1(a)) and agreed not to assert any claim based on these interests (s 2.7.1(b)). In exchange, they received Nunavut, joint membership on management boards and money to compensate and develop Inuit programs. The agreement divides the land into two main types. The first is Crown land. The Crown maintains legal title to this land, but Inuit hold rights to hunt, trap, fish and participate in management. Inuit Owned Lands are lands to which Inuit hold fee simple, either including or excluding subsurface property. Where Inuit own surface title to the land, the NLCA provides the right to negotiate with industry for economic and social benefits from non-renewable resource development. Title to Inuit Owned Lands was conferred to TFN following identification of land according to Article 19 of the NLCA. The purpose of the Inuit Owned Lands is to provide rights in land that will promote economic self-sufficiency in a manner consistent with social and cultural needs of the Inuit. Inuit organizations will receive (CDN) $1.17 billion over 15 years as compensation for Crown lands that are not Inuit property. The NLCA also creates three new federally funded national parks. Finance Included in the agreement are capital transfer payments of (CDN) $1.148 billion, payable to the Inuit over 14 years, a (CDN) $13 million Training Trust Fund and a share of federal government royalties for Nunavut Inuit from oil, gas and mineral development on Crown lands. Hunting, Fishing and Trapping The agreement created a new set of wildlife management, resource management and environmental boards. The right to harvest wildlife on lands and waters throughout the Nunavut settlement area was granted.

    Related Entries

  • Nunavut Political Accord
  • Nunavut Agreement-in-Principle
  • Nunavik Inuit Marine Region Agreement-in-Principle 2002
  • Organisation
  • Government of Nunavut
  • Government of Canada - Signatory
  • Government of the Northwest Territories - Signatory
  • Tungavik Federation of Nunavut - Signatory
  • Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated
  • Inuit Tapirisat of Canada
  • Kitikmeot Inuit Association
  • Legislation
  • Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act
  • Nunavut Act 1993
  • People
  • Inuit of Canada
  • Policy/Strategy
  • Clyde River Protocol

  • References

    Media Release
    Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (2002) News Release: Offshore Agreement-inPrinciple Signed with Nunavik Inuit
    Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (2002) Nunavit Inuit Marine Region Agreement-in-Principle
    Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (2002) Fact Sheet: Nunavik Inuit Marine Region Agreement-in-Principle
    Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (2002) Backgrounder: Nunavit Inuit Marine Region Agreement-in-Principle
    Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (2003) Nunavut
    Mapleleafweb (2002) The History of the Nunavut Inuit
    Indian and Northern Affairs, Canada (1993) Agreement Between the Inuit of the Nunavut Settlement Area and Her Majesty the Queen in right of Canada


    Comprehensive Land Claims Agreement (Canada)