|The Inuvialuit Final Agreement (IFA) was signed on 5 June, 1984. The IFA guaranteed rights to land, financial compensation and wildlife management. In return, the Inuvialuit surrendered interests based on traditional land use and occupancy.
The IFA provided approximately 91,000 square kilometres of land and $152 million in compensation to the Inuvialuit. At the time, it was only the second Canadian comprehensive land claims agreement to be finalised.
|History of Negotiations
Inuvialuit land claims were originally part of the claims of the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada. The pressure of impending development in the Western Arctic Region led to the development of the Committee for Original Peoplesí Entitlement (COPE) to pursue an Inuvialuit land claim. Negotiations with the Canadian Government began in 1974.
In 1976, COPE's formal request to the Government of Canada for negotiations over land claims and self-government was accepted. On October 31, 1978, COPE and Canada signed an Agreement-In-Principle to settle the Inuvialuit Claim. Negotiations continued until the signing of the Inuvialuit Final Agreement on 5 June, 1984.
Goals of the IFA
The three key goals of the Final Agreement are to:
∑ Preserve Inuvialuit cultural identity and values;
∑ Enable equal and meaningful participation in Canadian society; and
∑ Protect and preserve Arctic wildlife, environment and biological productivity.
To benefit from the IFA, a person must be a Canadian citizen and either listed on the official voters list to approve the IFA or of Inuvialuit ancestry. The Inuvialuit are best able to determine eligibility for the IFA.
The IFA confers legal control to the Inuvialuit over 91,000 square kilometres of land. 13,000 square kilometres of this includes subsurface rights. Under the IFA, lands that included subsurface rights are known as 7(1)(a) lands while surface land rights are known as 7(1)(b) lands. Ownership of the beds of lakes, rivers and water bodies is also provided with land title. Land title is held by the Inuvialuit Land Corporation.
The areas of land given to Inuvialuit were selected for their biological productivity, traditional hunting, trapping or fishing, economic opportunities or historic relevance.
The financial component of the IFA included a compensation payment of $152 million (1984$), which equates to $60,800 per capita. This payment was made in annual instalments from 1984 to 1997. The IFA also included a one off payment of $10 million to an economic enhancement fund and $7.5 million to a social development fund.
The IFA provides for Inuvialuit membership on wildlife advisory bodies in the Western Arctic, such as the Wildlife Management Councils, the Inuvialuit Game Council and local Hunters and Trappers Committees.
The IFA also sets out certain harvesting rights that vary in different areas. Inuvialuit have exclusive rights to harvest game on Inuvialuit Lands and to harvest specific animals in the Northwest Territories Settlement area. Preferential rights are also given to Inuvialuit in this area. In the North Slope, Inuvialuit have exclusive harvesting rights in Ivvavik National Park and Herschel Island, with preferential rights in the remaining area.