The North by sdaferv


									The North                                                                                                        March 2000

T he changing political
  landscape north of 60º
                                                   live mainly in the Mackenzie Valley;
                                                   and the Inuvialuit, who live in
                                                   the northwest region of the NWT.
                                                                                            As Canada’s lead federal govern-
                                                                                          ment department responsible for
                                                                                          management of land and resources
   Canada’s North is immense.                         This is an exciting time for        in the North, the Department
The three territories that make up                 all the peoples of the North. Over     of Indian Affairs and Northern
the North — the Yukon Territory,                   the years, the territorial govern-     Development (DIAND) is working
the Northwest Territories (NWT)                    ments have taken on more and           together with northerners on many
and Nunavut — account for                          more provincial-style responsibili-    fronts to bring about the kinds
40 percent of Canada’s land mass.                  ties, and Aboriginal groups are        of changes territorial residents want.
Yet the inhabitants of the North                   starting to set up their own forms     The department’s responsibilities
make up only about three percent                   of self-government. As of 1999,        extend to helping protect the envi-
of the country’s population.                       the map of Canada was transformed      ronment — particularly the fragile
   Yukon is the smallest of the                    when the former NWT was split          ecosystem of the Arctic — and
three northern territories. It is a                in two to create the territory of      managing the sustainable develop-
largely mountainous region, with                   Nunavut, which means “our land”        ment of natural resources. Through
thousands of square kilometres of                  in Inuktitut, the language of          sustainable development practices,
sparse forest. Much of Nunavut,                    the Inuit. (See section on Nunavut     northerners can ensure the wise
on the other hand, is tundra —                     public government below.)              use of resources so that future
a windswept, rocky Arctic region                                                          generations also benefit.
where an extremely cold climate
has stunted vegetation and trees do
not grow. The Northwest Territories
is home to the mighty Mackenzie
River, which extends north from
the boreal forest lands 1,800 kilo-
metres to the Beaufort Sea.
   The three territories differ as
much culturally as they do geogra-
phically. Aboriginal peoples make
up about 23 percent of the Yukon
Territory’s population; most of
these people are members of First
Nations. In Nunavut, on the other
hand, 85 percent of the population
are Inuit. Aboriginal peoples make
up 49 percent of the population
of the Northwest Territories. These
peoples are Dene and Métis, who

        Indian and Northern   Affaires indiennes
        Affairs Canada        et du Nord Canada
   In fact, DIAND supports sustain-     territorial governments have control     ways. NWT residents are working
able development and environ-           of their hydro commissions, health,      to build consensus on the develop-
mental protection throughout the        education, mine safety, roads            ment of the territory. Aboriginal
world’s entire Arctic region. The       and airports. The NWT manages            groups in the NWT are developing
department encourages this inter-       its own forestry service. The Yukon      self-government proposals, or are
national co-operation through           Territory also has control over          in negotiations with the federal
the Arctic Council, an organization     its onshore oil and gas resources,       government.

of the eight Arctic countries. (See     inland fisheries and hospital and
“DIAND supports international           health services. All three territories          unavut public
Arctic co-operation” below.)            have responsibilities for wildlife              government
   DIAND’s role in northern political   management.
                                                                                   DIAND worked with residents
development includes transferring          DIAND is still responsible for
                                                                                 of Nunavut to help them build
management of provincial-style          the management of land and
                                                                                 their government. This govern-
responsibilities to the territories     resources in all three territories.
                                                                                 ment opened for business on
and promoting Aboriginal self-          This includes water and mining
                                                                                 April 1, 1999, when the central
government. DIAND is also               in the three territories; forestry
                                                                                 and eastern portions of the NWT
involved in negotiating and set-        in the Yukon; oil and gas in the
                                                                                 officially became Nunavut. The
tling land claims with Aboriginal       NWT and Nunavut; and the pro-
                                                                                 territory has a public government,
peoples in the North.                   tection and rehabilitation of the
                                                                                 representing all Nunavut resi-

T erritorialmore
                                        Arctic environment. DIAND’s
             governments                                                         dents. But because the Inuit make
                                        goal is to continue to make progress
  take on                                                                        up an 85 percent majority of the
                                        on transferring the management
  responsibilities                                                               Nunavut population, the Nunavut
                                        and control of these services to
                                                                                 government helps Inuit shape
                                        the territories.
   The Yukon Territory, the NWT                                                  systems that suit their culture,
and Nunavut have territorial
                                        A boriginal self-government              traditions and aspirations.

governments. These governments            steps up
differ from those of the Canadian                                                       and claims help advance
provinces. Like the provinces,            The Government of Canada                      Aboriginal goals
territorial governments have elected    believes that Aboriginal peoples
                                                                                   Aboriginal peoples see land
legislative assemblies and Cabinets.    have the right to govern themselves
                                                                                 claims as the means to make
However, they have fewer powers         and decide on matters that affect
                                                                                 the kinds of social and economic
than their provincial counterparts.     their communities. Aboriginal
                                                                                 changes they want. Most land
   Until the 1980s, federally           groups will shape their own gov-
                                                                                 claim settlements include funds
appointed commissioners ran the         ernments to suit their particular
                                                                                 that can support these changes,
day-to-day administration of            historical, cultural, political and
                                                                                 as well as title to lands, fishing
the territories. The Yukon Territory,   economic circumstances.
                                                                                 and trapping rights, and guaranteed
the NWT and Nunavut all have              The challenge will be to find
                                                                                 participation for Aboriginal peo-
appointed commissioners. But            a balance between the territorial
                                                                                 ples in decision-making processes
today, the commissioners have           public governments and Aboriginal
                                                                                 on lands and environmental
largely ceremonial duties, similar      governments that is workable
to those of provincial lieutenant-      and that all northerners can accept.
                                                                                   In the NWT, claims settled to
governors. They leave the actual          Of the 14 First Nations in the
                                                                                 date include the Inuvialuit Final
governing of the territories to         Yukon Territory, seven have already
                                                                                 Agreement in 1984; the Gwich’in
the elected assemblies.                 settled self-government agree-
                                                                                 Agreement in 1992; and the Sahtu
   Over the years, DIAND has trans-     ments with the federal government.
                                                                                 Dene and Metis Agreement in 1994.
ferred to the territories most of         The western region of the former
                                                                                 The Treaty 11 Dogrib Claim is cur-
the provincial-style responsibilities   NWT, still known as the Northwest
                                                                                 rently in negotiation.
it once looked after. Today, the        Territories, is also evolving in many

   In Nunavut, the land claim agree-
ment was settled in 1993.
   In the Yukon Territory, an
umbrella final agreement in 1993
set out the basis for negotiating set-             DIAND supports international
tlements with each of the 14 Yukon                 Arctic co-operation
First Nations. Seven individual
claims have been settled under                     Over the past few years, a new international community
this agreement.                                    of circumpolar countries has emerged in the Arctic.
                                                   Circumpolar countries are nations that have lands

T he North’s economy
  faces unique challenges
                                                   in the Arctic. They are Canada, Denmark (Greenland),
                                                   Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russian Federation,
                                                   Sweden and the United States. These countries face
  The cornerstones of the North’s                  the same challenges when it comes to the Arctic,
economy are mining (diamonds,                      so why not work together?
gold, lead, zinc), oil and gas devel-              The circumpolar countries first met in 1989 to discuss
opment, and the traditional pursuits               co-operative measures to protect the Arctic environment.
of hunting, trapping, fishing and                  In 1991, they established the Arctic Environmental
arts and crafts. Tourism, including                Protection Strategy (AEPS) to guide their actions.
adventure tourism, is a rapidly                    In 1996, they formed the Arctic Council. Northern
growing industry in the Yukon,                     Aboriginal peoples are also participants. The Council’s
NWT and Nunavut.                                   job is to address issues of common concern to the
  The North faces some unique                      Arctic. These issues include the work of the AEPS,
challenges when it comes to eco-                   sustainable development, and improved health condi-
nomic development. Northern                        tions and cultural well-being for the Aboriginal peoples
entrepreneurs are often far away                   of the North.
from primary markets and the                       Canada’s Ambassador for Circumpolar Affairs is
business services they need to support             Mary Simon, an Inuk. In this capacity, she repre-
their operations. Because of the                   sents Canada at various international meetings
North’s remoteness, northern busi-                 on circumpolar issues.
ness people can also face very
high transportation and commu-
nications costs.
  In the past, the lack of a skilled
northern work force has proven to
be an obstacle to economic progress.
But this situation is gradually          reliance on non-renewable natural       is committed to ensuring north-
changing. More and more compa-           resources poses yet another chal-       erners have the kinds of programs
nies that come to the North are          lenge. This means that the North is     and services that other Canadians
negotiating partnerships with north-     far more sensitive than the national    enjoy, the federal government
erners. Under these agreements,          economy to the world’s changing         set up a special formula to trans-
northerners receive job training         demand for these resources. But all     fer resources to the territories.
and a guaranteed percentage of           three territories are taking steps      This formula includes the follow-
the new jobs created.                    to deal with these challenges.          ing factors: population change,
  Because of the North’s remoteness        Under the law, the territories        tax revenues, and changes in
and its small, scattered popula-         are not entitled to receive equaliza-   the spending levels of provincial
tion, it does not enjoy an economy       tion payments as provinces do.          and municipal governments in
as diversified as southern Canada’s.     Because the Government of Canada        southern Canada.
The northern economy’s heavy

Aboriginal peoples: The descen-        both Status and non-Status. Many        non-renewable natural
dants of the original inhabitants      Indian people have also adopted         resources: natural resources
of North America. The Canadian         the term “First Nation” to replace      that, once removed, cannot be
Constitution recognizes three groups   the word “band” in the name of          replaced. These include minerals
of Aboriginal people — Indians,        their community.                        taken from the earth, for example,
Métis people and Inuit. These are                                              or extracted oil and gas. Trees,
three separate peoples with unique     Inuit: An Aboriginal people in
                                                                               on the other hand, are an example
heritages, languages, cultural prac-   northern Canada, who live above the
                                                                               of a renewable natural resource
tices and spiritual beliefs.           tree line in Nunavut, the Northwest
                                                                               because they can be replanted.
                                       Territories, and Northern Quebec
equalization payments: the             and Labrador. The word means
redistribution of payments that        “people” in the Inuit language —
the federal government makes           Inuktitut. The singular of Inuit        Publications and Public Enquiries
from high-income to low-income         is Inuk.                                Department of Indian Affairs
provinces.                                                                     and Northern Development
                                       Métis: People of mixed First Nation
                                                                               Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0H4
First Nation: A term that came         and European ancestry who identify
into common usage in the 1970s         themselves as Métis people, as                      (819) 997-0380
to replace the word “Indian,”          distinct from First Nations people,       
which many people found offen-         Inuit or non-Aboriginal people.
sive. Although the term First Nation   The Métis have a unique culture         QS-6119-002-EE-A2
is widely used, no legal definition    that draws on their diverse ancestral
of it exists. Among its uses, the      origins, such as Scottish, French,
term “First Nations peoples” refers    Ojibway and Cree.
to the Indian people in Canada,


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