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“In the Inuit language of Inuktitut, Nunavut means “Our Land”. It is the name given to the ancestral home of the Inuit of the central and eastern Arctic, and to the new Territory of Nunavut in Canada’s eastern Arctic.

Though the creation of the Territory of Nunavut on April 1, 1999 represents a new chapter in the story of Canada’s confederation, the story of Nunavut and the Inuit who make their lives here is an ancient one, going back over thousands of years of continuous habitation.

The creation of the Territory of Nunavut and the finalization of the historic land claim settlement between the Nunavut Inuit and the Government of Canada adds a new dimension to the evolving history of both Nunavut and Canada.”


The People of the North

“Today’s Inuit are thought to be descendants of people who came from Asia several millennia ago. They have lived “off the land”, developing and sustaining an unique way of life from the rich mammal, fish and bird life of the Arctic lands and seas. Their lifestyle has adapted to the change introduced into the North by European peoples, but it has not been submerged by those changes. Nunavut is a term that has been part of the vocabulary of generations of Inuit and, viewed in this context of their cultural originality and continuity, Nunavut is not a novel concept.

The Inuit were in the forefront of the political re-awakening of Canada's aboriginal peoples which took place in the late 1960s and 1970s. For many years, the Inuit conducted research, negotiations and communication, efforts that culminated in the enactment of two pieces of legislation in 1993, the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act, and the Nunavut Act. The land claim settlement, the largest in Canada, gives the Inuit ownership of 355 842 square kilometres of land, including subsurface minerals in 35 257 square kilometres of that total, and compensation from the federal government of $1.148 billion over 14 years. All other lands are Crown lands where Inuit have the right to hunt, trap, fish and participate in the management of the territory. The Nunavut Act creates the Nunavut territory and its government and provides an institutional footing as to how laws will be made, executed and interpreted.

Nunavut will have the same status and powers that the Northwest Territories and Yukon Territory presently enjoy. Through their new government, Nunavut residents will be in charge of many services, notably education, health, social services, language, culture, housing and justice. Government departments and agencies will be decentralized to ensure access to services and jobs. A 19 member elected legislative assembly, including cabinet, and a single-level territorial court are the primary institutions. The legislative assembly will operate consensus-style without political parties. Federally, residents will be represented by one member of parliament and one senator. Municipal-level government remain in place.” Atlas of Canada web site

Related Links

Nunavut.com: What's in a Name?
Multilingual E-Data Solutions’ Inuktitut font page


Wildlife of the North

Although some people think of the Canadian North as a barren and inhospitable place, many species of birds and mammals thrive in this unique and diverse region.

Please refer to our Wildlife of the North page for more information, pictures, related links, etc.