The Road to Nunavut:
A Chronological History
1973 Inuit Tapirisat of Canada (ITC) begins a study of Inuit land
use and occupancy which eventually demonstrates the extent of Inuit aboriginal
title in the Arctic. This study forms the
geographic basis of the Nunavut
1976 ITC proposes the creation of a Nunavut
Territory as part of a comprehensive
settlement of Inuit land claims in the Northwest
Territories. The Nunavut Proposal calls for the
Beaufort Sea and Yukon North Slope areas used by the Inuvialuit to be included
in the Nunavut Territory.
That same year, due to development pressure in the Beaufort Sea area, the Inuvialuit split from ITC to
negotiate a separate land claim agreement.
Also that same year, a federal electoral boundaries commission
recommends dividing the Northwest Territories
into two federal electoral districts: Nunatsiaq and the Western
Arctic. This recommendation is put in effect for the 1979 federal
1980 At its Annual General Meeting in October, ITC delegates unanimously
pass a resolution calling for the creation of Nunavut.
1990 Tungavik Federation of Nunavut
(TFN) and representatives of the federal and territorial governments sign a
land claims agreement-in-principle in April. The agreement supports the
division of the Northwest Territories
and provides for a plebiscite on boundaries.
1992 In January, TFN and government negotiators come to an
agreement on the substantive portions of a final land claims agreement for the Nunavut region. The
agreement contains commitments for the creation of a Nunavut territory and government, subject to
a boundary plebiscite and the conclusion of the Nunavut Political Accord. This
Accord would detail the timetable and process for establishing Nunavut.
1992 An overall majority of voters in the Northwest
Territories and the Nunavut
area approve the proposed boundary for division in a May plebiscite.
In October, TFN and government representatives sign the Nunavut
Political Accord, setting the creation of Nunavut as April 1, 1999.
In November, in a Nunavut-wide vote, the Inuit of Nunavut ratify
the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement.
1993 The Nunavut
Agreement is signed in May. In June, the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act and
the Nunavut Act are adopted by Parliament and receive Royal Assent.
1995 and 1996 Footprints in New Snow and Footprints II, documents
written by the Nunavut Implementation Commission, recommend that certain
headquarter and regional functions of the Nunavut government be decentralized to
communities. Footprints II is used as the blueprint
for the foundation of the Government of Nunavut.
1997 The Office of the Interim Commissioner is established to help
prepare for the creation of Nunavut.
It is responsible for setting up an operational government ready to function effectively
on April 1, 1999.
1998 Amendments to the Nunavut Act are adopted by Parliament and
receive Royal Assent.
1999 The Nunavut
Territory and Government come into existence on April 1.