Committee For Original Peoples' Entitlement (COPE)
Organization profile published 1978
Year Published:  1978
Resource Type:  Organization
Cx Number:  CX568

Connexions has published multiple abstracts on the Committe for Original Peoples Entitlement.

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This abstract was published in Connexions Digest in 1978:

The Comittee for Original People's Entitlement (COPE) was formed in 1970 by native people of the Western Arctic to ensure that the aboriginal rights of the natives of the North West Territories were respected and recognized. COPE is now a regional affiliate of Inuit Tapirisat of Canada but remains committed to promoting equality among Northerners, encouraging native leaders and businessmen, and preserving native culture and traditions.

Membership in this organization is limited to Eskimos, Indians and Metis in the Territories. COPE works closely with the Inuit communities of the Western Arctic, making their views available to governmetn adn industry.

The folloing materials are available thorugh COPE:

a) COPE Information Package - Thsi package contains thirty pieces of materials published by COPE between 1970 and 1975. Among its contenst are COPE newsletters, press releases, copies of submissions to government and other reports on COPE activities and projects. Price - free.

b) COPE: 75-76 - This annual report outlines the various projects that COPE initiated or participated in during 1975 and 1976. These included an Inuit Land Claims Proposal to the federal government, a report to the Department of National health and Welfare on the health care needs of native people in the Mackenzie Delta and a study of the housing needs of native people in the Mackenzie Vallery area. This later study led to the formation of the Inuit Non-Profit Housing Corporation. Price - free.

c) Inuvialuit - This bi-monthly magazine is the official voice of the COPE organization and is printed in both the English and Inuit languages. The feature articles of the June 1977 issue is entitled "Land Rights Presentation" and deals with the Inuvialuit Lands Right Proposal presented to the federal government in May 1977. This proposal, prepared by COPE, represents a separate land claims proposal for the Inuvialuit and is a response to the incesing pressure for oil and gas developments in the Western arctic. This proposal contains four stated goals:
1) the preservation of Inuit values and identity
2) the provision to enable the Inuvialuit to be equal and meaningful participants in the north
3) the preservation of Arctic wildlife, environment and biological productivity
4) compensation to the Inuvialuit for the extinguishment of their land rights.
In the proposal, the Inuvialuit make specific claims for land ownership over an area of 68,000 sq. miles, for a 3 per cent royalty on oil and gas discoveries on Inuit lands and rights for hunting, fishing, and trapping..

The newsletter contains other articles and information relevant to native peoples in the Western Arctic.

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This abstract was published in Connexions Digest in 1983:

COPE represents the 2,500 Inuvialuit (Inuit) of the Western Artic. It was founded in 1970 in response to intensive mineral and petroleum exploration in the MacKenzie Delta/Beaufort area. Native leaders realized that the potential impact of development in the region would require organization if traditional lands and ways of life were to be protected.

COPE was an active participant in the MacKenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry and National Energy Board Hearings. It has bee COPE's position from the beginning that priority must be given to land rights claims and the achievement of a Final Agreement with the Government's of Canada. COPE has not been strongly opposed to development in prinicple. However, it did strongly oppose the construction of the pipeline and some other potentially hazardous forms of development until a final settlement of Western Arctic land claims is signed and working. COPE has worked hard to promote equality among all people in the North regardless of race.

The four basic goals of the Inuvialuit land rights settlement are:

- to preserve Inuvialuit culture, identity, and values within a changing northern society;
- to enable Inuvialuit to be equal and meaningful participants in the northern society;
- to provide specific rights, benefits and compensation to the Inuvialuit in exchange for any Inuvialuit land
rights that now exist; and
- to protect and preserve the Arctic wildlife, environment, and biological productivity.

In 1978, COPE and the Government of Canada signed an Agreement in Principle. After signing, negotiations between the Crown and COPE were sporadic, until the appointment of a new chief federal negotiator in October 1982.

Meanwhile, COPE actively safeguards and promotes the interests of the Inuvialuit through the establishment of such regional organizations as the Inuvialuit Games Council, empowered to manage wildlife resources in the Western Arctic; and the Inuvialuit Development Corporation, a business corporation with wide-ranging activities in the region.

COPE Communications published AKANA, bi-weekly newsletter, and Inuvialuit, a quarterly magazine. It also manages a high frequency radio system, a P.A. system, a video pilot project and an oral history project, and is providing support to a new Inuvialuit Communications Society which is working to expand communicaitons in the artic. It also has a training program for four Inuvialuit.

COPE helps community craftspeople sell their products, assists communities and individuals to expediate the flow of goods, and fights for better social and living conditions in all the communities. COPE has also hired a consultant to carry out research aimed at designing a new health policy for Western Arctic.

COPE formed an Inuvialuktan language Commission in 1981, and directed its members to initiate a long-term language project to preserve and maintain and three Inuvilluktan dialects as a spoken and written language in the Western Arctic. Working with a linguist, the language project has developed dictionaries and grammars in each dialect for publicaiton in 1983/84. This summer, languages camps from the six Inuit communities of the Western Arctic will provide Inuvialuit children with an opporunity to learn traditional summer camp skills. A training course in language teaching is also being offered to two people from each of the six communties. At the end of the training, these language teachers will become employees of the GNWT Department of Educaiton and will teach in the schools of their home communities in 1984.

COPE works in co-opertion with the Inuit Circumpolar Conference which represents the world's 100,000 Inuit. This is made up of representatives from Canada, Alaska and Greenland. It also meets iwth the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada, a political organizaiton which represents all Canada's Inuit.

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This organziation no longer exists.
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