Inuit Tapirisat of Canada
Organization profile published 1978
Year Published: 1978
Resource Type: Organization
Cx Number: CX867
According to this report, whose substance was repeated in a number of addresses to Canadian Clubs in Western Canada, the Inuit negotiations for a land claims settlement are not, in their eyes, merely a negotiation for a cash payment and reduced land ownership in exchange for the extinguishing of aboriginal rights.
a) Submission of Eric Tagoona, Director of the Inuit Land Claims Commission, to the Special Joint Committee on the Constitution of Canada, August 1978. According to this report, whose substance was repeated in a number of addresses to Canadian Clubs in Western Canada, the Inuit negotiations for a land claims settlement are not, in their eyes, merely a negotiation for a cash payment and reduced land ownership in exchange for the extinguishing of aboriginal rights. Rather the Inuit wish to negotiate with the government of Canada their right to self-determination within a revised Canadian Constitution. In this respect they point out that they are different from ethnic immigrants in that they did not choose to enter into the Canadian framework, nor can they leave it, even temporarily, in order to return to their homeland. Their entry into Canada was assumed by fiat of the British and Canadian governments and without any attempt to obtain they consent.
Mr. Tagoona points out that a major incursion of southern political influence into the Inuit lands has occurred since the mid-sixties when the Territorial Government was set up in Yellowknife. The Inuit do wish to be a part of a new Canadian Constitution, but they wish also to preserve their existence as a people. Therefore they want to negotiate political structures which allow the preservation of Inuit language and culture. Mr. Tagoona explains that the Inuit (numbering 22,000) reject their status as a colonized people as any basis for their standing in Canada.
b) Inuit Land Use and Occupancy Project (complete set: Canada: $37. Cheque to be made to the Receiver General of Canada). This is a three-volume study, completed in 1976, presenting the Inuit claim to aboriginal land occupancy. The first volume is based on interviews with over 1,600 adult Inuit living in 33 arctic settlements. It documents Inuit activity in the area from the time of early fur trading until today. The second volume offers supportive statements by an international team of specialists answering questions about the Canadian arctic, its history and the culture of its people. The final volume consists of 230 full-colour map plates portraying land use for every part of the Northwest and Yukon Territories used by the Inuit today.
This organization has changed its name to the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK).