Quebec Inuit pass self-determination resolution

Makivik Corporation’s office in Kuujjuaq, Quebec. Quebec Inuit previously voted on self-government in 2011 but the plan was rejected by voters. (Eilís Quinn/Eye on the Arctic)
Delegates at the annual general meeting of Makivik Corporation passed a resolution last week supporting negotiations towards self-government in Nunavik, the Inuit region of Arctic Quebec.

Charlie Watt, the president of Makivik, the organization that represents the Inuit of northern Quebec, said the resolution shows renewed support for the process. 

“(The delegates at the Makivik AGM) support the establishment of a process for Makivik to engage in negotiations regarding self-determination for the Nunavik Inuit;” he said in a news release on March 21 after the meeting in the Nunavik community of Aupaluk. 

“Makivik will keep Nunavik Inuit and Nunavik organizations informed and involved in the progress and status of the negotiations.”

Self-government plan previously rejected

Quebec Inuit previously voted “no” to a self-government plan in 2011.

The agreement had been drafted by Ottawa, the province of Quebec and Makivik Corporation.

However, it was rejected by 70 per cent of the voters at the time.

But in recent months, the project has been relaunched.

In May 2018, Makivik held a meeting involving all major Nunavik organizations, where a declaration was passed  giving Makivik the mandate to `…establish an Indigenous Government based on Inuit values, heritage, identity, culture and language.

In a February 2019 meeting, Makivik received the mandate to create a task force that will develop a Nunavik Constitution in consultation with the Nunavik Inuit.

Mary Simon, pictured here at the Aupaluk AGM, has been named as the chief negotiator of Nunavik Self-Determination and Inuit government. (Makivik Corporation)

Mary Simon, Canada’s former Arctic Ambassador and Ambassador to Denmark, as well as former President of Makivik Corporation, the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) and Canada’s national Inuit organization, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), has been named Chief Negotiator of Nunavik Self-Determination and Inuit government.

Simon is originally from the Nunavik community of Kuujjuaq.

Ottawa began negotiations with Makivik in October on a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will guide the negotiations, the news release said.

“I’m proud to be working with Mary Simon on this again,” Watt said.  “We have been engaged in this process for decades, and it has gained tremendous momentum in the last year.

“The legal framework that has evolved over the years, notably our Aboriginal rights in the Canadian Constitution, and more recently the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples are the foundation on which we are building our self-determination. We are working towards governing our own affairs based on Inuit values, heritage, identity, culture, and language.”

The Nunavik region is made up of 14 communities with a population of around 13,000 people.

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn(at)

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Northern Canada: Denes and Métis sign self-governance agreement in principle for Sahtu region, CBC News

Finland: UN Committee blasts Finland over electorate ruling for Sami Parliament, Yle News

Norway: Injustices against Sámi, Kven peoples to be examined by commission in Norway, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Inuit, Sami leading the way in Indigenous self-determination, study says, CBC news

United States: ‘We are caribou people’: First Nations leaders in Washington to push for ANWR protection, CBC News

Eilís Quinn, Eye on the Arctic

Eilís Quinn is an award-winning journalist and manages Radio Canada International’s Eye on the Arctic news cooperation project. Eilís has reported from the Arctic regions of all eight circumpolar countries and has produced numerous documentary and multimedia series about climate change and the issues facing Indigenous peoples in the North.

Her investigative report "Death in the Arctic: A community grieves, a father fights for change," about the murder of Robert Adams, a 19-year-old Inuk man from Arctic Quebec, received the silver medal for “Best Investigative Article or Series” at the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. The project also received an honourable mention for excellence in reporting on trauma at the 2019 Dart Awards in New York City.

Her report “The Arctic Railway: Building a future or destroying a culture?” on the impact a multi-billion euro infrastructure project would have on Indigenous communities in Arctic Europe was a finalist at the 2019 Canadian Association of Journalists award in the online investigative category.

Her multimedia project on the health challenges in the Canadian Arctic, "Bridging the Divide," was a finalist at the 2012 Webby Awards.

Her work on climate change in the Arctic has also been featured on the TV science program Découverte, as well as Le Téléjournal, the French-Language CBC’s flagship news cast.

Eilís has worked for media organizations in Canada and the United States and as a TV host for the Discovery/BBC Worldwide series "Best in China."

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