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The Canadian Aboriginal Issues Database
© 1999

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Nunavut, Canada
significant events in the development of Canada's newest Territory

1971 to 1981

{1867 to 1960} {1961 to 1970} {search page} {1982 to 1985} {1986 to 1999}

Expanded version based on "Nunavut an annotated bibliography", by E. Simpson, L. Seale, R. Minion. Edmonton: Canadian Circumpolar Institute and University of Alberta Library.1994.

1971 The Inuit Tapirisat of Canada (ITC) established to speak on  issues concerning development of the Canadian North and preservation of Inuit lifestyles.

1972 The Metis and Non-Status Native Association of the NWT incorporated.

1972 ITC, Inuit Tapirisat of Canada conference confirms land claims priority.

1973 The Paulette Caveat (a declaration of prior interest in the land) to 450,000 square miles of traditional land filed in the Supreme Court of the NWT by the Dené. It is overturned by the Supreme Court of Canada on technical grounds. [Re: Paulette's Application ... (1973) 6W.W.R 97 (NWT S.C.)]

1973 Calder v. Attorney-General of B.C. decided by the Supreme Court of Canada. Later the Liberal federal government reverses its position that aboriginal title is not a concept existing in Canadian common law. [Calder v. Attorney-General of B.C., (1973) S.C.R. 313]

1973 Yukon Native Indian Brotherhood presents a land claim proposal for status and non-status Indians in the Yukon, "Together Today for Our Children Tomorrow. The federal government agrees to negotiate, implying some recognition of rights.

1973 The Liberal Canadian government announces that it will establish an Office of Native Claims to negotiate "comprehensive claims," claims for land not covered by treaty, and "specific claims," claims based on treaties, the Indian Act, or other legislation.

1973 The James Bay Hydro-Electric Project, announced by Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa in 1971, is contested by the Cree. The Québec Superior Court issues an interim injunction halting the project.

1974 The Office of Native claims established within the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs.

1974 M. Freeman's "Inuit Land Use and Occupancy Project" defines boundaries of Inuit land use in Ketikmeot (sp), Keewatin, and Baffin. Adopted in 1979 as Nunavut boundaries.

1974  The Indians and Inuit of Northern Québec sign agreement-in-principle with the Québec and Canadian governments to settle their land claims in northern Québec.

1975 First fully-elected Northwest Territories Assembly held.

1975 Mr. Justice Thomas Berger opens the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry to examine the issue of pipeline construction in the Mackenzie River valley .

1975 The Dené Declaration unanimously passed by the Joint General Assembly of the Indian Association in Fort Simpson, proposing self-government for the Dené of the NWT.

1975 The James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement was signed between the Grand Council of the Crees, Northern Québec Inuit Association and the Government of Québec, the James Bay Energy Corporation, the James Bay Development Corporation, the Québec Hydro-Electric Commission (Hydro-Québec) and the Government of Canada. It is the first modern treaty, comprehensive claim, between the Crown and aboriginal peoples in Canada.

1975 October 9 Commission on Home Rule for Greenland established.

1976 February 27 Inuit Tapirisat of Canada (ITC) propose division of the NWT and the creation of a new territory in the eastern arctic to be called Nunavut (Our Land). The Nunavut proposal includes the Inuvialuit region (represented by the Committee for Original People's Entitlement - COPE).

1976 Inuvialuit split from Inuit Tapirisat to settle their claim independently.

1976 The Special Electoral Boundaries Commission recommends division of the NWT into two electoral districts: Nunatsiaq and the Western Arctic.

1976 The Dené of the Northwest Territories (NWT) present a draft agreement-in-principle to the government of Canada which proposes an Indian government for the Northwest Territories with powers like that of a province. Métis of the Northwest Territories do not support this proposal and ask for separate funds to develop their own claims research.

1977 The Métis Association of the Northwest Territories (NWT) submits a claim paper titled "Our land, Our Culture, Our Future," to the federal government proposing that the Northwest Territories (NWT) be divided by extending the Manitoba/Saskatchewan border north.

1977 The Committee for Original Peoples' Entitlement (COPE) presents "Inuvialuit Nunangat" proposal for an agreement-in-principle to achieve the settlement of Inuvialuit land rights in the Western Arctic region of the Northwest Territories (NWT) and the Yukon.

1977 C.M. Drury appointed by the federal government to conduct an inquiry into constitutional development in the Northwest Territories (NWT).

1977 The Berger Report on the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry published; recommends the postponement of the pipeline for ten years.

1977 December 14 the NWT Inuit Land Claims Commission puts forward a proposal to the federal government calling for the formation of a new territory and government. "Proposal: Agreement-in-principle for the Establishment of Inuit Rights Between the Inuit of Nunavut and the Government of Canada."

1978 Federal Land Claims Proposal "Dene and Metis Claims in the Mackenzie Valley" rejected by both the Dené and Métis, resulting in the withdrawal of federal funding for negotiations until a single claim can be developed.

1978 The name "National Indian Brotherhood of the NWT" was formally changed to "Dené Nation" at the Dené National Assembly.

1978 October 31 the Committee for Original People's entitlement (COPE) signs the "Inuvialuit Land Rights Settlement Agreement-in-principle" with the federal government to settle the Inuvialuit land claim in the western Arctic.

1978 November 17  Home Rule Act for Greenland adopted by the Danish Parliament (Conf. Act no. 577, November 29, 1978, Lovtidende, A, 1978, p. 1879).

1979 January 17 referendum of Greenland population approves Home Rule Act for Greenland as of May 1, 1979.

1979 Métis Association of NWT announced that the Dené Nation will be the negotiator for both Dené and Métis regarding aboriginal rights and claims.

1979 Northwest Territories divided into two electoral districts for a federal election: Nunatsiaq and the Western Arctic.

1979 September Inuit Tapirisat of Canada (ITC) at its Annual General Assembly in Igloolik, releases a discussion paper, "Political Development in Nunavut."  It calls for the division of the Northwest Territories within ten years and provincehood for the Nunavut Territory within an additional five years.

1979 November 15 Mr. Justice Patrick Mahoney rules that the Baker Lake area is subject to Inuit aboriginal title. The Inuit of Baker lake had taken the federal government to court to protect their land from mining operations and to clarify aboriginal title.

1979 a new Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories is elected, resulting in an Assembly with a majority of aboriginal people.

1979 November 16 The Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories creates the Special Committee on Unity.

1980 January  The Drury Report (Report of the Special Representative on Constitutional Development in the Northwest Territories), recommends that the NWT remain a single political unit, and that residents assume the major responsibility for determining the direction and pace of political change in the NWT.

1980 funding reinstated to develop a land settlement position for Dené and Métis of the Mackenzie Valley.

1980 October Inuit Tapirisat of Canada (ITC) passes a resolution calling for the creation of Nunavut, at the annual general meeting.

1980 (?) October 22 The Report of the Special Committee on Unity tabled at the third session of the Northwest Territories Assembly at Frobisher Bay (Iqaluit). The report recommends a commitment by the Assembly to divide the Northwest Territories subject to the will of the people to be determined by a plebiscite and to request the federal government to divide the Northwest Territories if the plebiscite is affirmative.

1980 November The Special Committee on the Impact of Division is established by the Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories.

1981 May  Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories votes in favor of a plebiscite concerning the creation of Nunavut.

1981 November  Legislative Assembly of the Northwest Territories adopts a plebiscite ordinance and sets the date, April 14, 1982 and the question "Do you think the Northwest Territories should be divided? YES or NO"

1981 The Dené Nation and Métis Association proposes the establishment of a province-like jurisdiction called Denendeh in their discussion paper "Public Government for the People of the North."

1981 December federal government restates its 1973 policy on comprehensive claims in a paper titled "In All Fairness."

{1867 to 1960} {1961 to 1970} {search page} {1982 to 1985} {1986 to 1999}