November 27, 2018 – Kuujjuaq, QC – The President of the Makivik Corporation delivered a powerful message to the Viens Commission last Friday urging Quebec to stop making unilateral decisions without Inuit participation and consent.
In his one-and-a-half hour presentation, Charlie Watt gave examples of actions that have had negative impacts on the lives of Inuit such as in housing, justice, and youth.
“I heard the other day that there was talk of the Kativik Police (KRPF) threatening to hand over its responsibility to the Surèté du Québec. Where did that come from? The decision can only be made by the Inuit leadership, the creators of the KRPF. The police force was established to report to and get its direction from municipal leaders,” he said.
The Makivik President went on to explain other issues that is tearing at the social fabric of the region such in housing.
“It’s a shame families are evicted from their homes in freezing temperatures. Where are they supposed to go? This is not the south where there are shelters to turn to. We need infrastructure.”
Mr. Watt said Quebec also needs to address its relationship with the Inuit and their homeland dating back decades.
“The territory was transferred to Quebec from the Northwest Territories through the 1912 Boundaries Extension Act without consultation, and without consent from the Inuit. Quebec wanted the land but not the people. That’s a shame. We need to engage in serious Self-Determination discussions,” he said.
Makivik Corporation is pleased the Viens Commission accepted its invitation and has come to Nunavik to hear concerns from Nunavimmiut and reminded them, “Our problems will not be solved by the south. Solutions must be conceived and developed by our people. It’s 2018. The era of making decisions about our region in Quebec City without our input is over.”
The “Viens Commission” is named after the honourable Jacques Viens, who was responsible for the judicial district of Abitibi, including Nunavik, for more than 30 years for the Superior Court of Québec. The Viens Commission was created by the Government of Québec on December 21, 2016. The full name is The Public Inquiry Commission on relations between Indigenous Peoples and certain public services in Québec: listening, reconciliation and progress. The commission website is cerp.gouv.qc.ca
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Makivik is the Land Claims Organization mandated to manage the heritage funds of the Inuit of Nunavik provided for under the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement. Makivik’s role includes the administration and investment of these funds and the promotion of economic growth by providing assistance for the creation of Inuit-operated businesses in Nunavik. Makivik promotes the preservation of Inuit culture and language as well as the health, welfare, relief of poverty, and education of Inuit in the communities.