January 6, 2021 – Kuujjuaq, Nunavik – Makivik Corporation says a recent announcement on December 11, 2020 by the Quebec government to protect close to 30,000 square kilometres in Nunavik comes at a bad time. That’s because Nunavik Inuit are in the middle of community consultations on an Inuit government for the Nunavik region.
Makivik Corporation has been leading a process to develop a self-determination process for the region. It has been in discussions with the government of Canada, based on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), signed in June, 2019. The Chief Negotiator, Lisa Koperqualuk, along with Makivik President Charlie Watt held thorough community consultations through local FM Radio stations in each Nunavik community during the months of November and December 2020. This consultation process has revealed strong support for the mandate to develop a Nunavik Inuit Government.
As a result, Makivik President Charlie Watt declared, “We will not take part in any agreements on land usage that bind our Inuit negotiators. Politically, Quebec’s announcement on the protected area will not work at this time.”
Quebec’s December 11th press release includes references to collaboration by Makivik Corporation, the Kativik Regional Government (KRG), the Naskapi Nation of Kawawachikamach, and the Cree Nation in the first paragraph. It states that the Government of Quebec will designate “eight new land reserves for protected areas and to authorize the expansion of two existing reserves in Nunavik.”
Makivik’s Vice-President, Department of Environment, Wildlife and Research, Adamie Delisle-Alaku added, “Yes we did participate in this process, however we are informing Quebec that at this time, we are in a comprehensive, Nunavik-wide consultation process on the development of our new Nunavik government. As a result, we will not sign any such agreement regarding expanding the protected areas in Nunavik.”
The process to develop a new government in the Nunavik region builds on years of collective discussions, and several “All Organization” meetings bringing Nunavik organizations together for intensive weeklong consultations. Meetings have included reviewing a draft Nunavik Constitution and adopting resolutions in support of establishing an Inuit Government in Nunavik based on Inuit values, culture and language.
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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.