NunatuKavut Inuit Vote on New Constitution

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Indigenous Culture and Tech World

Members vote to approve new Constitution and establish mandates on key issues

HAPPY VALLEY-GOOSE BAY, LABRADOR – This past weekend, the NunatuKavut Community Council (NCC) hosted its largest Annual General Assembly (AGA), with over 300 NunatuKavut Inuit gathering in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. This was the conclusion of an extensive AGA process that included numerous community meetings throughout NunatuKavut. A historic new governing Constitution was passed and the assembly gave NCC a clear mandate to move forward on three significant priorities.

NCC’s new Constitution is a values-based governing document that is built on NunatuKavut Inuit identity, values, practices and traditions. It guides the spirit and intent of all the laws and decisions of NCC’s Governing Council and provides transparency and accountability around how NCC governs. It was effective on February 3, 2024.

“I am very pleased that our members approved a new Constitution that reflects our collective and individual rights and responsibilities to each other and all of our relations,” said Todd Russell, President of NCC. “This a very important step toward self-governance and self-determination.”

NunatuKavut Inuit also unanimously passed the following three key priority resolutions:

  • Mandate for negotiations on NunatuKavut Inuit rights over Churchill River and surrounding area
  • Mandate to secure NunatuKavut Inuit rights and recognition in Akami-Uapshk-KakKasuak Mealy Mountains National Park Reserve
  • Mandate to secure NunatuKavut Inuit rights and recognition at Academic Institutions

The first resolution seeks to advance negotiations with the Provincial government to address outstanding issues with respect to development of the Churchill River. These include reparations relating to the Upper Churchill and Muskrat Falls, consultation and consent with respect to any future development of the river, and representation and inclusion regarding the 2041 Churchill Falls negotiations.

The second resolution on the Akami-Uapshk-KakKasuak-Mealy Mountains National Park Reserve specifically speaks to Bill S-14 Protecting Canada’s Natural Wonders Act, which will officially establish the Park Reserve. The resolution says that NCC’s Shared Understanding Agreement (SUA) with Parks Canada must be honoured and that Bill S-14 must be amended to ensure that NunatuKavut Inuit rights are respected.

“Our SUA allows for NunatuKavut Inuit to carry on traditional activities within the Park,” said President Russell. “This resolution calls upon Canada to act in accordance with the Honour of the Crown and reverse the erroneous amendments made by the Senate of Canada. We will stand for nothing less.”

The third resolution speaks to the recent instances of some academic institutions in Canada attempting to adjudicate or dictate the Indigeneity of a collective of people, including NunatuKavut Inuit. NCC members voted to reject the validity of any policy or process that purports to support any such authority. Members also agreed for NCC to take any necessary actions, including legal, political, and on the ground, to secure NunatuKavut Inuit rights and recognition at academic institutions.

“We had a tremendous AGA overall. It was a beautiful coming together in celebration of our history, culture and traditions. Our theme was illaget – family and it was indeed a special gathering of family and our kinship and relations. Our people are united, stronger than ever and resoundingly clear on the key priorities they would like to see NCC move forward on,” said President Russell. “NCC will continue to work hard to advance the rights and recognition of NunatuKavut Inuit and to help ensure the health, safety and well-being of our people and communities.”

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