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1992: Inuit vote for new territory of Nunavut

On April 1, 1999, the new territory of Nunavut was born, finally making the controversial dream of the Northwest Territories' Inuit a reality. It meant the Inuit gained self-rule and control over their own institutions. This was the result of years of lobbying Ottawa and numerous plebiscites overwhelmingly in favour of self-determination. But along with the territory come the challenges: combating suicide, reversing assimilation and regaining a sense of identity.

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Self-government, title to the land and over $1 billion over 14 years - these are the gains Inuit in the eastern Arctic have won. A strong 69 per cent of residents voted to accept the historic settlement presented by the federal government. Their new territory will be called Nunavut, which means "our land" in Inuktitut. Local residents respond to the momentous agreement in this CBC Television report.
• Approximately 80 per cent of the 9,648 Inuit cast a ballot in the referendum. Residents who did not cast a vote were counted in the No tally. The vote was held over two days from Nov. 3 - 5 in 1992.

• The agreement was created over a period of 15 years. Under the terms of the deal, the Inuit were granted title to roughly 350,000 square kilometres of land - approximately 18 per cent of the eastern Arctic land. The remaining 82 per cent is held by Ottawa. They also received $1.15 billion over 15 years and the right to hunt, fish and trap in the region. In exchange, the Inuit agreed to surrender any other land claims to the rest of the territory.

• On April 1, 1999, the territory of Nunavut was made an official territory of Canada. To learn more about the history of the land claim agreement, please visit our topicCreation of Nunavut.  
Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: Nov. 12, 1992
Guest(s): James Eetoolook, Mike Louise, Johnny Mike, Paul Quassa
Host: Alison Smith
Reporter: Eric Sorensen
Duration: 3:58

Last updated: November 15, 2012

Page consulted on October 21, 2014

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