A proposal to declare a river in Nunavut’s Kivalliq region a heritage river is meeting some opposition from the Kivalliq Inuit Association.
The Back River is one of the territory’s longest rivers, winding through hundreds of kilometres of tundra.
David Monteith, Nunavut's director of Parks and Special Places, has been studying whether the Back meets the criteria for a Canadian heritage river.
"Basically, it’s a stewardship program," he said. "It provides recognition to the river, and one would hope that as a result of that, there would be a little bit high degree of care given to the river should any activities take place, and appreciation of the river."
Monteith said the area is rich in wildlife and Inuit history.
But it may also be rich in minerals, and that’s why the Kivalliq Inuit Association opposes a heritage designation.
KIA president David Ningeongan said they don't want to rule out mining the region.
"A lot of it is looking for uranium right now, and some potential for gold... exploration is happening as well," he said.
The Nunavut government said a formal nomination of the Back River is still some time away. It's planning more research and consultations and David Monteith said nothing will be done without consensus among government and communities.