June 19, 2019 – Kuujjuaq, Nunavik – Makivvik, representing Inuit of Nunavik, is pleased to announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Government of Canada on Self-Determination. The MOU was signed by Makivvik President Charlie Watt, and Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs (CIRNA). Also attending for Makivvik was Mary Simon, the Chief Negotiator for Nunavik Inuit Self-Determination.
“This is an important day for Nunavik Inuit,” said Makivvik President Charlie Watt. “This launches a formal process which recognizes the right of Nunavik Inuit to establish a new governance structure based on our laws, values , identity, culture and language. To prosper and thrive in our homeland requires that the inequities of the past be recognized and addressed. This is our time”.
The MOU contains a Preamble followed by over a dozen sections that together outline the objectives, subject matters, work plans, funding, confidentiality, dispute resolution, and the timetable for discussions and activities of the negotiation process. The MOU has been in development since the fall of 2018.
“I am very eager to begin the discussions and negotiations,” said Mary Simon. “We will have a Main Table which will be the primary forum for negotiating the self-determination of Nunavik Inuit, and managing the various Sectoral Tables, which will go into detail on specific subject matters. We have agreed to tackle community and family well being as an urgent topic to ensure that Nunavik Inuit receive the health and social services that all Canadians expect and to provide economic opportunities that we so desperately need.”
Today’s announcement builds on work conducted by Makivvik in the Nunavik region over the past two years. On March 21, 2019 Inuit delegates attending the Makivvik Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Aupaluk passed a resolution supporting negotiations on Self-Determination for the Nunavik region in northern Quebec.
Makivvik has organized two “Nunavik All Organization Meetings” in May 2018, and February 2019 bringing together Inuit representing all sectors of society. The “2018 Nunavik Inuit Declaration” was passed at the May 2018 meeting providing Makivvik with the mandate to establish an Indigenous Government based on Inuit values, heritage, identity, culture and language.
The participants at the February, 2019 Nunavik All-Organizations Meeting gave Makivvik the mandate to establish a “Nunavik Constitutional Task Force”. The Task Force will develop a Nunavik Constitution in consultation with Nunavik Inuit and the regional organizations.
Makivvik 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. Makivvik’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. Makivvik promotes the preservation of Inuit culture and language as well as the health, welfare, relief of poverty, and education of Inuit in the communities.