Nunavik Marine Region
The Nunavik Marine Region includes all the marine areas, islands, lands and waters within the boundary identified in Schedule 3-2 of the Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement (NILCA). The NMR boundary includes areas of equal use and occupancy with the Inuit of Nunavut, and areas of equal use and occupancy and joint ownership with the Cree of Eeyou Itschee. The NMR is further sub-divided into 3 pertinent zones, Zone A, Zone B, and Zone C.
Nunavik is a territory that occupies a large landmass (660,000 square kilometers) within the tundra and sub-boreal regions above the 55th parallel in the Province of Québec . Nunavik covers an area that is equivalent to one-third the area of Québec.
More About the 3 Zones
Zone A of the NMR is a sub zone of the NMR where the areas of equal use and occupancy with both the Inuit of Nunavut and the Cree of Eeyou Itschee, and a proportion of land retained by the Crown have been removed. Therefore, the NMR Zone A is an area where all lands are Nunavik Inuit Lands. For the authoritative boundary metes and bounds, please refer to Schedule 8-1 of the NILCA.
Zone A of the NMR however has three (3) exclusion parcels within the overall boundary which are portions of lands retained by the crown. NMR Zone A, Digges Island Exclusion Parcel (See Schedule 8-1b of NILCA) is a small portion of surveyed lands on the southern shore of Digges Island in Hudson Strait (north of Ivujivik). Aktpatok Island in Ungava Bay has three portions of surveyed lands that are exclusion parcels as they are retained by the Crown. Schedule 8-1c of NILCA depicts the Parcel 1 exclusion, Schedule 8-1d depicts the parcel 2 exclusion. Parcel 3 on Akpatok is a small portion of lands on the North west side of the island that was retained by the Crown due to an environmental concern.
Zone B of the NMR is a sub zone of the NMR that represents an area of equal use and occupancy and joint ownership of lands with the Cree of Eeyou Itschee. All lands within Zone B are jointly owned by the Inuit and Cree less the following:
- Gillies Island per Certificate of Title 164, Nunavut Land Titles Office;
Zone C of the NMR is a sub zone of the NMR that is a zone of equal use and occupancy, however, the majority portion of lands within the zone are owned by the Cree of Eeyou Itschee, less the following Nunavik Inuit Lands:
- 53°50'06" N Latitude and 79°07'59" W Longitude;
- 53°50'13" N Latitude and 79°04'11" W Longitude;
- 53°49'46" N Latitude and 79°04'27" W Longitude;
- 53°49'40" N Latitude and 79°05'00" W Longitude;
- 53°49'25" N Latitude and 79°05'35" W Longitude;
- 53°49'31" N Latitude and 79°07'20" W Longitude;
- 53°49'49" N Latitude and 79°08'00" W Longitude;
For greater certainty, included within the bounded area are the following named islands:
- Governor Island: the centre of which is located at approximately 53°49'45" N latitude and 79°06'00" W longitude
- Sam Island: the centre of which is located at approximately 53°50'00" N latitude and 79°06'00" W longitude; and
- Seal Islands: the centre of which is located at approximately 53°49'45" N latitude and 79°07'30" W longitude.
The Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement (NILCA) came into effect on July 10, 2007. It applies to the offshore region around Quebec, northern Labrador and offshore northern Labrador.
The rights of Nunavik Inuit to the offshore were recognized as unfinished business in the 1975 James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement. However it took many years of meticulous research and active political lobbying to have the formal statement of claim finally accepted in January 1992 for negotiations with the federal government. During that same period, a separate statement of claim to Labrador was prepared. It was accepted for negotiations in June 1993.
NILCA Region highlights
- Nunavik Inuit now own 80% of all the islands, including both surface and subsurface, in the Nunavik Marine Region, totaling some 5,300 sq. km.
- Makivik has started receiving the $86-million capital transfers and associated funds, while $55-million will fund the Nunavik Inuit Trust which can make disbursements to individual Nunavik Inuit.
- Co-management bodies with decision-making authority are established to address wildlife, land management, and development impact issues.
- A wildlife compensation regime making a developer liable without the applicant having to make proof for loss or damage from the development activity is created.
- Certainty of rights is provided using a “non-assertion model” instead of the “surrender and extinguishment model” found in the JBNQA.
Comprehensive claims deal with the unfinished business of treaty-making in Canada. These claims arise in areas of Canada where Aboriginal land rights have not been dealt with by past treaties or through other legal means. In these areas, forward looking modern treaties are negotiated between the Aboriginal Group, Canada, and the Province or Territory. The NILCA is considered a comprehensive land claim and contains a multitude of Articles that define the negotiated terms of the land claim between the Parties.
The Nunavik Territory hosts more than 10,000 Inuit, living in villages of coastal locations: Kangiqsualujjuaq (George River), Kuujjuaq (Fort Chimo), Tasiujaq (Leaf Bay), Aupaluk, Kangirsuk (Payne Bay), Quaqtaq, Kangiqsujuaq, Salluit, Ivujivik, Akulivik, Puvirnituq, Inukjuak (Port Harrison), Umiujaq, Kuujjuaraapik (Great Whale River), and Chisasibi (an Inuit community amongst Cree village located outside Nunavik).
More about the Nunavik Communities
The Nunavik communities are located at a distance between 1500 and 2500 km north of Montréal. Only three of the communities have populations of over one thousand. Roughly 90% of Nunavik’s total population is Inuit. There are no roads between the Nunavik communities, nor are there roads linking Nunavik to the south. Air service provides the only year round passenger transportation and shipping in the summer as well as air service provides freight for any supplies needed. The cost of living in Nunavik has been established at 69% higher than elsewhere in the province of Québec. A 2001 Statistics Canada report on Harvesting and Community Well Being among Inuit establishes the cost of staple food items in Kuujjuaq at 2.4 times the cost of the same foods in Montreal. The Inuit of Nunavik are not subjected to the Indian Act and pay all federal and provincial sales and income tax at the same rate as other Canadians.
The population of Nunavik is very young. Over 75% of Nunavimiut (the people of Nunavik) are under the age of 35 and 50% are under the age of 20 years. The percentage of children 0-5 years of age is 2.5 times higher in Nunavik than in the rest of Québec. This age group of approximately 1600 children represents 16% of the Nunavik population. The average growth of the population for Nunavik Inuit is three to four time higher than for Quebec. Since the 1950s, the life expectancy increased significantly for Inuit, from 48 to 66 years old. An important tradition that still prevails in the Nunavik communities is the customary adoption. About one out of every five newborns in Nunavik is customarily adopted. According to the Santé Québec Health Survey Among the Inuit of Nunavik (1992), 23% of the population over 15 years of age declared having been adopted and almost as many men as women had been adopted and 57% of the individuals over 15 years of age who were surveyed had adopted or given up for customary adoption at least one child.
The language of the Nunavik Inuit is Inuktitut, and it is spoken and used by nearly all Inuit, with a retention rate over 95%. It is a principal language of instruction in the schools from kindergarten to grade 3 and is used exclusively in the childcare centres. Schools were first implemented by the federal government in the 1950s, accelerating if not forcing the sedentarization of the Inuit of Nunavik, along with the eradication of the Inuit dogs used by the Nunavik population to sustain their way of living. Schools are now the responsibility of the Kativik School Board, an entity created by the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement (JBNQA).
The Québec Boundaries Extension Act, 1912 transferred what is now referred to as the Nunavik territory to the Province of Québec on condition that the indigenous rights in the territory be recognized. Following actions undertaken by the government of Quebec to have developed the hydroelectric potential of the James Bay and Nunavik territories, court actions were initiated and led to the signature of the first modern treaty in Canada, the JBNQA. The Nunavik Territory’s administration, since the signature in 1975, is organized under such a treaty, which provides specific regimes for the management of the resources and wildlife, notably at Section 23 (Environmental Regime) and Section 24 (Hunting and Fishing Regime). Both regimes were enacted under laws for the Province of Quebec and through the creation of advisory bodies responsible for the management of each regime.