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Nunavut Law Program Research Guide: Creation of Nunavut

Library Subject Headings

  • Canada. Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act
  • Constitutional law -- Nunavut
  • Decentralization in government -- Nunavut -- Planning
  • Inuit -- Canada -- Government relations 
  • Inuit -- Land tenure--Nunavut
  • Inuit -- Nunavut -- Claims
  • Inuit -- Nunavut -- History 
  • Inuit -- Nunavut -- Land transfers
  • Inuit -- Nunavut -- Politics and government 
  • Nunavut -- History
  • Nunavut -- Politics and government
  • Self-determination, National -- Nunavut

Government Documents and Reports

Implementation Reviews

Websites of interest:

"Publications" - Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI) 

Canada's Relationship with Inuit: A History of Policy and Program Development - Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada

Selective List of Books/E-Books

Creation of Nunavut: Selective Timeline

Flag of Nunavut

  • 1969 - Statement of the Government of Canada on Indian policy (aka "The White Paper") 
  • 1971 – Inuit organization formed, Inuit Tapirisat of Canada (ITC)
  • 1973 – Calder case (SCC) – recognition of Aboriginal title 
  • August 1973 – Comprehensive Land Claims Policy – new federal policy on outstanding Aboriginal land claims (revised in 1978, 1981, 1986)
  • August 8, 1973 – Canada, Minister of Indian and Affairs and Northern Development, Statement Made by the Honourable Jean Chretien, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development on Claims of Indian and Inuit People (Ottawa: Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, 1973).  
  • 1974 – Funding provided to Aboriginal organizations to determine land areas where ownership rights were desired.  ITC undertakes study of Inuit land occupancy in the Arctic
  • 1975 –  At ITC meeting, agreement to call new territory Nunavut
  • 1979 - Political Development in Nunavut: a Report Prepared for the Board of Directors of Inuit Tapirisat of Canada ([Ottawa]: Information Services, Inuit Tapirisat of Canada, [1979]).  
  • August 1980  - DIAND and Inuit (represented by ITC) meet for first time in Ottawa
  • July 1981 – Tungavik Federation of Nunavut (TFN) succeeds ITC
  • 1982 – TFN represents Inuit in negotiations
  • 1982 – Negotiations between TFN and the Dene about boundary line (negotiations continue until 1987)
  • April 14, 1982 - NWT votes in territorial plebiscite, 56% support the division to create Nunavut
  • 1986 – Address to the House of Commons by the Hon. Bill McKnight, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, on comprehensive Claims Policy
  • April 30, 1990 - TFN, the Government of Canada and the Government of the Northwest Territories enter into an agreement-in-principle
  • December 16, 1991 – In Ottawa, TFN and Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs reach final agreement on Nunavut land claim
  • October 30, 1992 – Political accord confirms division of NWT and Nunavut, signed in Iqaluit
  • May 1992 - NWT voters support the boundary line for division
  • November 1992 – Referendum. Inuit vote 69% in favour of accepting the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement
  • March 15, 1993 – Nunavut Tungavik Inc.(NTI) succeeds Tungavik Federation of Nunavut
  • May 25, 1993 - Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (NLCA) signed in Iqaluit
  • July 9, 1993 –  Federal legislation comes into force: Nunavut Act (amended in 1998) and Nunavut Land Claims Act
  • April 1, 1999 – New territory born at midnight

Other timelines on the web:

Case Law

NTI v Canada (Attorney General), 2003 NUCJ 1 (CanLII).

NTI v Canada (A.G.), 2007 NUCJ 27 (CanLII).

NTI v Canada (A.G.), 2008 NUCJ 11 (CanLII).

NTI v Canada (A.G.), 2008 NUCJ 15 (CanLII).

Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated v. Canada (Attorney General), 2009 NUCA 2 (CanLII).

NTI v Canada (Attorney General), 2012 NUCJ 11 (CanLII).

Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. v Canada (Attorney General), 2014 NUCJ 1 (CanLII).

Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated v Canada (Attorney General), 2014 NUCA 2 (CanLII).

Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. v Canada, 2014 NUCJ 31 (Lexis Advance Quicklaw - password required).

Selective List of Articles

Scott Clark, “The Nunavut Court of Justice: An Example of Challenges and Alternatives for Communities and for the Administration of Justice” (2011) 53 CJCCJ 343. Online

​Barry Dewar, “Nunavut and the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement - an Unresolved Relationship” (2009) 30 Policy Options 74. Online 

Terry Fenge, “Inuit and the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement: Supporting Canada's Arctic Sovereignty” (2007) 29 Policy Options 84. Online

Terry Fenge & Paul Quassa, “Negotiating and Implementing the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement” (2009) 30 Policy Options 80. Online

Kevin R. Gray, “The Nunavut Land Claims Agreement and the Future of the Eastern Arctic: The Uncharted Path to Effective Self-Government” (1994) 52 U. Toronto Fac. L. Rev. 300. Online

André Légaré, “Canada's Experiment with Aboriginal Self-determination in Nunavut: From Vision to Illusion (2008) 15 Int  J on Minority and Group Rights 335. Online 

André Légaré, “The Process Leading to a Land Claims Agreement and its Implementation: the Case of the Nunavut Land Claims Settlement” (1996) 16:1 Canadian Journal of Native Studies 139.

John Merritt & Terry Fenge, “The Nunavut Land Claim Settlement: Emerging Issues in Law and Public Administration” (1990) 15 Queens LJ 255. Online