1984 Inuvialuit Land Claim

On June 5, 1984 the Committee for the Original Peoples’ Entitlement (COPE), representing 2500 Inuvialuit of the Mackenzie Delta and adjacent Arctic Coast, became the first Northwest Territories’ Aboriginal group to settle a comprehensive land claim. The Western Arctic Claims Settlement Act (see map) of 1984 gave final Parliament of Canada approval to this settlement.

The goals of the Inuvialuit Final Agreement (IFA) are “to preserve Inuvialuit cultural identity and values within a changing northern society; to enable Inuvialuit to be equal and meaningful participants in the northern and national economy and society; and, to protect and preserve the Arctic wildlife, environment and biological productivity.”

From their traditional lands (Map 1 link), the Inuvialuit negotiated legal title to more than 90,000 square kilometres (almost twice the size of the Province of Nova Scotia), including subsurface rights to oil, gas and minerals to almost 13,000 square kilometres. Most of the land selected is located along the coast east of the Mackenzie Delta between Inuvik and Paulatuk, on the southwest side of Banks Island and on the western coast of Victoria Island (Map 2 link).

Management of the terms and cash payments from the Inuvialuit Final Agreement became the responsibility of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC). Its mandate is “to continually improve the economic, social and cultural well-being of the Inuvialuit through implementation of the IFA and by all other available means”. Inuvialuit beneficiaries control the IRC through the election of directors to the Inuvialuit Community Corporations in Aklavik, Inuvik, Paulatuk, Sachs Harbour, Tuktoyaktuk and Ulukhaktok. These community corporation directors then elect the Chair/Chief Executive Officer of IRC and serve on the Corporation’s Board of Directors.

According to the 2006 Inuvialuit Regional Corporation’s Annual Report the Inuvialuit Corporate Group had a very successful year. After tax profits of $36,459,000 were almost double the previous year’s profits. Beneficiaries received a total of $17,345,371 in direct benefits while the value of the Inuvialuit Corporate Group climbed to an impressive $350,243,000.

Through its corporate, administrative, development and cultural subsidiaries (Inuvialuit Development Corporation, Inuvialuit Investment Corporation, Inuvialuit Petroleum Corporation, Inuvialuit Land Corporation, Inuvialuit Land Administration, Community Development Division and Inuvialuit Cultural Resource Centre) the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation continues to be a northern land claims success story.

The Inuvialuit Final Agreement can be viewed here: http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/ai/scr/nt/na/imp/wbd/ifa/index-eng.asp