Claiming the North

The last quarter of the 20th century saw the people of the NWT attempting to address some of the injustices in their past. Land claims, often called ‘modern treaties,’ became an important issue for all residents of the NWT as the shortcomings of Treaty 8 and 11 were replaced by modern agreements between the Canadian government and the Inuvialuit (1984), the Sahtu Dene/Métis (1993) and the Tłı̨chǫ (2005). Pope John Paul visited Fort Simpson in 1987 to support this process.

The discovery of diamonds in 1991 also marked the beginning of a new mineral-based industry, but unlike mining ventures in the past, resource companies were required to consult with Indigenous groups, who negotiated socioeconomic agreements for the benefit of their people. In the last year of the century, the NWT also took on its new geographic shape with the creation of Nunavut.