Inuit Applaud Historic Ratification Vote. Fourth and Final Inuit Comprehensive Land Claim Agreement Ratified: Cause for Celebration
OTTAWA - Thursday May 27, 2004 - Inuit celebrate today following the successful ratification of the Labrador Final Agreement on May 26, 2004. The Agreement was ratified by 76.4 percent of eligible voters, marking the end of a long chapter in the negotiations of comprehensive land claim agreements for Inuit in Canada. The claim was originally filed in 1977, taking 27 years to negotiate and ratify.
"On behalf of all Inuit in Canada, this is indeed an historic moment," said Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami President Jose Kusugak. "Congratulations to Inuit of Nunatsiavut, the Inuktitut name for the Labrador region. Congratulations to the past and present Inuit leaders and staff at the Labrador Inuit Association who have worked tirelessly over the years. This day has been a long time coming, and it is an important step in developing the Nunatsiavut region. This is a cause for all Inuit to celebrate your achievement, as you have shared in the accomplishments of Nunavik, Inuvialuit, and Nunavut over the past 30 years. Today, Inuit are indeed "Tapiriit" (united)."
This is the fourth comprehensive Land Claim Agreement signed by Inuit in Canada. The first was the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, signed November 11, 1975 by Inuit in the Nunavik region of Northern Quebec. That was followed in the 1980s when the Inuvialuit Final Agreement was signed on June 5, 1984. In the early 1990s the Nunavut Final Agreement was signed on May 27, 1993.
"Comprehensive Land Claim Agreements accommodate our indigenous nature, and allow for development to occur that will benefit our regions and Canada as a whole," says Jose Kusugak. "In the three Inuit regions where land claim agreements have been signed there is ample evidence of overall improvements, such as increased employment for Inuit, improved investment opportunities as a result of greater political confidence and legal certainty. Finally, Inuit will have more control over their destiny, greater political power, and a stronger voice."
To mark this historic event ITK is publishing a map of the Inuit Communities of Canada featuring the name of the Nunatsiavut region where the former name Labrador used to appear, signed by all ITK Board of Directors. The map can be found on the ITK web site at www.itk.ca
Director of Communications Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami
Tel: (613) 277-3178