My Home and Native Land

Janie L. Wilkins (
Fri, 02 Apr 1999 14:26:18 -0500

Since moving to the USA, I have been continually amazed by
the fact that many Americans (even well-educated
professionals) do not know basic facts about their neighbour
to the north-- such as how many provinces and territories
make up Canada. So, for the record, Canada has a new
territory with a new capital city and they both have Inuit
names -- names that not even most Canadians can pronounce.
That brings the grand total to 10 provinces and 3
territories. Go Nunavut Go!

The notion of Nunavut was born in the aboriginal rights
movement of the early 1970s that swept through nativ
communities on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border, with
varying degrees of success. It took more than two decades of
negotiations, plebiscites and elections before the Canadian
government finally agreed in 1993 to divide the Northwest
territories in two and settle its outstanding land claims
with the Inuit.

The Nunavut land claim agreement bestows the Inuit with
title to some 135,000 square miles (300,000 square
kilometers) of land, roughly one-sixth of the ne territory.
And the Inuit will enjoy ownership and mineral rights to an
additional 23,750
square miles (38,000 square kilometers).
Although Nunavut faces daunting social
and economic
challenges, including double-digit
unemployment, alcoholism
and suicide rates far above the Canadian
averages, its
creation is perhaps the most daring step
any nation has ever
taken to satisfy the political and
geographical claims of its
aboriginal people.
=93This is a tremendously important
undertaking,=94 Jane
Stewart, Canada=92s minister of Indian
Affairs and Northern
Development, told a news conference
yesterday at an
airport hangar on the outskirts of
Nunavut=92s capital of
Iqaluit. =93This is proof that we are
committed to reconciling
aboriginal rights in Canada.=94