Nunavut government, Nunavut Inuit and feds sign devolution agreement in principle

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The signing of a devolution agreement in principle capped a busy week of federal announcements in the capital this morning.

Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. president Aluki Kotierk , Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett and Premier Joe Savikataaq signed an agreement in principle for the devolution of powers to the territory in Iqaluit Aug. 15. Federal negotiator Fred Caron and Government of Nunavut negotiator Simon Awa look on.
Michele LeTourneau/NNSL photo

“Today’s a good day,” said Premier Joe Savikataaq.

“I have to admit I didn’t think this day would come so quickly. It’s proof how hard our devolution team has worked.”

Savikataaq, along with Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. president Aluki Kotierk, and Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett formalized the fourteen-chapter document five years in the making with their signatures.

Devolution negotiations began in 2014, and were supposed to take a year to reach an agreement in principle. After an interruption in 2015 due to a change in the federal party in power, negotiations resumed in 2016 with a new federal negotiator, Fred Caron.

Government of Nunavut negotiator Simon Awa emceed the early morning event.

Final negotiations for the transfer of power from the feds to the territory have now begun, and will include offshore resources. That process is expected to take five years.

More to come.

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Michele LeTourneau first arrived at NNSL's headquarters in Yellowknife in1998, with a BA honours in Theatre. For four years she documented the arts across the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Following a very short stint as a communications officer with the Government of the Northwest Territories, Michele spent a decade at a community-based environmental monitoring board in the mining industry, where she worked with Inuit, Chipewyan, Tlicho, Yellowknives Dene and Metis elders to help develop traditional knowledge and Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit contributions for monitoring and management plans. She rejoined NNSL and moved to Iqaluit in May 2014 to write for Nunavut News. Michele has received a dozen awards for her work with NNSL.