The Inuvialuit Regional Corporation says a new policy signed by federal and Inuit leaders this week will improve the treatment of Inuvialuit by the Canadian government.
The Inuit Nunagat Policy, announced on Thursday, recognizes Inuit Nunangat – or Inuit homeland encompassing the Inuvialuit settlement region, Nunavut, Nunavik and Nunatsiavut – as a distinct geographic, cultural and political region.
The policy formally acknowledges Inuit have the right to self-determination and are the most knowledgeable about issues affecting their communities.
“We are done explaining who Inuvialuit are and why we matter,” Duane Smith, chair of the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, said in a statement. “This policy means everyone in the Canadian government must understand and respect our unique Inuvialuit identity and work directly to support our people.”
In a statement, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the policy will help ensure Inuit priorities and self-determination are included in federal programs, policies and initiatives.
“Inuit have unique rights, interests, and experiences,” he said. “This is an important step on the long journey toward reconciliation and we will continue to work together to deliver lasting and meaningful solutions to the issues facing communities across Inuit Nunangat.”
The federal government has committed $25 million over five years to implement the policy.