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Statement by ITK president Natan Obed on the Government’s Announcement on the Implementation of Indigenous Rights

By February 14, 2018 No Comments

Nuuk, Greenland, February 14, 2018 — ITK welcomes the federal government’s commitment to developing a framework that implements Inuit rights. Inuit welcome all actions to ensure our rights, as affirmed in Section 35 of the Constitution and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, are upheld and implemented.

The right of Inuit to self-determination, most notably expressed through land claims agreements negotiated between Inuit and the Crown, are constitutionally protected frameworks that already recognize many Inuit rights. A significant challenge for Inuit is implementation of those recognized rights, consistent with the honour of the Crown.  In the implementation of today’s announcement, we expect that federal, provincial and territorial governments will work with Inuit through our representational organizations and democratic structures to ensure that our rights are upheld and our land claims agreements are fully implemented.

In addition to implementation of existing agreements, ongoing reconciliation and recognition of rights work with the Government of Canada requires systematic recognition and redress for outstanding human rights violations, which if left unaddressed will continue to be a stark departure from the stated intentions of this recognition and implementation of rights framework. The process of reconciling our past with our future means imagining a new relationship based on respect for Inuit as rights-holders – not as stakeholders – and respect for Inuit Nunangat as our homeland.

We are committed to working with the federal government and all Canadians to achieve a just and lasting reconciliation through this process.