Introduction From the moment of organized European appearances in North America, negotiation has been a central characteristic of relationships between aboriginal residents and newcomers. It is a characteristic that has been evident in treaty-making throughout Canada for more than three hundred years and it continues to be the order of the day in modern treaties, claims and agreements being negotiated with First Nations, Inuit, and M'eris across in Canada. 1 One of the central issues in the negotiations over the past three decades has been the question of aboriginal self-government, which has taken second place only to comprehensive land claims negotiations in areas where no treaties have been signed to date. VIEWS OF ABORIGINAL SELF-GOVERNMENT Numerous federal reports have stated that hope of a renewed relationship between aboriginal and non-aboriginal peoples in Canada lies in aboriginal self-government (e. g.
, Canada, 1984; INAC, 1997; RCAP, 1996). The contemporary ideal of aboriginal self-government has been described by many as parity between aboriginal, provincial and federal powers, a far cry from the kinds of colonial controls governments have exhibited. 2 The usual sentiment is that colonial controls and the resulting abuse governments have heaped on aboriginal people for more than a century must be rejected. The movement toward aboriginal self-government is intended to provide greater aboriginal autonomy in relation to financial and legislative authority. Self-government also is not necessarily represented by universally criteria.
The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples has said 'It lies with each group to determine the character and timing of any moves to enhance its own autonomy.' (RCAP, 1993: 41) Perhaps the more commonly held vision of self-government is described by Geoffrey York (1989: 269) who puts great store in more involvement by aboriginal peoples in decision-making processes that affect them:' Cultural revival among aboriginal people is just one step toward regaining what has been lost. Self-government is the other key to the future of native people. When they are permitted to gain influence over the central institutions in their communities - the schools, the justice system, the child welfare system - Indian and M'eris people have already demonstrated that they can repair the damage caused by centuries of racism and neglect.' Today federal and provincial government approaches attempt to find ways for aboriginal peoples to have more involvement in decisions that affect their destinies, involvement that is usually subservient, however, to current provincial and federal authorities. Among academics, political leaders, and government representatives differences of opinion and concern abound: differences about the most beneficial structure of self-government, about who controls what, about when self-government should be implemented, about whether or not a true form self-government can ever be achieved. Those who are critical of current forms of aboriginal self-government view them as little more than convenient arrangements that allow aboriginal people administrative responsibility for services which are ultimately controlled by the federal or provincial government.
3 They argue that self-government is essentially glorified municipal government; arrangements which are far from the ideal of a third level of government equal in legislative and financial authority to the federal and provincial governments. 4 Self-government proposals also have their critics among the very people for whom it is intended. For example, Inuit women have objected to many parts of the Nunavut agreement mainly because of concerns about an emphasis on conventional southern Canadian notions of resource management. They also had concerns and about an emphasis on the economic, social and political roles and issues for men at the expense of those of women in Nunavut (Inuit Womeno / ooh Association, 1993). In Alberta, the M'eris of the Paddle Prairie Settlement in Northern Alberta managed to threaten the negotiation of governance restructuring.
On November 14, 1989, the Paddle Prairie Settlement Council, whose land was among the most oil rich of all the Settlements, indicated it would leave the negotiation. This was because the Council felt, among other things, that land ownership should remain with individual Settlements and not, as was indicated in the agreement, with a General Council which would administer all eight Settlements (Windspeaker, 1989). I would like to look briefly at the Alberta M'eris Settlements Accords and agreements of the late 1980 s and then turn to Nunavut. Although there are differences between these two contemporary forms of self-government the similarities between them are striking.
Both sets of negotiation with government began in the mid-1970 s and ended in the early 1990 s. The new governance structures of the Settlements and the Nunavut government are circumscribed by more than one piece of legislation. Both sets of negotiation used referenda to seek the approval of residents of the area. Both agreements are being implemented using transition commissions. Both agreements involved the distribution of financial compensation over extended periods of time.
Both set aside aboriginal owned lands, which are constitutionally protected. Both agreements were negotiated under the threat of legal action. Both claims were for outright land and resource ownership, and demanded compensation for loss of land and resource revenues. One major difference between these two forms of aboriginal self-government is that the Alberta M'eris Settlements Councils are clear examples of ethnic governments that are elected and operated by members of a particular ethnic group. Nunavut, on the other hand, is an example of a public government in which anyone who meets residence requirements, regardless of ethnicity, can participate in the election of the government. M'ETIS SETTLEMENTS: THE PROVINCIAL EXAMPLE The M'eris Settlements Accord led to Royal Assent of 4 pieces of Alberta legislation in November, 1990.
These established land ownership rights (fee simple ownership of 1. 28 million acres) and a reorganized form of governance for the M'eris of the eight Alberta Settlements. The Alberta government agreed to pay $310 Million over 17 years. A Transition Commission, membership tribunal, a revenue trust fund, and other working groups, with provincial government and Settlement representatives, were established to assist in implementation and maintenance. 5 The final agreements were driven by land claims disputes of the 1970 s. During this time the Federation of M'eris Settlements sued the provincial government for misappropriated resource revenues.
After the implementation of the agreements the suit was 'stayed' and will not be reactivated unless there are significant changes to the agreements that negatively affect M'eris land ownership. The Management Model The management model used to structure the renewed form of M'eris Settlement governance fits well with contemporary government management rhetoric the central features of which are accountability, responsiveness, co-operative management, local responsibility, flexibility, self-reliance, cost effectiveness and efficiency. These features are described in the book Reinventing Government by Osborne and Gaebler (1992). 6 Peter Lougheed, the Alberta Premier who began these negotiations to restructure the relationship between the province and one group of M'eris in Alberta, wanted a made-in-Alberta solution to aboriginal self-reliance.
7 'Resolution 18', which Lougheed introduced in the provincial legislature in 1982, was a commitment made by the government that led to the M'eris Settlements Accord. 8 Currently, the M'eris in Alberta operate their Settlements much like municipal governments: a General Council is responsible for eight Settlements, each of which has its own local council. As with municipal councils, the M'eris Settlements are ultimately responsible to a Minister of the Crown. The very basic advisory role for the M'eris suggested in the 1936 Ewing Commission Report has evolved into municipal style governance today, although the responsibility of the provincial Minister has not changed. 9 There are some who argue that the current relationship between the Alberta government and the M'eris Settlements has changed fundamentally from pre-1990 relations and is as close to the ideal of self-government as can be expected.
Bell (1994: 83) seems to feel this way with her insistence that: 'The M'eris settlements legislation represents a significant accomplishment in the resolution of historical grievances... .' Recent changes to the legislative regime have set the stage for structural changes within the Settlements, which in turn may result in more participation in decision-making by Settlement residents. The Aboriginal Affairs Branch of the provincial government and the Settlements now are working more closely together than ever before: both are represented on the Transition Commission, on the membership tribunal and elsewhere. Thus, there continues to be significant opportunity for provincial involvement and influence in the running of the M'eris Settlements. In the final analysis, financing of the settlements (housing, roads, social services, job training and so on) is still very much dependent on the provincial government; as well, the development and implementation of legislation that restructured land ownership and governance have been dependent on the goodwill of government. Some significant changes in the relationship from the pre-1990 period have taken place: land ownership has been secured, revenue sources have been adjusted, and decision-making involvement has been refined, clarified and expanded at the Settlement level.
NUNAVUT: THE FEDERAL EXAMPLE With the introduction of land claims policies of the Federal government and the Trudeau government acceptance of the notions of aboriginal rights, following the Nis gao / oo a Case of 1973, Canadian comprehensive land claims began in earnest. 10 Since then, specific and comprehensive claims have piled up on the federal doorstep by the hundreds. One of these claims was the 1976 Inuit claim over eastern Arctic lands. That claim / ooh settlement resulted in Nunavut, Canada's third Territory stretching from Hudson Bay to the northernmost parts of Ellesmere Island.
Under the terms of the settlement, the government of Nunavut will have powers like those of other Territorial governments, established and maintained in the context of a very close working relationship with the Federal government in Ottawa. (see the adjacent map on page? ). The signing of the Nunavut agreement took place on May 25, 1993 and The Nunavut Land Claims Agreement Act S. C. 1993, c. 29 was given Royal Assent on June 10, 1993.
11 This agreement not only settled the comprehensive land claim to the eastern Arctic but enabled the establishment of the new territory of Nunavut as well. A separate political accord establishes the actual Territory of Nunavut that, as mentioned earlier, has a public government (as different from an ethnic, exclusively Inuit government).' The concept of Nunavut has been part and parcel of the Inuit land claim ever since they first put (it) forward... .' notes Donald Purich (1992: 9). He goes on to say that since 1976 'the Inuit position has always been that before they sign (ed) a land claims agreement they must have a guarantee that Nunavut...
be created.' The creation of the government of Nunavut and the land claims settlement associated with it are the result of the largest of Canada / ooh modern treaties. After public referenda supported the establishment of Nunavut, the federal government agreed to a compensation package of $1. 14 Billion to be paid out over 14 years, as well as Inuit ownership of approximately 350, 000 square kilometres of land, 36, 000 square kilometres of which include mineral rights. The RCAP (1996) states: 'Article 19 of the agreement lays out Inuit rights to land within the new public territory... Inuit-owned lands will take one of two forms: fee simple including surface and subsurface rights, and fee simple excluding surface and subsurface rights...
Title will be owned collectively and vested in a designated Inuit organization (DIO), which is either Tungavik or a designated regional Inuit organization. Inuit title can be transferred only to another DIO, or in the case of land within a municipality, to Canada, the territorial government or a municipal corporation.' The settlement stipulates that Inuit (Nunavut Tungavik, Inc. ) will participate with the federal government in controlling land-use planning, wildlife harvesting, off-shore resources and environmental protection. Nunavut does represent a unique form of aboriginal self-government. Titus Allooloo a member of the NWT Legislative Assembly said on October 31, 1989: 'We dream of making laws and policies which truly reflect the needs and conditions of Nunavut Territory... .' and, of course, the Inuit.
There is at least one major contradiction contained this ideal state: even though Nunavut has a public government, it is seen by many, Inuit and commentators such as Purich (1993) alike, as the 'homeland' of the Inuit - a very ethnic notion. ISSUES CONTINUED There are a number of the other problems associated with the development of the land claim treaty and Nunavut developed. One problem which has been a sticking point during negotiations of this and other land claims is the demand by the federal government that aboriginal (Inuit, in this case) title to the land be extinguished in return for a signed treaty and compensation. The concern of aboriginal groups is that those who sign modern treaties may be giving up more than they bargained for by relinquishing their aboriginal title to the land, title that obtains as a result of historical use and occupancy.
A second problem is that the Inuit claim area appeared to encroach on the Quebec and Labrador land claims of the In nu and the Inuit as well as on the Dene-M'eris claims in the NWT. Overlapping claims are nothing new, however, and were clearly not reason enough to deny settlement. 12 At the time of writing these were continuing to be discussed and negotiated. A third problem is that the public government of Nunavut will represent all Nunavut voters and residents, not only the Inuit. The concern raised by Dacks (1986) is that as the non-Inuit population increases Inuit influence likely will be reduced. There are some minor safeguards to protect Inuit influence within the government of Nunavut: Inuktitut will be an official language of government, and the agreement demands proportional representation of staff in government departments.
A fourth potential problem is the fragmentation of the aboriginal voice in the north, a consequence of the separation of Nunavut from NWT. However, aboriginal groups have not necessarily spoken with a single united voice in the past and it is possible that Nunavut could strengthen the Inuit voice by giving it the support of a territorial government. There is al so the question of Nunavut government authority over lands and resources. Ownership of Nunavut lands and resources does not necessarily lie with the Nunavut government but is in the hands of the Nunavut Tungavik Inc. (Inuit owned lands at 18 percent) and the federal government (Crown lands at 82 percent). As a result, co-management boards, which represent the corporate perspectives of the Nunavut Tungavik Inc.
and the federal government, are responsible for land management and development. Conflicts are very likely to occur when co-management board decisions are not in line with those of the Nunavut government, which represents a different constituency: individual Inuit and non-Inuit residents. Another issue is whether the Inuit are properly prepared to take control of government decision-making roles. In order to address this concern, the Nunavut Unified Human Resources Development Strategy, part of the Nunavut implementation plan, has attempted to design policy and strategy to build Inuit management capacity, that is, to train Inuit for the management and administrative roles in the government of Nunavut and in Inuit organizations.
The Inuit Womeno / ooh Association (Inuit Womeno / ooh Association, 1993) in particular has suggested that the economic development model promoted in the agreements is more in tune with conventional southern approaches to the exploitation of non-renewable resources and, consequently, Inuit benefits may be limited. For example, women's work may not be recognized or compensated, as is that of men. Also, there appears to be no guarantee that women will receive equal representation on boards or commissions and, as a result, there may be no guarantee the government of Nunavut will represent Inuit women's perspectives on social, political, economic, community, family or cultural development. Although there may well be income support programs for men whose livelihood, hunting, is interrupted, the Inuit Womeno / ooh Association has stated that no such programs for the interruption of women's labour in the harvest are expected.
Finally, there are concerns that the Territorial status of Nunavut leaves much to be desired in relation to the question of the autonomy of the government of Nunavut. Indeed, many questions and concerns may be raised about the strong influence of the federal government through its involvement in co-management boards, land ownership and financial compensation. Whether these and other concerns can be satisfactorily addressed will take time, patience and clear, objective analysis. Resolutions to issues will require also the political goodwill of both Inuit leaders and the federal government in the years ahead.
CHANGING RELATIONSHIPS Nunavut is a political fact but its essence, which involves the complex set of relationships between the people of Nunavut and the federal government, continues to evolve. The Nunavut development timeline at the end of the chapter illustrates the long history of relations between the NWT, the Inuit and the federal government, and suggests that these relationships will continue, develop and change over time. Relationships between aboriginal peoples around the world and the governments that administer their affairs are often characterized as 'internal colonial' and highly problematic. Some co-incident central elements of these difficult relationships are: 1. One ethnic group or coalition rules the affairs of others living within the state, 2. Territorial separation of the subordinate ethnic groups in 'homelands', 'native reserves', and the like, 3.
Land tenure rights different from those of members of the dominant group, 4. An internal government within a government especially created to rule the subject groups, 5. Unique legal status in which the subject group and its members are considered to have a corporate status that takes precedence over their individual status. Members of the ruling ethnic groups are considered individuals in the eyes of the state, 6. 'Relations of economic inequality in which subject peoples are relegated to positions of dependency and inferiority in the division of labour and the relations of production.' 13 The question then is this: Has the treaty between the federal government of Canada and the Inuit substantially altered their historical association? Taking guidance from the points above to analyze the association between the federal government and the Inuit, the first indicator of contemporary relations is that while the Inuit have negotiated willingly with the federal government, that negotiation has occurred within a context defined by the federal government and the courts.
This fact represents significant control by a 'coalition of ethnic groups' (non-Inuit) over a subordinate group (Inuit) and suggests that internal colonialism may continue to exist. Alone, this fact is not a powerful indicator of a state of 'internal colonialism' for the Inuit of Nunavut; however, when it is combined with the other indicators discussed immediately below, it can be a strong supporting statement about the existence of a colonial relation. A second key element of the contemporary relationship is that Inuit lands are segregated from those of the dominant group and they are indeed considered 'homelands.' This according to the criteria listed above is another indicator of a colonial relationship. A third part of the relationship is that Inuit land ownership remains different from the land tenure rights of other Canadians. Instead of land being held in trust by the federal government as it has for First Nations, land is owned outright by the Inuit collectively - not individually.
That is, fee simple ownership of land vests with corporations in the name of the Inuit. Land can also be expropriated by appropriate authorities, after negotiation, and compensation. In this respect, at least, land tenure is somewhat similar to that of other corporations. The different treatment of aboriginal peoples in Canada regarding their collective land tenure rights may not be a negative situation when considered on its own.
Supernault (1988) and others have suggested that aboriginal people prefer to be treated collectively rather that individually since the group is paramount to aboriginal identity. On the one hand, while this may appear to be reason enough for the different treatment of aboriginal peoples, it can be argued that such treatment is another essential part of a colonial relationship. On the other hand, collective ownership of land and resources may be beginning to provide considerable economic clout for aboriginal corporate bodies. In this sense, collective aboriginal ownership of land could be providing considerable economic benefit. 14 In the meantime, there are those who nonetheless continue to see little economic benefit coming their way. A fourth concern about the relationship between the Inuit and the federal government is that there is at least one government within a government for the Inuit.
The government of Nunavut and INAC will mediate Inuit relations with the federal government which is the final arbiter in a legislative sense. The federal government is also the major financial contributor to the government of Nunavut although there will be funds going directly to Inuit organizations from resource revenues and other forms of economic development. The final element of the relationship is that as a result of the historical relationship between the Inuit and Canada, Inuit remain among the poorest of Canadians. There remains the hope that the new relationship will alter this situation substantially but little change has taken place thus far. Here we see clearly that there are 'Relations of economic inequality in which subject peoples (the Inuit in this case) are relegated to positions of dependency and inferiority.' As the last element of an internal colonial relationship, this fact is another strong indicator of the existence of a potential colonial relationship between the Inuit and the federal government. In summary, the contemporary relationship between the federal government and the Inuit of Nunavut matches fairly closely the central elements of a highly problematic internal colonial situation: 1.
In Canada, one coalition of ethnic groups (non-Inuit) has considerable influence over the affairs of the Inuit. 2. There is the territorial separation of the Inuit in 'homelands'. 3. Land tenure rights different from those of members of the dominant group. 4.
There are internal governments within a government especially created to deal with Inuit: Indian and Northern Affairs, Canada and the government of Nunavut mediate relations between Inuit and the federal government. 5. There is a unique legal status in which Inuit are considered to have a corporate status that takes precedence over their individual status. Members of the ruling ethnic groups are considered individuals in the eyes of the state. 6. And finally, there exist relations of economic inequality in which Inuit are relegated to positions of dependency and inferiority.
In the final analysis both the Nunavut government and Inuit organizations are in the position of having to defer to federal influences because the federal government is supported by legislation and its financial. Changes have been made to the relationship between the Inuit and Canada. Land ownership is more certain, decision-making influence may have increased, but it remains to be seen whether or not these changes are substantial and lead to a significant reversal of the historical internal colonial relationship. CONCLUSION Legare (1996: 160) puts one element of the federal government's influence over Inuit decision-making this way:' According to section 5.
3 of the agreement, only the governor-in-council or the Minister of DI AND could veto decisions coming from co-management boards. But they could do so only if a regulation put forward by a public board contradicts some of the articles contained in the final land claims agreement. Thus, the Minister's veto is highly unlikely because he would then contradict the decisions of its own board-member representatives and would politically antagonize the Inuit.' Even with recent changes to administrative and legal frameworks, aboriginal peoples in Canada continue to live in closely watched (supervised) relationships with federal and provincial governments. The locus of authority to implement the legal regimes necessary for these forms of aboriginal self-government continue to rest in the hands of the federal and provincial governments. In most situations where aboriginal self-government is being implemented, federal and provincial governments continue to exert strong influences and can constrain aboriginal decision-making through legislative and economic means. However, it is important to note that within the constraining financial and legal boundaries set by the federal and provincial governments, in domains such as human resources policy, education policy or social policy, aboriginal decision-making may be relatively unencumbered.
The main question addressed in this chapter is whether the recent implementation of aboriginal self-government involving the M'eris of Alberta and the Inuit of Nunavut, represents a fundamentally different relationship between aboriginal peoples and the federal and provincial governments. We can see the governance structures for the M'eris Settlements in Alberta are not really new. They are old structures infused with contemporary management notions and practices. Although there are some important differences in the structure and process of aboriginal self-government evident in the establishment of Nunavut, it nonetheless appears that the recent changes in the relationship between the federal government and the Inuit have not been substantial: many elements of that historical and problematic relationship are still evident. REFERENCES Bell, C.
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