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Anthem: Labradorimiut[1]
Nunatsiavut's location in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
Nunatsiavut's location in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
Coordinates: 59°39′36″N 64°16′25″W / 59.66000°N 64.27361°W / 59.66000; -64.27361Coordinates: 59°39′36″N 64°16′25″W / 59.66000°N 64.27361°W / 59.66000; -64.27361
ProvinceNewfoundland and Labrador
CreatedJune 23, 2005
CapitalHopedale (legislative)
Nain (administrative)
 • TypeConsensus government within the parliamentary system of Canada
 • BodyNunatsiavut Assembly (Nunatsiavut katimajitsuangit)
 • PresidentJohannes Lampe (since 2016)
 • First MinisterTony Andersen (since 2019)
 • MHALela Evans (since 2019)
 • MPYvonne Jones (since 2013)
 • Total72,520 km2 (28,000 sq mi)
 • Officially15,800 km2 (6,100 sq mi)
 • Total2,558
 • Density0.03/km2 (0.08/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC−04:00 (AST)
Postal code prefix
ISO 3166 codeNL
Federal ridingLabrador (electoral district)
Provincial ridingTorngat Mountains (electoral district)

Nunatsiavut (/nˈnɑːtsiəvʊt/; Inuktitut: ᓄᓇᑦᓯᐊᕗᑦ) is an autonomous area claimed by the Inuit in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. The settlement area includes territory in Labrador extending to the Quebec border. In 2002, the Labrador Inuit Association submitted a proposal for limited autonomy to the government of Newfoundland and Labrador. The constitution was ratified on December 1, 2005, at which time the Labrador Inuit Association ceased to exist, and the new Government of Nunatsiavut was established, initially being responsible for health, education and cultural affairs. It is also responsible for setting and conducting elections, the first of which was executed in October 2006. An election for the ordinary members of the Nunatsiavut Assembly was held on May 4, 2010.[2] The Nunatsiavut Assembly was dissolved on April 6 in preparation for the election.[3] Its incumbent president is Johannes Lampe who assumed office in 2016.

In Inuttitut/Inuktitut, Nunatsiavut means "Our Beautiful Land". This name was ratified by the Labrador Inuit Constitution and passed by the Labrador Inuit Association in 2002. A primary objective of autonomy is for the preservation of the Inuit culture and language, as well as the environment through environmental stewardship.

Nunatsiavut is counted in the census as Division 11.


The Labrador Inuit Association had filed a land claim for portions of Labradorian land in 1977.[4] In 1988, the Labrador Inuit Association, the government of the province of Newfoundland, and the government of Canada began negotiations based on the land claim.[5] An agreement-in-principle was achieved in 2001, and on May 26, 2004, the agreement was ratified by over 75% of eligible voters subject to the land claim.[5]

On January 22, 2005, the Inuit of Nunatsiavut signed the Labrador Inuit Lands Claims Agreement[6] with the federal and provincial governments covering 72,520 km2 (28,000 sq mi) of land,[4] including the entire northern salient of Labrador north of Nain as well as a portion of the Atlantic coast south of there. The agreement also includes 44,030 km2 (17,000 sq mi) of sea rights.[4] Although the Inuit will not own the whole area, they were granted special rights related to traditional land use, and they will own 15,800 km2 (6,100 sq mi) designated Labrador Inuit Lands.[4] The agreement also establishes the Torngat Mountains National Park in the northern area of the land claim.

The Labrador Inuit Lands Claims Agreement is a treaty between the Inuit of Labrador, the provincial government of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the federal government of Canada, that is constitutionally protected under the aboriginal and treaty rights of Indigenous peoples in Canada granted by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.[6]

The self-governance agreement included a transfer of $130 million from the federal government in compensation for the forced relocation of the Inuit in the 1950s;[7] $120 million to establish self-government; royalty payments from the provincial government for resource extraction; and land, mineral, and marine rights.[8] Unspecified benefits for Inuit in Labrador not within the settlement area were also part of the agreement.[4]

The agreement was ratified by the Labrador Inuit, the General Assembly of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Parliament of Canada, where it received Royal Assent on June 23, 2005.[9]

On December 1, 2005, the constitution was formally adopted, and a swearing-in ceremony was held for the first cabinet,[10] an interim government which consisted of members of the Labrador Inuit Association board of directors.[10] This day marked the official transfer of power from the provincial government to the newly formed Government of Nunatsiavut "to make their own laws relating to cultural affairs, education and health".[11]

In October 2006, Nunatsiavut held its first election to form a nine-member government, which was sworn in on October 16 in Hopedale.[12]

In 2019, there were 150 Inuit children in the care of the Department of Children, Seniors, and Social Development. An independent review, A Long Wait for Change, was completed by the province's Child and Youth Advocate at the request of the Nunatsiavut government and released in 2019. It contained 33 recommendations, including providing the support needed to transition to an Inuit-led child welfare system in Nunatsiavut.[13]

On June 18, 2021, Nunatsiavut stated that it had begun the process of seeking devolution of child protection services from Department of Children, Seniors, and Social Development with the goal for negotiations to conclude within three years.[14][15][16]

Nunatsiavut Assembly and Executive Council[edit]

The land claim agreement provided for the establishment of the Government of Nunatsiavut to represent the residents of the land claim area and any Labrador Inuit living elsewhere in Canada. Nunatsiavut remained a part of Newfoundland and Labrador, but the Government of Nunatsiavut acquired the jurisdictional authority over health, education, and justice in the land claim area. Nunatsiavut operates under a consensus government within the parliamentary system of Canada.

The legislature of the government is based in Hopedale, and its administrative centre is in Nain. It is subject to the Nunatsiavut Elections Act. The Nunatsiavut Assembly consists of a minimum of 16 members, including:

  • a president, who chairs the Nunatsiavut Executive Council,[17]
  • ten ordinary members[17] (one each from Hopedale, Makkovik, Postville and Rigolet;[18] two each from Nain, the Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Northwest River and Mud Lake area, and all Inuit elsewhere in Canada)
  • the Angajukĸâk (mayor) of each of the five Inuit Community Governments (one each in Nain, Hopedale, Postville, Makkovik and Rigolet)
  • the Chairs of the Inuit Community Corporations.[17]

There are currently two Inuit Community Corporations, NunaKatiget Inuit Community Corporation and Sivunivut Inuit Community Corporation,[19] and 18 members in the Assembly.

From the Assembly, a member will be elected to act as First Minister. The Assembly would act as a forum for discussion of laws, and it will oversee the Executive Council.

The Nunatsiavut Executive Council will be appointed by the First Minister. It will implement laws, develop and implement policy, initiate and prepare legislation, oversee the administration of the government, and be accountable to the Assembly.

Inuit Community Governments were established in Nain, Hopedale, Makkovik, Postville and Rigolet. Each consists of a municipal council, elected from and by both Inuit and non-Inuit residents, and is led by an Angajukĸâk, a chief executive officer and mayor, who must be Inuk.

Large settlements of Labrador Inuit outside the settlement area will be represented by Inuit Community Corporations.

The Angajukĸâk of each Inuit Community Government and the chairperson of each Inuit Community Corporation will represent his or her community in the Nunatsiavut Assembly.


There are seven departments headed by six ministers with Nunatsiavut Secretariat headed by the President of the Executive Council.[20]

  • Department of Finance, Human Resources and Information Technology
  • Department of Education and Economic Development
  • Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism
  • Department of Health & Social Development
  • Department of Lands and Natural Resources
  • Department of Nunatsiavut Affairs
  • Nunatsiavut Secretariat

Government buildings[edit]

While each community has government facilities, there are two key sites:

Nunatsiavut Government Head Office is located at 25 Ikajuktauvik Road in Nain and houses the administrative functions of the Government of Nunatsivut.

The Nunatsiavut Assembly sits at Nunatsiavut Assembly Building in Hopedale. The building opened in 2012, faces Hopedale Harbour[21] and is the first permanent home since 2008 (previous assemblies met at various locations in Hopedale).


Saglek Fjord, Torngat Mountains National Park

Nunatsiavut's land claim includes the area surrounding Hamilton Inlet and the coastline north to a point south of Davis Inlet; the Mulligan River also forms part of the boundary. It also claims the land north of the Notakwanon River and as far north as Cape Chidley. Nunatsiavut is the southernmost recognized Inuit territory in Canada.

Nunatsiavut's territory consists of two geographic regions. The southern portion contains Rigolet, Makkovik, Postville and Hopedale and has a population of 1,433 (as of 2016).[22] The northern portion contains Nain as well as the Torngat Mountains National Park. Nunatsiavut is located near the Innu communities of Natuashish and Sheshatshiu as well as North West River, Happy Valley-Goose Bay and Cartwright. It is also near the Quebec settlements of Kuujjuaq and Kangiqsualujjuaq.


Land disputes[edit]

The Labrador Métis Nation (LMN) filed a challenge to Nunatsiavut's claim in the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador. The federal government has also suggested that the LMN join Nunatsiavut. The LMN's original land claim included all of Labrador south of Nain.[23]

The Makivik Corporation had their claim to the coast between Killiniq Island and Voisey's Bay accepted in 1993 and later asked the federal government not to ratify Nunatsiavut's claims since it overlapped with their claim.[24]

Census Division No. 11[edit]

Division No. 11
Coordinates: 55°04′39″N 59°11′17″W / 55.07750°N 59.18806°W / 55.07750; -59.18806
ProvinceNewfoundland and Labrador
 • Total69,371.46 km2 (26,784.47 sq mi)
 • Total2,558
 • Density0.037/km2 (0.096/sq mi)

In the 2021 Census of Population conducted by Statistics Canada, Division No. 11 had a population of 2,323 living in 780 of its 845 total private dwellings, a change of -9.2% from its 2016 population of 2,558. With a land area of 66,787.13 km2 (25,786.66 sq mi), it had a population density of 0.0/km2 (0.1/sq mi) in 2021.[26]

Unorganized subdivisions[edit]

  • Subdivision C
  • Subdivision E



Knowledge of official languages[edit]

Canada Census Knowledge of official languages - Nunatsiavut, Newfoundland and Labrador[27][25]
Census Total
French & English
Year Responses Count Pop % Count Pop % Count Pop % Count Pop %
2,525 98.8% 0 0% 20 0.8% 10 0.4%
2,335 98.94% 0 0.00% 10 0.42% 10 0.42%


According to the 2011 census, 98.73% of Nunatsiavut's residents identify as Christian. 11.25% identified as Anglican while 79.62% identified as "Other Christian" (most likely Moravian). 1.49% of Nunatsiavut's residents identified as having no religion.

Ethnic origin[edit]

According to the 2016 census, 91.8% of Nunatsiavut's residents are of Indigenous ancestry. Of the 2,350 Indigenous Canadians a total of 2,290 were Inuit, 35 were Métis and 25 were First Nations.[25]

Nunatsiavut grants enrollment to what it defines as two different ethnicities, Inuit and the Kablunângajuit (mixed Inuit-European).[28][29]

Top Ten Ethnic Origins for the Population in Division No. 11, Newfoundland and Labrador (Canada 2016 Census) [30]
Ethnic Origin Percentage of Population
Inuit 88.1%
English 12.9%
Canadian 7.4%
Norwegian 4.5%
Scottish 3.5%
French 2.7%
Irish 2.5%
First Nations (North American Indian) 2.5%
Métis 1.8%
German 1.2%
Newfoundlander 0.8%


According to the Nunatsiavut government,[31] somebody who is a Kablunângajuk (plural: Kablunângajuit) is "an individual who is given that designation according to Inuit customs and traditions". The Nunatsiavut government applies this designation to somebody who is either of mixed Inuit and non-Inuit descent or is not of Inuit descent but settled in what is now Nunatsiavut before 1940. Their ancestors were mainly fur traders from places such as Quebec, Scotland, Norway and elsewhere who often married Inuit.[32]

The term Kablunângajuk means "person who resembles a white person". They were historically called terms such as "settlers" or "half-breeds". It is also sometimes used to refer to the people of the unrecognized NunatuKavut region.[28]

The Kablunângajuit are usually counted as Inuit by Statistics Canada so their exact population is unknown. As Nunatsiavut beneficiaries, they have all the same privileges as Inuit beneficiaries in the region.


In the 2016 census, 29.9% of Nunatsiavut's population was unemployed.[25] The Voisey's Bay nickel mine is located about 35 km (22 mi) southwest of Nain.[33][34]


The MV Northern Ranger provided ferry service between Nunatsiavut's five communities as well as Natuashish, Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Cartwright and Black Tickle.[35] In 2019 the ferry was replaced by MV Kamutik W.[36][37] All five settlements also have airports with flights formerly provided by Air Labrador and now served by PAL Airlines.[38][39] No community in Nunatsiavut is road accessible; but there have been some proposals to connect Nunatsiavut to the Trans-Labrador Highway.[40][41]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Labrador Inuit Constitution" (PDF). House of Assembly Newfoundland and Labrador. Retrieved March 5, 2022.
  2. ^ "Nunatsiavut General Election". Government of Nunatsiavut. Archived from the original on April 8, 2010. Retrieved April 22, 2010.
  3. ^ "Nunatsiavut Assembly to be dissolved April 6" (Press release). Government of Nunatsiavut. March 18, 2010. Retrieved April 22, 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Labrador's Inuit cheer land agreement". CBC News. January 23, 2005. Archived from the original on January 20, 2007. Retrieved April 22, 2010.
  5. ^ a b "Nunatsiavut: Our beautiful land". CBC News Online. July 2, 2004. Archived from the original on August 11, 2013. Retrieved April 22, 2010.
  6. ^ a b "Land Claims". Department of Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. Archived from the original on May 11, 2010. Retrieved April 23, 2010.
  7. ^ "Relocated Labrador Inuit to get apology monument". July 24, 2009. Archived from the original on May 15, 2016.
  8. ^ "Labrador Inuit to sign self-government deal". CBC News. January 21, 2005. Archived from the original on November 6, 2012. Retrieved April 22, 2010.
  9. ^ "Labrador Inuit land claim passes last hurdle". CBC News. June 24, 2005. Archived from the original on March 21, 2007. Retrieved April 22, 2010.
  10. ^ a b "Labrador's 5,000 Inuit take charge of 'our beautiful land'". CBC News. December 1, 2005. Archived from the original on May 1, 2007. Retrieved April 22, 2010.
  11. ^ "Inuit celebrate self-government turnover". CBC News. December 1, 2005. Archived from the original on March 16, 2007. Retrieved April 22, 2010.
  12. ^ "Labrador Inuit vote for inaugural self-government". CBC News. October 3, 2006. Archived from the original on January 19, 2008. Retrieved April 22, 2010.
  13. ^ "Advocate delivers scathing review of protective services for Inuit children". September 4, 2019. Archived from the original on December 1, 2019.
  14. ^ "Nunatsiavut to Self-Govern Child Welfare Services in Labrador Inuit Communities".
  15. ^ "Nunatsiavut Government planning to take over child-welfare system for Labrador Inuit | SaltWire".
  16. ^ "Nunatsiavut Government planning to take control of child welfare services". June 18, 2021.
  17. ^ a b c "Assembly Structure". Nunatsiavut Assembly. Government of Nunatsiavut. Archived from the original on June 12, 2010. Retrieved April 22, 2010.
  18. ^ "Welcome to Rigolet". Town of Rigolet. Archived from the original on January 7, 2010. Retrieved June 4, 2010.
  19. ^ "Inuit Community Governance". Government of Nunatsiavut. Archived from the original on June 10, 2010. Retrieved April 22, 2010.
  20. ^ "Departments". Nunatsiavut Government. Retrieved October 13, 2019.
  21. ^ Fitzpatrick, Ashley (July 31, 2012). "Nunatsiavut building and rebuilding". NS Business Journal. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016.
  22. ^ "Population and dwelling counts, for Canada, provinces and territories, and census subdivisions (municipalities), 2016 and 2011 censuses – 100% data". Statistics Canada. February 8, 2017. Retrieved September 28, 2020.
  23. ^ Minogue, Sara (June 4, 2004). "Inuit, Métis at odds over Labrador land claim deal". Archived from the original on October 12, 2016.
  24. ^ Green, Julie. "Makivik Corporation wants court to stop Labrador land claims". Nunatsiaq News. Archived from the original on October 12, 2016.
  25. ^ a b c d e "Census Profile, 2016 Census: Division No. 11, Census division of Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador". Statistics Canada. February 8, 2017. Retrieved October 13, 2019.
  26. ^ "Population and dwelling counts: Canada and census divisions". Statistics Canada. February 9, 2022. Retrieved April 2, 2022.
  27. ^ "Census Profile - Division No. 11, Census division". Statistics Canada. Retrieved March 2, 2012.
  28. ^ a b Being and becoming Inuit in Labrador
  29. ^ Application to be Enrolled as a Beneficiary of the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement
  30. ^ "Census Profile, 2016 Census".
  31. ^ Chapter 3: Eligibility and Enrolment
  32. ^ History of European/White Settlement
  33. ^ "Voisey's Bay Mine Expansion". 2017. Retrieved May 20, 2021.
  34. ^ "Voisey's Bay underground development hits 10% completion". CBC News. August 28, 2019. Retrieved May 20, 2021.
  35. ^ "Intra-Provincial Ferry Services". Retrieved September 28, 2020.
  36. ^ Samson, Alyson (September 20, 2018). "Northern Ranger crew docking for good in December". CBC News. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
  37. ^ Careen, Evan (September 7, 2018). "New ferries for Labrador". The Telegram. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
  38. ^ Moore, Angel (April 5, 2020). "Indigenous leaders asking that access to Labrador be sealed off". APTN News. Retrieved October 16, 2020.
  39. ^ Churchill Duke, Laura (September 20, 2019). "Hopedale woman circulating petition calling for the province to subsidize flights to northern Labrador". Saltwire. Retrieved July 23, 2021.
  40. ^ "Inuit want road to northern Labrador". CBC News. July 29, 2009. Retrieved October 13, 2019.
  41. ^ Way, Robert (October 29, 2015). "Is a road to Labrador's north coast feasible?". The Independent. Retrieved October 13, 2019.

External links[edit]