Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Inuit want say on renaming Northwest Passage

Inuit want say on renaming Northwest Passage


"... Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., the Inuit agency that oversees implementation of the land claims agreement that created Nunavut in 1999, has pointed to provisions of the deal that ensure Inuit input in "any review of place names that fall within the land and marine areas" of the territory — including "all the archipelagic waterways that have historically been linked to the concept of a Northwest Passage."

NTI president Paul Kaludjak, in an Oct. 14 letter addressed to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the three other federal party leaders, said the proposed name change should recognize "the reality of continuing Inuit use and occupation" of the sea routes through Canada's Arctic islands.

"NTI would be happy to work on a non-partisan and expedited basis with all four parties . . . the Inuit Heritage Trust and the Government of Nunavut," said Kaludjak, "to identify a process for naming the Northwest Passage that would respect the (land claims agreement), Inuit history and culture, and the contribution to Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic."

In an interview Tuesday, Kaludjak said the Northwest Passage "has an Inuktitut name already." He said the term "tallurugik," which refers to the distinctive seascape of the Arctic archipelago, has been understood for centuries to refer to the water route through the islands...."

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