Presentation to National Defence House of Commons Committee on the issue of Arctic Sovereignty | Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami
On Thursday October 1, 2009 Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami President Mary Simon presented to the the House of Commons Committee on National Defence. She requested the committee take into account that, âasserting Arctic Sovereignty in the Canadian Arctic must include Inuit.â The presentation, available here, argues that Inuit have been used to assert Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic historically, as in the case of the high Arctic relocation in the 1950s. Further, with the settlement of five comprehensive land claim agreements, since 1975, Inuit argue that these constitutionally protected treaties with the Crown contribute to Canadaâs assertion of sovereignty in the Canadian Arctic.
Among the six recommendations in the presentation, ITK President Simon suggested the creation of a joint Inuit-federal authority to oversee increasing ship traffic in the Northwest Passage in the Arctic.
The presentation also highlights the actions Inuit have taken to ensure Inuit rights across the circumpolar region are respected in domestic and international forums in discussions relating to Arctic Sovereignty. A Circumpolar Declaration on Sovereignty in the Arctic has been developed by the Inuit Circumpolar Council (ICC) to ensure Inuit rights are respected in this way. The declaration was highlighted in the presentation by Mary Simon at the House of Commons Committee. The Declaration is available here as a PDF document.