Nunavut Turns 25

Nunavut Turns 25

By Angela Fiebelkorn, VP Communications
MGS Writing Club SIG
Member #5795

Historic events had a great impact on our ancestors.  Knowing our history and how our ancestor’s lived through that history is often the backdrop to how we tell our family stories.  For those ancestors we did not know personally, speaking of their lives through the lens of the political, social, and economic times is a viable way to tell their story.

Sometimes, it is just great to celebrate Canadian historic milestones.


The flag of Nunavut was officially adopted on April 1, 1999. The colours, blue and gold, symbolize the riches of the land, sea and sky. Red is a reference to Canada. The inuksuk (centered) symbolizes stone monuments which guide people on the land, and also marks sacred and other special places. The star is the Niqirtsuituq (North Star), and the traditional guide for navigation. The North Star is also symbolic of the leadership of the elders in the community. The flag of Nunavut was designed by Andrew Qappik from Pangnirtung. SOURCE:

On April 1, 1999, Nunavut separated from the Northwest Territories and became a self-governing territory.  It’s been 25 years!  The Eastern Arctic has long been inaccessible by road, and images of barren lands dotted with Inuksuk’s to mark the “trail” from one place to another for intrepid travelers is typical.

1963- The federal House of Commons was introduced to the idea of splitting the Northwest Territoies into two territories.

1971 – The Inuit Tapirisat of Canada (ITC) was formed with the responsibility to pursue and negotiate a land claims agreement with the federal government for the Inuit of Northern Canada.

1973- The Inuit Tapirisat of Canada (ITC) began a study of Inuit land use and occupancy, which formed the geographic basis for the new territory. Three years later, ITC formally proposed the creation of a Nunavut Territory.

1982 – The Tungavik Federation of Nunavut (TFN) was incorporated to pursue land claims negotiations on behalf of the Inuit of Nunavut, taking the mandate from the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada. In a boundary plebiscite, 56% of voters in the Northwest Territories voted in favour of creating Nunavut on April 14, 1982 and in November of that year, the Canadian government announced that Nunavut would be created.

1992 – On May 14, 1992, the majority of N.W.T. residents voted in favour of the proposed boundary between Nunavut and the Western Arctic. The Inuit of Nunavut ratified the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement in November of 1992.

1993 – On May 25, 1993, in Iqaluit, the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement was signed by the Prime Minister of Canada, and was passed in the Canadian Parliament the next month.

1993 – The Nunavut Land Claims Settlement Agreement was celebrated at a special ceremony on July 9, 1993.  It is this day that is celebrated as Nunavut Day.

Canada - Nunavut (Iqaluit) - Jeopardy

Opus Penguin, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Although I have never been to Nunavut, I have lived for a decade in the Northwest Territories.  Aside from the vast open spaces, sparse population, and spectacular nature that has to be seen to be believed, the thing that struck me as most interesting was that these two territories function on a consensus government.  No political parties.  All political candidates are independent and are voted on by their merit as individuals.  Although majority rules in the north, the “southern” way of political attacks and party vs party does not exist.  They work together to do the best they can for their territory and to meet the needs of the people.  Click to learn more about Canada’s Consensus Government.


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