On Tuesday June 5th we celebrated Inuvialuit Day... and the party in Inuvik was a fun one! June 5, 1984 is the date of the signing of the Inuvialuit Final Agreement with the federal government after 10 years of negotiations. This year marks the 28th anniversary. Celebrations were held in the six communities, but the biggest was in Inuvik.
It would be hard to over-emphasize the importance of the Final Agreement. It was the first comprehensive land claim agreement signed in the North (north of 60), and only the second ever in Canada at that time. Along with celebrating that significant milestone with a party, the Inuvialuit are committed to passing on the history to young people, to help them realize how hard the previous generations worked to protect their region.
Under the Final Agreement, the Inuvialuit gained legal control over 91,000 square kilometres of land, with subsurface rights to oil, gas and minerals. The Inuvialuit also established the right to hunt and harvest and secured the responsibility for ensuring good wildlife management.
To read more about the Inuvialuit (the Inuit of the Western Arctic), read this earlier post, or click here for wikipedia.
The celebration included an outdoor community feast and BBQ, along with live music, drum dancing, and prize draws. The weather was perfect -- warm, sunny, with a nice breeze and no bugs! An estimated 400 - 500 people came out to the party.