Administrating an Inuit village

In 1980, Inuit villages were managed much like other municipalities in Quebec. The Inuit never lived on reservations like many First Nations communities. Each Inuit community had its own village council formed of a mayor and councillors elected every two years. These councils had many responsibilities. They managed municipal services like access to water and the emptying of septic systems. They were also responsible for health care and social services, like aid for senior citizens. The council was assisted by other committees that were in charge of hunting and fishing, as well as health and education.

Protecting ancestral rights

In 1972, the Inuit created the Northern Quebec Inuit Association in order to have their right recognized. This association opposed the James Bay Hydroelectric project and negotiated an agreement with respect to this project in 1975. The James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement was signed between the Inuit people and representatives of the federal and provincial governments.

This agreement allowed the Inuit to own property in Nunavik, granted them hunting, fishing and trapping rights and provided them financial compensation. Since this time, the administration of the region of northern Quebec has been carried out by the Inuit in collaboration with both the Canadian and Quebec governments. Though this agreement gave the Inuit more autonomy, the Inuit people continued to negotiate with both levels of government. In 1989, the Nunavik Constitutional Committee was formed. The mandate of this committee was to develop an autonomous government proposition for Nunavik.

The Indian Act

The Indian Act does not affect the Inuit because they are considered equal to other citizens of Quebec. The Inuit have the same rights and responsibilities as all Canadians. They pay taxes on their revenue and sales tax on goods and services.

Police Force

In the 1980s, the provincial government looked after policing in Nunavik; la Surete du Quebec (S.Q) had several police stations in the region. When the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement was signed in 1975, large changes were made in Nunavik policing because Inuit had more control of law enforcement in their communities. Training programs for Indigenous officers were established. In 1996, the Kativik Regional Police Force (KRPF) was formed which gave more autonomy to the Inuit and Kativik Regional Government. KRPF now has police stations in all 14 Nunavik communities. The Kativik Regional Police Force trains and employs many Inuit officers from the Nunavik region to work in the communities.

Author:  Based on texts from the Récit de l’univers social.  Adapted and updated by LEARN, based on the KRPF Website.

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