MONTREAL — The Quebec government and the organization that officially represents Inuit in the province are reopening negotiations around self-government for the province’s Far North.
Pita Aatami, president of the Makivik Corporation, which represents Quebec’s Inuit in their dealings with the federal and provincial governments, says self-government is something his people have been dreaming of for 55 years.
Several rounds of negotiations between Quebec and the Inuit have taken place since the 1990s, and most recently a proposed self-government agreement was rejected by Inuit voters in a 2011 referendum.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault says he understands the desire for more autonomy, adding that the negotiations will take place on a nation-to-nation basis.
The vast majority of Nunavik, the largely Inuit region of Quebec north of the 55th parallel, is in the territory of the Kativik Regional Government, which provides municipal-level services but is under the jurisdiction of the provincial government.
Aatami says the Inuit want to work in partnership with Quebec, while having control over things like mineral exploration on their territory.
“We are a welcoming people, but we want to do this with you, instead of being told how you should conduct yourself, what you should be doing in your own home,” he said.