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GN in dispute with feds over Manitoba Dene land claim

Some Nunavummiut are worried about the impact of a Manitoba Dene land claim that may extend into the Kivalliq region, MLA John Main said Monday, and Premier Joe Savikataaq admitted that the GN has little say in the matter currently.

Arviat North-Whale Cove MLA John Main: Some Kivalliqmiut are concerned about future land access and hunting rights in their region in light of ongoing Manitoba Dene land claim negotiations that could extend beyond the Nunavut boundary.

Residents are wondering what land access and hunting rights they will still have after the Manitoba Dene land claim is concluded, said Main, MLA for Arviat North-Whale Cove, who noted that areas close to the communities he represents could be affected.

Savikiataaq said the GN has been relegated to observer status despite asserting that it should be a full signatory party to the land claim deal.

"We do get updates on it and right now we are having a disagreement because the federal government believes that we do not have to be a signatory to the agreement as part of the negotiation process. The federal government believes that we can sign under them and we believe that the Government of Nunavut has to sign on their own as a party to the agreement because this agreement will affect the Government of Nunavut and Nunavummiut in many ways," the premier said.

"This agreement will affect the land resources, the water resources, the wildlife resources, and it may and probably will affect the financial obligations that the Government of Nunavut has. We are keenly interested. We support the Dene in their land claims effort. We support that they should have a good agreement, but we also believe that we have to be a signatory to the party and this agreement should not be shoved down the Nunavummiut’s throat at the cost of the Nunavut government," said Savikataaq.