Canku Ota Logo

Canku Ota

Canku Ota Logo

(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


April 19, 2003 - Issue 85


pictograph divider


New Wildlife Bill built on Inuktitut Principles
Tenets of Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit would guide application of proposed law

by JIM BELL - Nunatsiaq News
credits: photo - Sustainable Development Minister Olayuk Akesuk introduced Nunavut’s proposed new wildlife bill in the legislative assembly last week. Courtesy of Nunatsiaq News

Sustainable Development Minister Olayuk Akesuk introduced Nunavut’s proposed new wildlife bill in the legislative assembly last week.Nunavut’s proposed new wildlife act, Bill 35, builds on a solid Inuit base, encoding a set of Inuktitut concepts and principles to ensure the law is applied in ways that are consistent with Inuit culture.

That means Bill 35, which received first and second reading last Friday in the legislative assembly, is the first major Nunavut-made law to define Inuit cultural values within its text.

"The bill addresses wildlife management in a way that fully takes into account Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit. Inuit values and principles must be followed in a way that makes the bill especially relevant to Nunavummiut," a summary of the act states.

To that end, the bill contains a section entitled "Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit." It’s a list of 13 "guiding principles and concepts" that must be used when applying the new wildlife law.

Before writing the bill, the Government of Nunavut conducted a lengthy consultation exercise, which included meetings and visits to most communities.

"[W]e are very pleased that we consulted with Inuit and by working with them while we were doing the consultation tours on wildlife," Sustainable Development Minister Olayuk Akesuk said when introducing the bill for first reading last week.

Although the legal version of the new wildlife law is written in English, it lists numerous Inuktitut words — giving legal weight to the Inuktitut concepts those words represent.

For example, the word Aajiiqatigiingniq is defined as "people who wish to resolve important matters or differences of interest must treat each other with respect and discuss them in a meaningful way, keeping in mind that just because a person is silent, it does not necessarily mean he or she agrees."

The bill then says Aajiiqatigiingniq must be followed when meetings, discussions or consultations take place under the new wildlife act.

Another example is Avatimik Kamattiarniq, which is defined as "people are stewards of the environment and must treat all of nature holistically and with respect."

The bill then says that the GN, the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board, regional wildlife organizations, HTOs, conservation officers, and every person who harvests wildlife must use their best efforts to follow Avatimik Kamattiarniq.

The bill lists 11 other Inuktitut concepts that must be used to interpret the act and guide the work of government, various non-governmental organizations, and conservation officers.

Nunavut’s current wildlife law, inherited from the Northwest Territories, is badly outdated.

In creating a replacement for it, the GN would meet one of its obligations under the land claims agreement. The bill also reflects newer federal laws and international treaties that have come into force since the current wildlife act was created in the early 1970s.

Those new treaties and laws include the Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards, the International Convention on Biodiversity and the federal government’s new Species at Risk Act.

The bill would create a Nunavut Species at Risk Committee that would advise the NWMB on what species should be protected. The GN would have the power to enforce NWMB decisions on the management of endangered species.

In accordance with the land claims agreement, the act states that any Inuk may hunt without a licence, and does not have to pay a fee or tax.

Where there is no quota established, harvesting may not exceed "the full level of the Inuk’s economic, social and cultural needs."

Where there is a quota, or "total allowable harvest," harvesting may not exceed his or her adjusted basic needs level.

The term "adjusted basic needs level" means the amount harvested from any given species, as calculated within the Nunavut wildlife harvesting survey conducted by the NWMB.

The NWMB is still fine-tuning those levels in consultation with community hunters and trappers organizations across Nunavut. Once they’re set, those "adjusted basic needs level" numbers will be used to guide all future quota decisions, where quotas are deemed necessary.

Bill 35 would allow live animals to be exported from Nunavut, but only on a case-by-case basis, and only after the issuance of a permit.

Penalties for violating the wildlife law would be much stiffer than they are now. Under the current wildlife act, the maximum penalty for a general violation is a $1,000 fine and/or a year in jail.

But under the new law, individuals convicted on wildlife act charges would be subject to a $500,000 fine and/or six months in jail, and corporations could be fined up to a million dollars.

Where an offence takes place over several days, courts could impose such fines for each day an offence took place.

he bill also contains words intended to protect wildlife habitat and to create "special management areas" and "administrative areas."

But no future territorial wildlife sanctuaries and wildlife preserves would be created, although existing ones would be continued.

The act also sets out basic minimum rules for the kinds of methods and weapons that may be used for hunting, but more detailed rules will be produced later in regulations attached to the act.

Nunavut, Canada Map

Maps by Travel

pictograph divider

Home PageFront PageArchivesOur AwardsAbout Us

Kid's PageColoring BookCool LinksGuest BookEmail Us


pictograph divider

  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.

Canku Ota Logo   Canku Ota Logo

The "Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America" web site and its design is the

Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 of Paul C. Barry.

All Rights Reserved.

Site Meter
Thank You

Valid HTML 4.01!