Description: The James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement (JBNQA), signed in 1975, marked a turning point in the history of Nunavik. It is considered the first modern land claims settlement in Canada.
Under this Agreement, the Inuit of Nunavik received compensation moneys, a land regime, and certain powers. The land regime provides for exclusive Inuit ownership over Category I lands and Inuit hunting, fishing, and trapping rights over Category II lands. The JBNQA also defines rights and obligations over other lands in Nunavik which are referred to as Category III lands. Moreover, the Agreement established a number of governmental institutions which have jurisdiction over all of Nunavik (roughly the top third of Quebec), including all 3 categories of land.
Makivik represents the interest of the Inuit of Nunavik and is also mandated to act as a development corporation responsible for managing the compensation funds provided for in the JBNQA. Makivik’s role includes administering and investing these funds, and promoting economic growth by supporting the creation of businesses run by Nunavik Inuit. Makivik promotes the preservation of Inuit culture and language as well as the health, welfare, relief of poverty, and education of Inuit in the communities.
On December 1, 2006 in Kuujjuaq, President Pita Aatami, Premier of Nunavut Paul Okalik, and the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Canada and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians Jim Prentice officially signed the Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement (NILCA).
The NILCA provides for ownership of 80% of the islands in the Nunavik Marine Region, and overlap agreements between the Inuit of Nunavik and the Inuit of Nunavut, the Crees of Eeyou Istchee, and the Inuit of Nunatsiavut.
Treaty/Land Claim Agreement: James Bay Northern Quebec Agreement (JBNQA) Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement (NILCA)
Signatories to the JBNQA: Northern Quebec Inuit Association, Government of Agreement Quebec, James Bay Energy Corporation, James Bay Development Corporation, Quebec Hydro-Electric Commission (Hydro-Québec), Grand Council of the Crees, and the Government of Canada
NILCA: Makivk Corp., Government of Nunavut, Government of Canada
Key Dates: November 11, 1975 – Signing of the JBNQA
December 1, 2006 – Signing of the NILCA
Brief description of the region covered by claim: Inuit region of Northern Quebec
Total Land Area: 660,000 km² (roughly the top third of the Province of Quebec)
# of Beneficiaries: 9,200
Aboriginal People within the Land Claims Area: Inuit of Nunavik
Aboriginal Languages Spoken: Inuktitut