Imagine coming from a small community, in a mostly undeveloped district, of a remote region of an isolated province of a very big country. You wouldn’t feel far away, especially if your homeland was rich and beautiful, culturally vibrant and blessed with a unique history and heritage. But it might just take a while for the rest of the world to know your story.
That’s what life must be like for the inhabitants of Nunatsiavut—the self-governing territory of the Labrador Inuit. As Nunatsiavut celebrates its tenth anniversary, many Canadians remain completely unaware of the word, or the region it defines. This is a pity, because Nunatsiavut is both a proud Inuit homeland, and a unique Canadian story.
Ten years ago, when the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement went into effect, binding the Inuit of Nunatsiavut, the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Government of Canada, it culminated decades of work and struggle for recognition by the Inuit of Labrador, who have dwelled in Nunatsiavut (“Our beautiful land”) for centuries.
The agreement, among other things, establishes the Inuit right “to make their own laws relating to cultural affairs, education and health”. It covers 72,520 square kilometres of land, of which more than 15,000 are owned outright by the Inuit. The agreement also established Torngat Mountains National Park, one of the most beautiful natural wilderness areas in Canada, or anywhere.
Adventure Canada has been a proud supporter of Nunatsiavut since before the Agreement was ratified. Our expedition cruises to the region are an important cultural and economic contribution to Nunatsiavut, and we proudly employ Inuit from the region as culturalists, bear guides and boat drivers. Visits to centres like Hopedale (the seat of government) and Nain (the administrative centre) and to important historic sites like Hebron and Ramah help create markets for local goods, and foster among our passengers a sense of the wonder and importance of Nunatsiavut.
Please join all of us at Adventure Canada in celebrating this important milestone. Nunatsiavut, you’ve only just begun!
Visit Nunatsiavut on Adventure Canada’s Greenland and Wild Labrador voyage, June 29-July 11, 2016. Book before December 18, 2015 and save up to 30% on available berths!
All photos by David Newland.