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Inuvialuit Agreement turns 28

Laura Busch
Northern News Services
Published Monday, June 11, 2012

Hundreds of people gathered June 5 to help mark the 28th anniversary of the signing of the final Inuvialuit Agreement on June 5, 1984.

"It's important to have this kind of a day to recognize (the signing of the agreement) so that the younger generation gets a grasp on why it's so important for the Inuvialuit people," said Richard Gordon, MC for the events.

Inuvialuit Day was celebrated in various communities this week. Inuvik hosted a community feast along with live music and drum dancing.

"It's important because we worked hard on (the agreement), and now we can have a good time over it," said Inuvialuit elder Edward Lennie. "We've got to keep it up and pass this on to the younger people."

The final agreement was struck between the Government of Canada and the Committee for the Original People's Entitlement (COPE) after 10 years of negotiations. Under the agreement, the Inuvialuit gained full control of 91,000 square kilometres of land, along with the right to hunt and harvest anywhere in their settlement area.

The Inuvialuit Final Agreement created the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation, along with many subsidiary corporations to manage development, investment, resources, land, wildlife and more.

"I think it was an important day, it still is an important day, and it gives people a chance to see that the organization is still working for the beneficiaries," said Peggy Jay, director of beneficiaries and community relations at the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation. "But above everything, it's a celebration."

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