Intergovernmental and Aboriginal Affairs is responsible for tripartite negotiations among Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada and Aboriginal groups/governments towards land claims, self-government and other associated agreements. The secretariat is responsible for ensuring the implementation and management of these agreements.
The Province has finalized the Labrador Inuit Lands Claims Agreement (“LILCA”) with Canada and the Nunatsiavut Government. LILCA was signed by all three parties on 22 January 2005 and came into effect on 1 December 2005. The Agreement is a modern-day treaty between the Inuit of Labrador, the Province and Canada, and is constitutionally-protected under section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
As of 2009, the Labrador Inuit beneficiaries number approximately 7000 members, primarily residing in Nain, Hopedale, Postville, Makkovik, Rigolet and Upper Lake Melville. Since December 1, 2005, when LILCA came into effect, Provincial departments and agencies have worked actively with Nunatsiavut Government elected representatives and officials. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador continues to work closely with the Nunatsiavut Government on the implementation of LILCA and consults the Nunatsiavut Government on all major government initiatives within the settlement area.
On May 28, 2010, amendments to the Labrador Inuit Land Claims Agreement Act came into force. These amendments incorporate an Overlap Agreement reached in November 2005 between the Labrador Inuit and Nunavik (Quebec) Inuit that resolved their overlapping land claims in northern Labrador and offshore areas adjacent to northern Labrador and northern Quebec.
The Overlap Agreement between the Inuit of Labrador and the Inuit of Quebec was incorporated into the Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement in 2008. The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is not a party to either the Overlap Agreement or the Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement.
Land claim negotiations are still underway with the Innu Nation. There are approximately 1,700 Innu in Sheshatshiu and 900 Mushuau Innu in Natuashish. Prior to the 1960s, they lived a nomadic existence following caribou in the interior of the Québec-Labrador Peninsula. The two (2) communities are distinct from each other, their residents were formerly known as Montagnais and Naskapi, respectively, but they share a political organization, the Innu Nation, which represents them in land claims and other negotiations.
The Innu Nation land claim, accepted by the federal government for negotiation in 1978, covers approximately 70% of Labrador. A framework agreement, signed by Canada, NL and the Innu Nation in 1996, sets out the ground rules for negotiations.
The Tshash Petapen Agreement (jash pey-taah-ben) which translates as the New Dawn Agreement, was signed on September 26, 2008. It is a bilateral agreement between the Innu Nation of Labrador and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. It resolved key issues relating to matters between the province and the Innu Nation surrounding the Innu Land Claims Agreement, the Lower Churchill Impacts and Benefits Agreement (IBA) and Innu redress for the Upper Churchill hydroelectric development. The New Dawn Agreement formed the basis for ongoing negotiation for all three agreements.
The New Dawn Agreement represented a significant step in the tripartite land claim negotiation process towards an Agreement-in-Principle as it brought closure to several significant bilateral issues between the Province and the Innu Nation.
The tripartite AIP, the Lower Churchill IBA and the Upper Churchill redress agreement were signed at Natuashish on November 18, 2011. Negotiations among Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador and Innu Nation towards a final land claims and self-government agreement are ongoing.
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