The Aboriginal rights refer to the practices, traditions, and customs that differentiates a unique culture of a first nation, and which were practiced before the contact with the Europeans. On a wider note, these are the indigenous rights that various individual aboriginal people in Canada hold as a consequence of the longstanding utilization and occupation of land by their ancestors. The Inuit are the aboriginal people who mainly occupy the northern Canadian regions. It is important to recognize that the indigenous rights varied from one group to another in Canada based the difference in customs, traditions and the practices, which formed an important component of a group. These rights can be observed among the Inuit people, who were the first nation in Canada. This paper will, therefore, provide a critical review of the history of the aboriginal rights of the Inuit people, and the how are these rights determined for individuals and communities.
History of Aboriginal rights among the Inuit people
The Inuit people in Canada constitutes to the most dominant group in Canadas North and are believed to have lived for thousands of years. In this way, the Inuit have described their whole culture and identity as being dependent on the free movement of the sea and ice for fishing and hunting. However, most Canadian historians agree that the aboriginal rights among the Inuit people can be traced on the land and waters they traditionally occupy, where they were a major group in the Northern Canada who formed the signatories to Land Claims and Self-Government Agreement. Traditionally, the Inuit were hunters and gatherers who often moved seasonally from one camp to another. In this way, the large groups were seasonally isolated into various smaller groups which were also termed as the winter camps that comprised of about 100 people and summer hunting groups of fewer. However today, their aboriginal rights are connected to the each agreement signed by the Canada signatories to Land Claims and Self-Governments. Notably, each deal offers the reflection of the local and regional circumstances but has a provision these communities have to provide the ownership of about 10 to 30 percent of the settlement locality. Additionally, they are needed to give the cash compensation; economic development opportunities a portion of royalties obtained from Crown land the natural resources available.
Just like any other rights, the aboriginal rights of the native Canadas societies were recognized and affirmed by the section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. For a long time, the Supreme Court of Canada has purported that this provision protects a wide variety of rights, which include the acknowledgment of the communities customary practices such as the adoption and marriage, and the food harvesting mechanism. Other rights which do not involve land utilization and the assertions of an Aboriginal title to the traditional areas are also integrated. For the rights other than the Aboriginal titles among the Inuit, the Canadian Supreme Court argued that the claimants had to demonstrate that the power being talked about was necessary for their different society and practiced before contact with Europeans. However, it is important to recognize that the rights of the Inuit people may not be exercised now, but the Act does not protect the practices and traditions that arose from European influences. However, the activities such as fishing for food, and the community ceremonies were to be exercised in modern ways. For instance, the Aboriginal fishing communities could conduct fishing using modern fish equipment and thus formed an integral part of that rights as stipulated by the section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
How these rights determined for individuals and communities
The manner in which aboriginal rights are set by the Inuit people is an interesting thing to discuss. In reality, the degree of the autonomy depended on the level of self-sufficiency of the land owned by the Inuit. As Vowel (2017) contends, the greater the amount of federal aid and control of resources by the apparent interest, the lesser autonomy of the new nation. As stipulated by the Constitution Act, 1982, the Inuit society will manage the resources in a more integrated and detailed manner and considering factors such as the marine planning, environmental assessments, social impacts and the land use. Notably, this democratic control had significant effects on the scale, pace, timing and location of most of the future socio-economic developments in the new territory, not least in the exploitation of oil, gas and mineral deposits (Asch, 2014). As a provision, the agreement gave the Native communities including the Inuit people an opportunity to select areas they deemed beneficial for both the renewable and non-renewable resources. It is important to recognise that the new government need to have sufficient financial aimed at enabling self-reliance and economic development as well as cultural and social well-being on the part of the Inuit society.
Today, the opportunities exist for the sustainable economic sustainable development, and the Inuit people seem to have achieved a considerable amount of the control over the resource utilization and environmental management. Among all land claims related to the aboriginal rights in Canada, the Nunavut Agreement, through its outlook, the most promising in the provision it offers and most accommodating. However, many analysts argue that such provisions have their drawbacks on the community especially about the various aspects that include the resource utilization and management (Asch, 2014). Many outsiders claim that the aboriginal rights provided to Inuit people, for example, through control of resource development will not necessarily be under the supervision of the Inuit people. While the agreement seemed so generous, the Inuit have been denied the veto control over the activities that include the resource management boards whereby they have the veto power with the Federal representatives. Although Inuit society has gained titles to some promising mineral deposits, the community is thought to have lost out fairly in this part of the settlement. Currently, much of the Nunavuts mineral resources have remained fully mapped and assessed.
To ensure that their aboriginal right has been restored and exercised accordingly, apart from the issues discussed here, the Inuit need to make the full use of the powers granted to them in the resource provisions of the agreement (Asch, 2014). Based on the fact that the contract offers fairly stronger political powers compared to the previous comprehensive treaties, it is anticipated that the Inuits resources will be wisely utilized by the new territorial and Federal governments for the mutual benefit of both, but especially as they key factor underpinning this exciting experiment in native self-government.
This paper has provided a critical review of the history of the aboriginal rights of the Inuit people, and the how are these rights determined for individuals and communities. It is important to recognize that the indigenous rights varied from one group to another in Canada based the difference in customs, traditions and the practices, which formed an important component of this team. The aboriginal rights among most Canadian native tribe include the acknowledgment of the communities customary practices such as the adoption and marriage, and the food harvesting mechanism. Other rights which do not involve land utilization and the assertions of an Aboriginal title to the traditional areas are also integrated. Among the Inuit, the paper has identified that the individuals and community have the opportunity and rights to manage the resources in a more integrated and detailed manner and considering factors such as the marine planning, environmental assessments, social impacts and the land use. For effective control of their territories and the aboriginal rights, the Inuit people
Asch, M. (2014). On being here to stay: Treaties and Aboriginal rights in Canada. University of Toronto Press.Vowel, C. (2017): Indigenous Rightss: A Guide to First Nations, Metis & Inuit Issues in Canada.
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