Inuit Regional Autonomy in the Provincial and Territorial North

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region

Tags: social sciences, government, policy, self-government, socio-economics

Principal Investigator: Wilson, Gary N (2)
Licence Number: 15373
Organization: University of Northern British Columbia
Licenced Year(s): 2015 2014
Issued: Dec 16, 2013
Project Team: Christopher Alcantara (Co-Investigator, Wilfrid Laurier Univerity), Thierry Rodon (Co-Investigator, Laval University)

Objective(s): To compare the self-government process in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region to that of other Inuit regions in the Canadian Arctic, including Nunavik in northern Quebec and Nunatsiavut in northern Labrador, thereby shedding light on this important part of the development of Inuit and Aboriginal self-government in Canada.

Project Description: The research examines intergovernmental relations between the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR) and other levels of government (territorial, federal) and the administration of various policy areas by the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC), alone or in conjunction with other regional bodies or other levels of government. This project will compare the self-government process in the ISR to that of other Inuit regions in the Canadian Arctic, including Nunavik in northern Quebec and Nunatsiavut in northern Labrador, thereby shedding light on this important part of the development of Inuit and Aboriginal self-government in Canada.

The project will employ two distinct research methods. The first method involves the collection of publicly available data, including academic articles, and books, government reports, media articles and reports, and materials produced by non-governmental organizations. Most of this research is being carried out by graduate student researchers who are supervised by the project investigators. The second method involves semi-structured, open-ended interviews with key officials and informants at the regional, territorial/provincial and federal levels of government. In the case of the Inuvialuit Settlement Region and the Northwest Territories, these would include officials and other individuals who have been involved in intergovernmental negotiations and discussions about self-government and the political development of the ISR. It might also include federal officials who have been involved in these negotiations. The interviews will be conducted in person by the project investigators, together with their student research assistants, who will observe. It is possible that some of the interviews will be conducted by phone. Each interview would probably last for 1 hour and interviewees would be asked between 15 and 20 questions. The number of interviews conducted would probably range from 10-15. It is likely that follow-up interviews would be requested in subsequent visits to the Northwest Territories.

The researchers will be conducting a series of interviews with senior officials from the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR) and the Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) who have been involved in the intergovernmental negotiations around self- government in the ISR. We do not anticipate that there will be any direct local involvement in the project beyond participation in these interviews. As researchers, however, the research team hope that this work will be of interest to officials and communities in the ISR, in terms of informing the debate about the benefits and challenges of regional autonomy and self-government. The research team also hope that the research will facilitate the sharing of best practices between different Inuit regions that are facing similar political, economic and socio-cultural circumstances. The research will inform academics and officials outside the regions (including provincial/territorial and federal officials) about the significant steps that Inuit peoples are taking to establish self-governing regions and political systems.

The results of the research will be shared with individual participants, community members and the regional authorities in the ISR to the fullest extent possible. Some of the research will be published in academic journals. The research team will endeavor, as much as possible, to make sure that these are “open-access” (publicly accessible via the Internet) journals. The research team plan to write a book manuscript comparing each region. The team will also produce a series of short articles summarizing the main findings of the research and plan to make these articles available to stakeholders in the regions for dissemination to the wider community as they see fit. In the ISR, these reports will be translated into the Inuvialuktun language. Contributors to the research will be acknowledged, as long as such acknowledgment does not breach an individual’s right to anonymity. The researchers would welcome the opportunity to participate in interviews with the regional radio and television station, or to make presentations about the research to the community, either in person or by video/tele-conference.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from February 15, 2014 to February 23, 2014.