Canada and NunatuKavut enter into historic talks to recognize Indigenous rights and self-determination

News release

July 12, 2018 - Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador - Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

The Government of Canada and the NunatuKavut Community Council are committed to working together to advance reconciliation and renew their relationship based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership.

Today, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs, and Todd Russell, President of the NunatuKavut Community Council, announced the start of discussions on recognition of Indigenous rights and self-determination.

Discussions between Canada and the NunatuKavut Community Council will be community-driven, could cover many different issues, and involve ongoing engagement with NunatuKavut members. The goal is to obtain greater clarity on the rights, needs and interests most important to the community as well as finding common ground to move ahead in partnership toward shared solutions that help advance reconciliation and renew the relationship.


"The recognition and implementation of Indigenous rights is critical to reconciliation and renewed relationships. I am convinced that these discussions will lead to a greater understanding of the interests and aspirations of the NunatuKavut community. An open dialogue is a first step toward a true relationship, and we look forward to exploring and advancing a shared journey toward reconciliation."

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

"This is a historic, long-awaited day for the NunatuKavut Community Council and all Southern Inuit. We thank Prime Minister Trudeau, Minister Bennett and the Government of Canada for living up to their commitment of a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples and, specifically, Southern Inuit. We look forward to entering into good faith negotiations with Canada on a modern rights agreement that allows us to fulfill our vision of being self-governing and providing and caring for one another, our families and our communities while nurturing our relationship with our lands, ice and waters. And I thank our people for their steadfast support. We have stood united as a people and have remained hopeful and optimistic about a day when our rights would be respected and recognized. That day has come. This is our time!"

Todd Russell
President, NunatuKavut Community Council

Quick facts

  • The discussions will provide an opportunity to address NunatuKavut's governance, as well as its land and resource interests in Labrador.

  • The Government of Canada is working with Indigenous communities at about 60 discussion tables across the country to explore new ways of working together to advance the recognition of Indigenous rights and self-determination. These discussions represent more than 320 Indigenous communities, with a total population of more than 700,000 people.

  • NunatuKavut means "Our Ancient Land" in Inuttitut and is the traditional territory of the Southern Inuit.

  • The NunatuKavut Community Council is the representative governing body for approximately 6,000 Inuit of south and central Labrador, collectively known as the Southern Inuit of NunatuKavut.

Associated links


James Fitz-Morris
Director of Communications and Issues Management
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett

Media Relations
Crown Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

Kelly Broomfield
Director of Communications
NunatuKavut Community Council

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