Moving Forward on Self-Determination: MOU between Canada and the NunatuKavut Community Council

News release

September 5, 2019 — Toronto, Ontario — Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

The Government of Canada is committed to working in partnership with Indigenous peoples to renew the relationship based on recognition of rights, respect, co-operation and partnership.

Today, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, and Todd Russell, President of the NunatuKavut Community Council (NCC), signed a Memorandum of Understanding on self-determination.

This Memorandum of Understanding will help guide the Government of Canada and NCC as they work in partnership to explore new ways to strengthen their relationship and address the priorities identified by NCC. The goal of this process is to move forward together to find shared and balanced solutions that advance reconciliation in a way that respects the interests of members of NCC and all Canadians.


"This Memorandum of Understanding marks a huge step forward on the shared journey of reconciliation with Canada and the NunatuKavut Community Council. Through our ongoing dialogue, we are gaining a greater understanding of the needs and aspirations of the NunatuKavut Inuit, so that we can advance them together."

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

"The signing of this MOU is a significant step forward in our relationship with Canada on the recognition of our Inuit rights and self-determination. It arises from our historic announcement last year and the beginning of formal talks. And, it is the first modern agreement of its kind between NunatuKavut and Canada. The MOU lays the foundation for upcoming discussions with the federal government and, where appropriate, the provincial government. The NunatuKavut Community Council will continue to work with our people throughout this process so that negotiations address our communities' needs and priorities. This will result in tangible and positive change for our people, while protecting our culture and way of life and furthering self-government.

I acknowledge the tremendous contributions of our grandmothers and grandfathers, our ancestors, our negotiation team, our Governing Council and staff. And, of course, we are grateful to our people for their continued guidance and perseverance and for reminding us how important this work is to our everyday lives. We also thank Minister Bennett, Canada's team and our Labrador Member of Parliament in helping us reach this important milestone."

Todd Russell
President of the NunatuKavut Community Council

"This is an important step forward for NCC as they enter into a rights discussion with the federal government. Reconciliation is important to our government and so is the inclusion of all Indigenous people. I look forward to working with the Southern Inuit on health and social issues and advancing both economic and resource development in their communities."

Yvonne Jones
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade and Member of Parliament for Labrador

Quick facts

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

  • The NunatuKavut Community Council is the governing body for approximately 6,000 NunatuKavut Inuit.

  • A discussion table was launched in July 2018 by Canada and NCC as a means to address the needs, interests and rights of NunatuKavut.

Associated links


For more information, media may contact:

Matthew Dillon-Leitch
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations

Media Relations
Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada

Kelly Broomfield
Director of Communications
NunatuKavut Community Council

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