Arctic Yearbook 2015
resources, but recently Yukon (2003) and the Northwest Territories (2014) have signed devolution
agreements to transfer control of natural resources from the federal government, and Nunavut is
negotiating a similar agreement. In each case, devolution is a process of delegating federal powers to
the respective territorial government and Indigenous government.
All of the Canadian Arctic territories have a significant Indigenous population, whose rights have been
constitutionally recognized through multiple court decisions that have led to the signing of land claim
agreements. These agreements allows the creation of co-management boards, whose responsibilities
include making recommendations or decisions on natural resource management and on environmental
and social assessment of resource development (Berger et al. 2010), and since the recognition by the
federal government in 1998 of the right to self-government, the creation of Aboriginal governments.
In addition, all recent land claims settlements require developers to sign Impact and Benefit Agreements
with local or regional Aboriginal organizations. Land claim agreements are constitutionally protected
under section 35(1) of the 1982 Constitution Act, and therefore they cannot, contrary to the territorial
devolution process, be unilaterally rescinded.
This paper focuses on the multilevel governance structure of the Canadian Arctic territories—
Nunavut, the Northwest Territories, and Yukon—a structure established through devolution and the
land claim and self-government agreements that have been signed with the first inhabitants of those
regions: the Inuit and the First Nations. Both devolu ѥ