Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 79

79 Arctic Yearbook 2015 by the Gwich’in First Nation; the Inuvialuit claim (a northern Inuit group) split off from the larger Inuit land claim that would later create Nunavut; and the Sahtu land claim brought two groups together, combining the overlapping interests of the region’s Dene and Métis populations under a single land claim. Two of these land claims groups—the Gwich’in and the Inuvialuit—have advanced towards stronger regionalization in the absence of negotiated self-government, while the third—the Sahtu land claim—is moving in a direction of Alaska’s broader model of governance (perhaps due to the similar nature of its regional population heterogeneity), with a regional land claim and the development of community self-government. Despite operating under a policy framework that kept self-government off of the table during the land claims negotiations, both the Inuvialuit and the Gwich’in have long pushed for strong regional governance. From the beginning of their land claims negotiations in the mid-1970s, the Inuvialuit made clear their desire for regional self-government to manage administrative policy responsibilities and health and social service delivery to the Inuvialuit population. Indeed, the model favoured by the Inuvialuit resembled something quite like Alaska’s model of borough government. As early as their first land claim document, Inuvialuit Nunangat, the Inuvialuit leadership pushed for the development of regional public government, with the ability to tax development for revenue (IRC 2009). The Gwich’in claim also attempted to move in the direction of self-government. However, in the absence of the updated policy that would come just three years later, the Gwich’in could not fully secure their preferred option (though the land claim included the provision that the group could enter into separate self-government negotiations at a future date). As both groups continued to press the federal government for self-government, Inuvialuit and Gwich’in leadership decided that, in light of the geographic overlap of the two populations in the Northwest Territories, they would combine their push for self-government in the form of the Beaufort-Delta Regional Government (Alcantara & Davidson 2015). The Beaufort-Delta government would have transferred federal and/or territorial jurisdiction over health and education, social services, justice and policy, among other areas, to the new regional government (GNWT 2001; for a full breakdown, see Table 7). Though negotiations advanced and an Agreement-in-Principle was signed in 2000, the Beaufort-Delta claim ultimately fell apart. In 2003, the Gwich’in withdrew from the joint negotiations for the Beaufort-Delta government, saying that the Agreement-in-Principle no longer represented the goals of the Gwich’in population (for a more complete view of the dynamics present in this decision, see Alcantara & Davidson 2015). Both groups have since begun negotiating separate, more limited, forms of Aboriginal self-government. Building de facto models Had the Beaufort-Delta government been established, there would have been a clear increase in the policy authority of the Gwich’in and the Inuvialuit in the realm of social policy. Many of the social policy areas that the Gwich’in Tribal Council (GTC) and the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC) currently operate in (seen in Table 7) would have been consolidated and moved over to the new government (such that the IRC and GTC would have operated under smaller X[