Arctic Yearbook 2015 - Page 81

81 Arctic Yearbook 2015 important issue remains for the Gwich’in as they work towards self-government. In most cases, the negotiation of self-government means that the federal Indian Act no longer applies to self-governing Aboriginal governments. This was one of the major sticking points in the negotiation of the BeaufortDelta government, as the Gwich’in were not prepared to dismantle the existing institutions of tribal governance in favour of a new model (Alcantara & Davidson 2015). As they continue to move towards Aboriginal self-government, these institutions may have to once again change, allowing a new form of regionalism evolve. By comparison, as an Inuit population in Canada, the Inuvialuit had to rely on building out their governance regime from the organizational structures established through their land claim (the Inuvialuit Final Agreement 1984). With the exception of the Committee of Original Peoples Entitlement—the Inuvialuit land claim advocacy group that operated throughout the 1970s—there were no distinctly “Inuvialuit” institutions that pre-dated their land claim. Thus, the expansion of regional Inuvialuit governance has been operationalized through the land claims institutions: the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC) and the Inuvialuit Game Council (IGC) (Wilson & Alcantara 2012). Through these organizational bodies, and in the absence of regional government, the Inuvialuit leadership expanded the role of the IRC into policy areas traditionally thought to belong to government. After implementation, the IRC not only took on the role of negotiator for selfgovernment, but also quickly moved into social program development and service delivery. This has included the delivery of social services, income support, and public and community health programs, among other policy areas (Wilson & Alcantara 2012). They have a role in delivering the Inuvialuit Child Development Program, the Inuvialuit Cultural Resource Centre, and coordinating the Brighter Futures program, accessing federal government funds to expand into these policy areas. Despite the setback faced in establishing a regional public government, and in the absence of securing fully negotiated Indigenous self-government, both the Inuvialuit and the Gwich’in have carved out de facto models of regional governance. They have been constrained in their development by the tight relationship between institutions and identity (which acted as a barrier to building a regional Beaufort Delta government). However, by building on their existing institutions of governance, they have transformed more narrow organizational mandates into something much more far-reaching in the interim. Conclusion: capitalizing on capacity Indigenous groups in Canada and the United States have clearly moved the Arctic towards a model of regional Indigenous governance, and today they have a role in the development of policy and delivery of programs and services. However, the factors of timing and institutional identity have constrained the ability of some regions to advance towards strong models of regionalization. As a general observation, the early entrants into land claims have had the most difficultly in securing coordinated regional models of governance. This has been true for [