Nunavut, the Unfulfilled Dream: The Arduous Path Towards Socio-Economic Autonomy

  • André Légaré


On 1 April 2009, the Nunavut Territory celebrated its tenth anniversary. Born in 1999, the government of Nunavut was the result of more than twenty years of negotiations between Inuit officials and the government of Canada. One of the goals of the "Nunavut Project," first submitted for negotiations in February 1976, was to empower the Inuit of the Canadian Central and Eastern Arctic with the necessary political tools to better cope with their contemporary socio-economic challenges. These challenges were well described in a statement of priorities, known as the Bathurst Mandate, first put forward by the government of Nunavut a few months after its inception (October 1999). The Bathurst Mandate exposes the socio-economic goals and visions of the new government over a twenty year period (2000-2020). The author attempts to gauge the success, to this point, of the government's vision as reflected in the Bathurst Mandate, in light of recent socio-economic realities in Nunavut. The author concludes that, in view of the current socio-economic situation, it is unlikely that the vision of a viable socio-economic environment expressed in the Bathurst Mandate will be reached by the year 2020. In the end, though, it is understood that the government of Nunavut is still in its infancy and the jury, at this juncture, is still out on the overall success of the "Nunavut Project."

Author Biography

André Légaré
André Légaré is a research associate in the Department of Geography at the University of Saskatchewan, where he is currently completing his PhD.
How to Cite
LÉGARÉ, André. Nunavut, the Unfulfilled Dream: The Arduous Path Towards Socio-Economic Autonomy. Northern Review, [S.l.], n. 30, p. 207-240, july 2009. ISSN 1929-6657. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 19 sep. 2020.
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