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Nunavut, meaning "our land " in Inuit dialects of the eastern arctic, is the new territory and government that was carved from the former Northwest Territories. This provides a government responsive to the Inuit majority in the unique arctic region comprising the Keewatin and Baffin Island regions, the arctic mainland coast east from Coppermine, and the islands of the Arctic Archipelago.



Date Entered the Federation
April 1, 1999

Territorial Flower
Purple Saxifrage

Territorial Animal
Canadian Inuit Dog

Territorial Bird
Rock Ptarmigan

Nunavut Sanginivut
"Nunavut, our strength"

Official Languages
English, French, and Inuktut

40,692 (2023)

2,093,190 sq km

The Honourable Eva Aariak

The Honourable P.J. Akeeagok (no party affiliation)
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The establishment of Nunavut as a distinct territory under its own government fulfils a long-held aspiration of the eastern and central Arctic Inuit to control their own destiny. The form of self government the Inuit have chosen is unique to Nunavut. The Inuit are a majority of the population of the Nunavut area and therefore have a preponderant influence in a public government that was elected by all residents of Nunavut, Inuit and non-Inuit.

The Nunavut Legislative Assembly has 19 members with no political affiliations. The Nunavut premier is chosen by members of the Nunavut Legislative Assembly - the system now in place in the Northwest Territories - but the Nunavut Legislature will be given the jurisdiction to institute a system of direct election of government leader in the future if they choose.

The new government administers an area that covers approximately 20% of Canada, with powers equivalent to those of existing territorial governments. An elected Legislative Assembly, a Cabinet, and a territorial court are the primary institutions of the territory's government. The first Nunavut Legislative Assembly elections took place in February 1999 thereby allowing the Assembly to convene immediately upon Nunavut coming into existence on April 1, 1999.

Members of the first Nunavut Legislative Assembly

Map of Nunavut
  • Hunter Akat Tootoo, a businessman
  • Olayuk Akesuk, an employment officer
  • Ovide Alakannuark, a fuel truck driver
  • Jack Anawak, the former interim commissioner for Nunavut and a former Liberal member of Parliament
  • James Arvaluk, an economic development officer
  • Levi Barnabas, former Northwest Territories MLA
  • Donald Havioyak
  • David Iqaqrialu, a businessman
  • Enoki Irqittuq, an entrepreneur
  • Peter Kattuk, a councillor
  • Peter Kilabuk, a hunter and fisherman
  • Glenn McLean, a businessman
  • Kelvin Ng
  • Jobie Nutarak, an airport maintenance worker
  • Kevin O'Brien, a former MLA in the Northwest Territories
  • Paul Okalik, the area's first Inuk lawyer
  • Edward Picco
  • Uriash Puqiqnak
  • Manaitok C. Thompson, former Northwest Territories MLA
Pangnirtung Fjord
Pangnirtung Fjord

Half expecting to see the typical arctic image of flat, windswept tundra, the mountains that grip the edges of Pangnirtung Fjord take you by surprise. Starting out as low hills at the fjord's mouth, they develop into a jumble of peaks that fade beyond sight. To the north, the entrance to Aksayook Pass forms its distinctive silhouette. Beyond it lies Auyuittuq National Park Reserve, "the land that never melts," a term that offers even more meaning to the surrounding land.

See also
Former Commissioners of Nunavut
Former Premiers of Nunavut
Provinces and Territories of Canada

External Links
Government of Nunavut
Nunavut Tourism
CALL: 1-800-491-7910

Copyright Craig I.W. Marlatt