Accession G-2024-010 - Northwest Territories. Department of the Executive. Aboriginal Rights and Constitutional Development Secretariat

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Northwest Territories. Department of the Executive. Aboriginal Rights and Constitutional Development Secretariat

General material designation

  • Textual record

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on creator of records.

Level of description

Accession

Reference code

G-2024-010

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area

Date(s)

  • 1983-1991 (Creation)
    Creator
    Northwest Territories. Aboriginal Rights and Constitutional Development Secretariat
  • 1983-1990 (Creation)
    Creator
    Constitutional Alliance of the Northwest Territories. Western Constitutional Forum

Physical description area

Physical description

9.9 cm of textual records

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Archival description area

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Administrative history

The Constitutional Alliance was founded in February 1982 with the Dene Nation, Metis Association of the NWT, Committee for Original Peoples’ Entitlement (COPE), Inuit Tapirisat of Canada (ITC), and four members of the NWT Legislative Assembly as members.

On April 14, 1982, a plebiscite on division was held in the Northwest Territories with the majority in support of division. As a result, the Constitutional Alliance created two sub-committees: the Western Constitutional Forum (WCF) and the Nunavut Constitutional Forum (NCF). The Forums were tasked with proposing a boundary between east and west and negotiating it with the federal government and developing proposals for political and constitutional development for their respective territories. Both aims were to be accomplished using public consultation processes. The WCF and NCF continued to meet jointly as the Constitutional Alliance over the next several years. The primary responsibilities of the Constitutional Alliance were to coordinate the selection of the boundary, facilitate and coordinate cooperation, communication, and the sharing of research materials between the two Forums, and provide public support for their activities. Funding and support was obtained from both the Territorial and Federal Governments.

The first meeting of the Western Constitutional Forum took place on September 7-8, 1982 and the Western Constitutional Forum Management Society was formally incorporated on June 23, 1983. Steve Iveson served as the Executive Director from 1982-87. Additional staff members Deborah O’Connell, Aggie Brockman, and Janet Snider were hired in 1983. The original members were George Erasmus (Dene Nation), Bob Stevenson (Métis Association), Bob MacQuarrie (non-aboriginal MLA), and James Wah-shee (Legislative Assembly). Later active members included Larry Tourangeau, Mike Paulette, Steve Kakfwi, and Nick Sibbeston. At various times observers from COPE and the Kitikmeot West communities were also involved.

The mandate of the Western Constitutional Forum included: initiating and supervising independent research into topic areas relating to political development; reaching a tentative Agreement in Principal to guide the development of a new government for the western NWT; providing material to interested residents in the communities and travelling to communities to provide clarification and gather feedback; developing a proposal for the establishment of a new government and distributing this to communities, obtaining responses through community hearings; getting the final version of proposal ratified by the public; and negotiating with the Federal Government.

The two Forums had different approaches to the goals set before them and reaching agreement was a long and difficult process. In January 1985, the Constitutional Alliance reached an agreement on a process for establishing a boundary for division and a tentative boundary. However, the agreement was a subject of controversy between WCF and NCF in the following months. On January 15, 1987 the Boundary and Constitutional Agreement was signed by the WCF and NCF outlining shared principles on constitutional development and a tentative boundary for division, subject to the ratification of Dene/Métis and Inuit claim regions, endorsement by the organizations represented by agreement signatories, including the Legislative Assembly of the NWT, and endorsement in an NWT-wide plebiscite. Preparations for the plebiscite were made but never carried out because an agreement on the boundary between the Dene/Métis and Inuit claims could not be reached before the deadline.

Since the process appeared stalled, the Federal funding provided to the Forums dropped dramatically. By early 1988, the NCF dissolved and the WCF maintained its Society status, but became inactive. The Constitutional Alliance became the sole body responsible for constitutional development in the Northwest Territories. It was officially incorporated August 25, 1988 with the aim of further political and constitutional development taking into account aboriginal and non-aboriginal rights, using research and public consultation, with the end goal of negotiating with the federal government and getting public ratification on forms of public government. The original members included four MLAs (Steve Kakfwi, Tom Butters, Titus Allooloo, and Peter Ernerk) and representatives from the Dene Nation (Bill Erasmus), Métis Association (Mike Paulette), Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (Roger Gruben), and Tungavik Federation of Nunavut (president Donat Milortuk and regional representative Jack Kapeuna).

Between 1988 and 1990, the Constitutional Alliance had three successive Executive Directors: Aggie Brockman, Marina Devine, and Ben Nind. By mid-1989, it was obvious that the Alliance process had lost momentum and was not meeting its goals. Federal funding was also coming to an end. In early 1990, the Alliance concluded operations, although some aspects of the work were later carried on by the Commission for Constitutional Development and the Constitutional Development Steering Committee.

Custodial history

Scope and content

This accession consists of records relating to the Constitutional Alliance (and Western Constitutional Forum) created and collected by the Aboriginal Rights and Constitutional Development Secretariat of the Department of the Executive.The records include correspondence, meeting materials, bylaws, activity and progress reports, action plans, financial records, news releases, motions, and agreements.

Notes area

Physical condition

Arrangement

Files arranged in order of original file number.

Language of material

  • English
  • Inuktitut

Script of material

  • Unified Canadian Aboriginal Syllabics
  • Latin

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

Most of this accession is available under routine disclosure.

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Associated materials

Accruals

Rights

Copyright held by the Government of the Northwest Territories.

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Language of description

  • English

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