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Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated Board Advises Inuit in Nunavut to Comply with Firearms Act

NR 00-18 FIR ENG Fire Arms Legislation.doc

Repulse-Bay, Nunavut (October 19, 2000) In spite of the court challenge mounted by Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI), the Board decided yesterday to advise Inuit in Nunavut to register under the Firearms Act. Those not registered by December 31, 2000 will no longer be able to purchase ammunition.

The Firearms Act contravenes the rights of Inuit as enshrined in the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, said Paul Quassa, President of NTI. This is why we are challenging sections of the Act in court. Inuit have the right to hunt, fish and trap without permit, license or fee of any kind. We Inuit are law abiding people. We respect the law and don’t want to break it. But the Federal Government is forcing Inuit to get permits in order to hunt. This is a betrayal of our basic rights, that are protected in the Constitution. We cannot let this go unchallenged.

The Board decided to recommend that Inuit register under the Act because the court challenge will not be heard until Spring or Summer of 2001. With the deadline of December 31 2000 looming, registration seemed the only way to ensure that Inuit hunters could continue to procure ammunition in order to feed their families.

The time is short. said NTI Board Member Thomasie Alikatuktuk of Pangnirtung. We will ensure that Beneficiaries who wish to register get the help they need to fill in the forms and receive their permit in time for the deadline. We will still pursue the court case, however. This issue is not just for those of us here now, but also for our grandchildren and future generations. This time the government is demanding a permit. What rights will they try to take away in the future? The sanctity of our rights needs to be confirmed. Now.

The Firearms Act will be revisited by Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. at its Annual General Meeting, to be held late November in Arviat.

For further information:

Paul Irngaut
Public Relations Advisor
Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.
Iqaluit, NU
Tel: (867) 975-4900 Note: until Thursday October 19 at 6pm, the above contact can be reached in Repulse Bay
at (867) 462 4216

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