|Motto: Nunavut Sannginivut |
(Inuktitut: Our land, our strength)
Territory (pop., 2006: 29,474), north-central Canada. Nunavut (Inuktitut: "Our Land") is the result of Canada's largest land claim settlement, created to give the Inuit (see Eskimo), constituting more than four-fifths of Nunavut's population, a greater voice in Canadian government. Occupying an area of 808,185 sq mi (2,093,190 sq km), or one-fifth of Canada's landmass, it comprises the central and eastern parts of the former extent of the Northwest Territories, including Baffin and Ellesmere islands. Its capital is Iqaluit. The area was settled by ancestors of the Inuit about AD 1000. Vikings probably visited during the Middle Ages, but the first records of exploration are from Martin Frobisher's 1576 search for the Northwest Passage. The mainland was explored by Englishman Samuel Hearne in 1770 – 72. After passing through British possession, it was transferred to Canada in 1870. In 1976 a political organization called for creation of a territory to settle Inuit claims in the Northwest Territories. The proposal was approved by the Canadian government in 1993. Nunavut's first elections were held in February 1999, and the territory was inaugurated on April 1, 1999.
Canadian Inuit Struggle to Uphold Traditions in Melting Ice
In the first instalment of our series on how the efffects of climate change are being felt all over the world we turn to Canada. For most of the world, climate change is a theoretical concept -- something scientists and academics talk about. But in the Canadian Arctic, ordinary people are already feeling the effects of global warming. Inuit hunters have travelled on sea ice for centuries. And the latest generation to do so has noticed rapid sea ice changes in their lifetimes. Living Planet reports from the capital of the Arctic territory of Nunavut. (Reporter: Sara Minogue)