Auyuittuq National Park (Nunavut, Canada) was first established in 1976 as a national park reserve under the National Parks Act of Canada. It was subsequently established as a national park in 2001 pursuant to the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (NLCA). Park governance is currently a co-operative management framework in accordance with the NLCA, the Inuit Impact and Benefits Agreement and the National Parks Act. In practice, this has been a transformation in organisation from informing and liaising to active participation and engagement of adjacent communities. Although a management plan was recently developed by the Joint Park Management Committee, examination of Inuit aspirations for the Park has been limited. These aspirations form a basis for interpreting the effectiveness of the existing governance arrangements. Further, as an informal arrangement, Inuit Knowledge Working Groups have recently been established to also improve on engagement of the community; in sharing of knowledge and perspectives in support of park research and management activities. The success of this project also remains unexamined. In the fall of 2012, we met with elders, park staff and Field Unit staff involved in management to explore Inuit aspirations for the park, and to examine the ways in which the objective of knowledge gathering and sharing was being applied as part of management operations, focussing on the community of Pangnirtung where the Park Office is located. A separate study focussed specifically on youth. This chapter explores Pangnirtumiut perspectives on the park, and identifies ongoing issues in the application of Indigenous knowledge as part of its ongoing management. We also contrast this against shifts in processes for implementing management, through analysis of policy and planning negotiations. Inuit aspirations for the park include concerns for visitor safety, employment, protection of Aboriginal rights (including hunting), and an interest in sharing the history and use of the park area. Despite being called the Joint Park Management Committee, the committee plays more of an oversight role, ensuring key aspirations are appropriately addressed. Other initiatives, for example the Inuit Knowledge Working Groups as an opportunity for community engagement play an important role in sharing of knowledge more broadly, with a focus on the importance of being and remaining knowledgeable about the Land. We explore the implications of a western management system for Inuit directly involved in day to day operations of park management. This, and the perspective and opportunity for youth engagement capture the forward thinking aspirations of the community. In this sense, the park can be defined not as a physical boundary but a social one that captures in a snapshot a process of self-determined community change.
Indigenous Peoples’ Governance of Land and Protected Territories in the Arctic / Herrmann, T M, Martin, T (eds): pp.3-21