A new study from he Institute for Research on Public Policy says the Northwest Territories is on the leading edge of political, constitutional and administrative changes that are fundamentally redefining the relationship between Indigenous people and the Canadian state.
In 2014, control over lands and resources was devolved from the federal government to the Government of the Northwest Territories. Since then, significant government restructuring has taken place.
“Internationally, this model is unprecedented. These new institutions and practices are designed to mediate and regularize intergovernmental relations in what is becoming Canada’s first federation within a federation,” says Dr. Jerald Sabin, author of the study.
A key development was the introduction of significant resource-revenue sharing through transfers to Indigenous governments. The NWT government also created the Intergovernmental Council, a forum to foster collaboration among the executives of the GNWT and participating Indigenous governments.
More broadly, he concludes that this power-sharing model is a significant step toward embedding Indigenous and treaty rights in the public governance framework as well as the reconciliation of Indigenous and settler societies.