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Nunavut(no͞o`nəvo͞ot') [Inuktituk,=our land], territory (2001 pop. 26,745), 772,260 sq mi (2,000,671 sq km), NE Canada. The capital and largest town is IqaluitIqaluit
, town (1996 pop. 4,220), Nunavut Territory, Canada, at the NE head of Frobisher Bay on S Baffin Island. Capital of Nunavut since the territory's creation in 1999, it is a communications and transportation center for the eastern Arctic.
..... Click the link for more information. on Baffin Island at Frobisher Bay.
Formed from what was the E Northwest TerritoriesNorthwest Territories,
territory (2001 pop. 37,360), 532,643 sq mi (1,379,028 sq km), NW Canada. The Northwest Territories lie W of Nunavut, N of lat. 60°N, and E of Yukon.
..... Click the link for more information. (the former Baffin, Keewatin, and Kitikmeot regions), Nunavut has a western boundary wtih the Northwest Territories that runs north from the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border (at 60°N) to the Thelon River, west to just above Great Bear Lake, north to the Arctic Ocean, east into Victoria Island, and finally north, bisecting Victoria and Melville islands. Spanning three time zones and including one fifth of Canada's total land area, it is bounded on the east by Baffin Bay, the Davis Strait, and Quebec's Ungava Peninsula and on the south by Manitoba. Nunavut encompassess most of Canada's Arctic islands, including Ellesmere, Baffin, Devon, Prince of Wales, Southampton, and Coats, as well as the islands in Hudson and James bays. The establishment of Nunavut created a Canadian "Four Corners" where SW Nunavut, SE Northwest Territories, NE Saskatchewan, and NW Manitoba meet.
Geographically, the territory is largely on the Canadian ShieldCanadian Shield
or Laurentian Plateau
, U-shaped region of ancient rock, the nucleus of North America, stretching N from the Great Lakes to the Arctic Ocean. Covering more than half of Canada, it also includes most of Greenland and extends into the United States as the
..... Click the link for more information. and almost entirely north of the tree line (except near the Manitoba border); the landscape is dominated by tundratundra
, treeless plains of N North America and N Eurasia, lying principally along the Arctic Circle, on the coasts and islands of the Arctic Ocean, and to the north of the coniferous forest belt.
..... Click the link for more information. , rock, and snow and ice. The territory is effectively controlled by the Inuit, who make up 85% of the population and speak Inuktitut as their first language, although control could change with population growth.
Most of the richest and most well-developed parts of the Northwest Territories, which lie along the Mackenzie River, were not included in Nunavut, which must rely on the development of its mineral resources, such as diamonds (which are now being mined), in addition to hunting, fishing, fur trapping, sealing, and the production of arts and crafts. The Inuit hold outright title to about 20% of Nunavut, including 13,896 sq mi (36,000 sq km) of subsurface mineral rights. The territory faces problems including high unemployment, substance abuse, and suicide rates, and some 90% of its budget currently comes from the Canadian government. There are no paved roads, and long-distance travel is largely by air. There is a small tourist trade, lured by the wildlife and vast, spare wilderness, as well as Inuit cultural attractions.
The separation of Nunavut from the Northwest Territories began with a 1992 territorial referendum in which the electorate approved the move as part of the largest native land-claim settlement in Canadian history. The process concluded with the establishment of the new territory on Apr. 1, 1999. Nunavut has an elected 22-member assembly. Members of the assembly are elected on a nonpartisan basis. Paul Okalik was elected by the assembly as Nunavut's first premier; he was reelected in 2004, but lost to Eva Aariak in 2008. Peter Taptuna became premier after the 2013 elections. Paul Quassa succeeded him in 2017, but lost a no-confidence vote in 2018, and Joe Savikataaq became premier. The territory sends one senator and one representative to the national parliament.
See R. G. Condon, Inuit Behavior and Seasonal Change in the Canadian Arctic (1983).