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(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.
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 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.
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 (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
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 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.
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, 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. 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).


a territory of NW Canada, formed in 1999 from part of the Northwest Territories as a semiautonomous region for the Inuit; includes Baffin Island and Ellesmere Island. Capital: Iqaluit. Pop.: 29 644 (2004 est.). Area: 2 093 190 sq. km (808 185 sq. miles)
References in periodicals archive ?
The "Nunavut Court of Justice" was created effective April 1, 1999 and was empowered with all of the powers, duties, and functions of the previous Northwest Territories trial courts by An Act to Amend the Nunavut Act with respect to the Nunavut Court of Justice and to amend other Acts in Consequence, 1999.
The Nunavut Act establishes the office of a chief executive officer for Nunavut, who will be known as the Commissioner of Nunavut.
However, the legislative powers listed in the Nunavut Act extend beyond those given to the provinces under section 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867.
The Nunavut Act allows the Nunavut legislative assembly to make laws for "the administration of justice in Nunavut, including the constitution, maintenance and organization of territorial courts, both of civil and criminal jurisdiction and the procedure in civil matters in those courts.
NIC was established under the Nunavut Act to make recommendations on the structure of government for the new territory.
However, amendments to the Nunavut Act were passed in order to allow for an early election.
That decision was then approved by the Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, which was a requirement under the Nunavut Act.
Nunavut Statutes Amendment Act, 1999: This Bill adjusted the laws of Nunavut by amending various statutes that were duplicated for Nunavut by the Nunavut Act.
This was finally achieved with the passage of the Nunavut Act which gives them the right to their own territory and to design the make-up of the new territorial assembly.