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NunatuKavut Community Council celebrates Federal Court decision in identity case

OTTAWA — The Federal Court has weighed in on the increasingly controversial issue of so-called Indigenous identity theft that has caused a rift in Labrador — or, at least, that’s how the group at the centre of its work is taking it.

The case involves the NunatuKavut Community Council, formerly the Labrador Metis Nation, which represents some 6,000 self-identifying Inuit in south and central Labrador.

The central issue is whether the council could enter into a memorandum of understanding with the federal government, or if doing so gives the council legal recognition it is not entitled to.

The Innu Nation had asked the Federal Court to throw out the memorandum signed in 2019, saying the council’s land claims overlap with their territory and the Crown had failed to consult with them.

The Federal Court dismissed that application for judicial review, saying the agreement doesn’t affect legal rights and does not recognize the council as an “Aboriginal people of Canada.”

NunatuKavut Community Council president Todd Russell celebrates the decision and says the nearly five-year long “violent misinformation campaign” about his group is nearing its close, and that he looks to the future with optimism.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 13, 2024.

The Canadian Press