The Relationship Between State Funded Resource Development Infrastructure and Indigenous Jurisdiction: An Analysis of Two Development Projects in Nunavut, Canada


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University of Guelph


Canada is a resource-rich nation within a context of unfinished settler colonialism. The settler state is consistently working to manage the reality of Indigenous jurisdiction while attempting to assert sovereignty over the land. Indigenous jurisdiction threatens the settler state’s ability to extract value from the land. This research aims to understand the present-day relationship between Indigenous jurisdiction and resource development infrastructure (RDI). Specifically, it aims to understand how two current infrastructure projects in Nunavut engage Inuit jurisdiction. RDI is intended to expand access to resources for extraction, especially in remote areas. The findings suggest that resource development infrastructure developed with Inuit organizations as proponents is a method through which the settler state manages the threat posed by Inuit jurisdiction to expand access to Inuit lands. This research provides a foundation for further Indigenous-led, empirical, and theoretical research on ongoing settler colonialism and publicly funded resource development infrastructure in Canada that could help illuminate pathways toward decolonization.



Settler Colonialism, Indigenous Jurisdiction, Mining, Northern Canada, Nunavut, Treaty, Decolonization, Sovereignty