The current project proposal is an Order in Council that would add the boundary location of the wreck of HMS Terror to the Wrecks of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror National Historic Site of Canada.
In 1992, the wrecks of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror were together designated as a national historic site (NHS) of Canada by the Minister of the Environment under the Historic Sites and Monuments Act, despite neither wreck having been discovered at that time. This commemorative designation under the Historic Sites and Monuments Act did not extend any legal protection to the Wrecks of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror National Historic Site of Canada.
In September 2014, Parks Canada underwater archaeologists discovered the wreck of HMS Erebus. On April 8, 2015 an Order in Council added the Wrecks of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror National Historic Site of Canada, including the boundary location of the wreck of HMS Erebus, to the National Historic Sites of Canada Order made pursuant to the Canada National Parks Act. The National Historic Sites of Canada Order provides legal protection through the application of certain provisions of the Canada National Parks Act, including the National Historic Parks General Regulations and the National Historic Parks Wildlife and Domestic Animals Regulations.
In September 2016, the location of the wreck of HMS Terror was confirmed by Parks Canada underwater archaeologists. The current project proposal is an Order in Council that would add the boundary location of the wreck of HMS Terror to the Wrecks of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror National Historic Site. This proposal would provide legal protection to the wreck of HMS Terror through the application of certain provisions of the Canada National Parks Act and regulations. Once the wreck of HMS Terror is added to the NHS, Parks Canada, jointly with Inuit of the Kitikmeot Region, will be able to ensure the security of the wreck and related artifacts; manage the ecological, natural, historical and archeological resources; undertake necessary research and conservation; and share the story of its significance with Canadians.
All rights and privileges granted to the Inuit under the Nunavut Land Claim Agreement (Nunavut Agreement) are recognized and will continue to be in place within the established NHS (e.g. access, continued harvesting rights, hunting, fishing and trapping).
Parks Canada will follow all required processes in approving activities that take place within the Wrecks of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror National Historic Site of Canada to ensure any potential negative impacts are mitigated. All future project proposals related to the NHS would be reviewed to determine whether a screening is required pursuant to the Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act.
Sections 9.4.1 and 8.4.4 of the Nunavut Agreement outline that prior to the establishment of a National Historic Site in the Nunavut Settlement Area, the Government responsible for the establishment and a Designated Inuit Organization (DIO) shall negotiate, in good faith, for the purpose of concluding an Inuit Impact Benefic Agreement (IIBA). Section 9.4.1 also indicates that in cases of emergency, the IIBA may be concluded following establishment. In the case of the Wrecks of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror National Historic Site of Canada the specific locations of the wrecks were not known when the NHS was designated in 1992 under the Historic Sites and Monuments Act. The Government of Canada moved forward on an urgent basis to add this NHS to the National Historic Sites of Canada Order to provide legal protection for the wreck of HMS Erebus, which is possible under section 9.4.1 of the Nunavut Agreement. IIBA negotiations between Parks Canada and the Kitkmeot Inuit Association (KIA) started in March of 2016 for the NHS. The KIA have confirmed that one IIBA will be negotiated for the NHS which includes both wreck sites.
Section 9.3.7 and 8.4.11 of the Nunavut Agreement provides for the establishment of a Joint Inuit/Government planning and management committee (the Committee) when requested by either the government or a DIO. In the case of the Wrecks of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror National Historic Site of Canada, the IIBA will establish such a committee in keeping with the provisions under the Nunavut Agreement. Section 9.3.7 and 8.4.12 of the Nunavut Agreement indicates that the Committee may advise the Minister or the Minister's designate, the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board, or other agencies, as it deems appropriate, on all matters related to the management of the NHS.
As required under section 9.3.8 and 8.4.13 of the Nunavut Agreement and section 31(1) of the Parks Canada Agency Act, Parks Canada will work with local communities and Inuit organizations to develop a management plan for the NHS that will outline strategies to protect the commemorative integrity of the site and to promote public understanding and visitor experience. As part of this process, Parks Canada will hold community workshops to develop the commemorative integrity statement together with Inuit.
Parks Canada and the Kitikmeot Inuit Association (KIA) established the “Franklin Interim Advisory Committee” (the Interim Committee or FIAC) to ensure Parks Canada’s management of the Wrecks of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror National Historic Site of Canada is informed by stakeholders, community members, and traditional Inuit knowledge. The Interim Committee is comprised of Parks Canada, the KIA, the Government of Nunavut, the Inuit Heritage Trust, the Nattilik Heritage Centre, and citizen representatives from the local communities of Gjao Haven and Cambridge Bay. The Interim Committee provides guidance and advice on a wide range of management aspects, including: the site’s future monitoring; interpretation and promotion techniques; engagement and collaboration initiatives with communities and stakeholders; and incorporating traditional Inuit knowledge, or “Qaujimajatuqanit”, to inform decision making. Since its first meeting in June 2016, the Committee has met 10 times and has provided Parks Canada with informed guidance on the management of the NHS. Since the discovery of the wreck of HMS Terror, ensuring the security of the site has been one of the Interim Committee’s highest priorities. Amending the National Historic Sites of Canada Order to include the wreck of the HMS Terror has received strong support from the Interim Committee and is seen as the most effective way to ensure the site’ protection and preservation. Both the KIA and the community of Gjoa Haven have provided specific letters of support (attached).
On the advice of the Interim Committee, Parks Canada is working with the Hunters and Trappers Association of Gjoa Haven to collaboratively develop a Guardian program. Two camp sites will be established, one near the HMS Terror wreck site and one near the HMS Erebus wreck site. The Guardians at each site will enjoy traditional activities on the land, present the Franklin story to visitors, and contribute to site protection and monitoring.