Friday, April 2, 1999 Published at 01:24 GMT 02:24 UK
Fireworks and feasting greet new territory
Traditional drum dancers helped the celebrations along
Fireworks and a feast of raw caribou, fish and whale blubber have accompanied the birth of Nunavut - a vast new territory in Canada's frozen north.
Nunavut -meaning "Our Land" in the Inuit language Inuktitut - covers an area the size of western Europe, but is home to only 25,000 people, of whom 85% are Inuit.
Judges and legislators were sworn in, wearing seal-fur sashes.
Revellers later tucked in to a feast of Arctic delicacies, including raw caribou, seals, the salmon-like Arctic char, raw maktaaq, or whale skin with its blubber, and 3,600 clams.
One of those to be sworn in was Nunavut's new leader, Paul Okalik. Mr Okalik, a 34-year-old lawyer, said Canadian aboriginals felt enormous pride after decades of negotiations and planning.
"We the people of Nunavut have gained control of our destiny and will once again determine our own path," he said.
"We have a daunting task...We are confident that by working with our western and southern neighbours we will overcome our enormous challenges."
Those challenges include:
It has also pledged more than C$1bn over 14 years for a land claim settlement that is part of the overall deal.
In exchange for wide autonomy, the people of Nunavut have relinquished their ancient territorial claims to land but will hold full economic control, including mineral rights, over 350,000 square kilometres (135,000 square miles), with control of the rest shared with the federal government.
Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien said the creation of Nunavut was a great step forward.
He told revellers: "You now have the tools to make your future. Roll up your sleeves, dig in, and make Nunavut all that it can be, for you and for your children."