Many Inuit needlessly perished during the beginning of the relocation experiment, though most survived through fierce adaptation.
The re was a concern in the Department about the long-term instability of the fur trade and the capacity of the fur trade to sustain the income levels to which Inukjuak Inuit become accustomed.
This phrase was unfortunately ambiguous and was thought by some to refer a hunting population outstripping available game food resources. The relocation was an experiment to see whether the Inuit could adjust to lie in the High Arctic. Game failed to materialize in the Cape Herschel area in the winter of 1953-54, and the land would not have been able to support the relocatees. 11. 22. www.tunngavik.com.
In August 1953, Canadian federal government officials took 87 Inuit from Port Harrison, now known as Inukjuak, in northern Quebec and put them on a coast guard ship, which then departed for the High Arctic. The relocatees believed that there would be boats available for them in the new land. The highly generalized concern of administrators about Inuit relying too much on government ‘handouts’ was felt by relocatees in various ways. The High Arctic relocation was conceived by the Department as a way to place Inuit in areas believed to have adequate game resources and to require them to live largely by hunting, with some opportunity to trap. encourage some Inuit families to relocate to the High Arctic at that time was a Sure, they apologized, but I don’t know if they really knew what they were apologizing for. PA: My parents were relocated to Resolute Bay in 1953 by the Canadian government.
Interestingly, this pressure did not result in an apology until 2010 when Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Jon Duncan, released a statement entitled “Apology for the Inuit High Arctic Relocation.”. And they had to wait until there was enough snow on the ground and ice on the water in order to take out the dog team. Question: When did you realize that you parents came from an entirely different “world”? 2. The project was insufficiently funded, and as contingencies developed over years, as when supplies failed to arrive, cost considerations would outweigh considerations of Inuit welfare. Not all Inuit relied on income from trapping to the same extent. Further Consequences of the Rehabilitation Objective. The Inukjuak Inuit were not told that they would be joined by Pond Inlet Inuit. The relocation scheme might have been entirely satisfactory for people who lived largely from hunting, with income from trapping providing only a supplement, and who did not look to government support in poor fur years. 41. Moreover, by 1953, conditions had improved considerably since the collapse of fur prices in 1949-50, and no able-bodied Inukjuak Inuit were receiving relief, outs’ and the understanding of local officials that this was ‘rehabilitation’ project served only to reinforce stereotypical attitudes that would adversely complicate relations between the relocatees and the local officials responsible for their well-being.
In short, the government’s handling of the complaints has served to increase mistrust and deepen the sense of grievance. Relocation Would Not Relieve the Cycles in Hunting and Trapping. There is no evidence that the arrangements for the loan were discussed with the relocatees before departure.
It also served as an attempt to disseminate and remove Inuit culture from modern society. Whether of not the people were unhappy or had desire to return home, they would still have to hunt. In the 1950’s these “relocated” Inuit were part of the federal government’s master plan to establish a Canadian presence in the High Arctic and assert its sovereignty. Had the government promptly acknowledged the failure to honour the promise to return and then acted to redress the wrong, the complains might well have been resolved quickly. 13.
This risk would have become a reality at the Cape Herschel site if that aspects of the relocation had gone ahead. 14. One month and some 1,200 kilometres later, the group was divided in two and literally dumped on two remote and barren polar islands. 28. The decision to extend a promise to return was made initially By Henry Larsen of the RCMP.
The Inukjuak area has been inhabited by large numbers of Inuit for centuries and is a traditional hunting and fishing area. 42. 33. On August 24, 1953, Paul was born on the coast guard ship, the C.D. The initial planning by the Department failed to accommodate the characteristics of the people.
The Inuit community at Resolute Bay became infected with tuberculosis which may have been carried from Inukjuak, resulting in additional hardship to the community as many members were transported south to hospital for extended periods. The Commission’s conclusions, based on the preceding evidence and analysis, are, in summary, as follow: 1. Hunting, even in areas of relative abundance, could be affected by adverse weather or ice conditions or various migratory patterns.
Inadequate Supplies for the Trades Stores. Do you ever think there could be a “war” over Arctic riches? The position of the government now is that the sovereignty was not a consideration.
9. Question: Tell me more about the Arctic Exiles monument in Resolute Bay that your father carved? 17. There were, however, differences of opinion about how relocation should be undertaken, with some, such a Superintendent Larsen of the RCMP, advocating the creation of small communities with wooden houses and schools, so that the adult Inuit could maintain a hunting and trapping lifestyle while children received the education that would be essential in the future. The Inuit are hunters like myself. The Inuit camps were established at a distance from non-Inuit facilities to restrict contact between Inuit and non-Inuit and to prevent the Inuit from becoming a burden on the non-Inuit post base. Reconciliation of the evidence concerning the relocation provides a basis for reassessing the government’s responsibilities concerning the relocation and is a first step in amore fundamental reconciliation between the relocatees and the government.
Canadian officials told them that they had to stay in Resolute for two years, and after that, if they didn’t like it, that they could return to Inukjuak. The Inukjuak Inuit would not learn that they were separated until they were already in the High Arctic, when they were separated and sent to different locations. The plan, as approved by the Deputy Minister, was very general in its description of what was to be done and for that purpose. The government was present in the Arctic in the form of RCMP.
By contrast, if a Canadian government post had been established in the High Arctic and government personnel were missing essential items such as Arctic clothing and bedding, the government certainly would have arranging for these essential supplies to be sent immediately. This would involve using administrative powers to restrict or withhold the actual benefit of their family universally available to Canadians. Relocating Inuit to other places would not relieve such variability in the conditions of life. The goal was ‘rehabilitation’, and the High Arctic relocation would be understood at the time-though not by the Inuit-as a rehabilitation project.
Conversely, Arctic historian Shelagh Grant explains that Inuit communities generally consider themselves as part of the environment and distinct from Canadian society. Who is consulting the Inuit? Failure to Disclose the Rehabilitation Goal to the Inuit. My parents were promised a better future along with several other Inuit families from northern Quebec.
In the summer of 1953, the Canadian government relocated seven Inuit families from Northern Quebec to the High Arctic. The distress caused by the relocations triggered major social problems in these Arctic communities. The move to the High Arctic thus involved significant changes for the Inukjuak relocatees. In addition, the relocatees arrived in the High Arctic without all the equipment they would need for life there. They found it hard to exist in an unfamiliar, frozen land with few of the foods they were used to. They were promised an abundance of game and fish, with the assurance that if things didn't work out, they could return home after two years. These boats had been left behind in Inukjuak.
There is no evidence that the Department develop a sufficient to meet the communities’ food needs.
The government should accept responsibility for this misunderstanding. The Inukjuak Inuit Were Not Told of the Involvement of the Pond Inlet Inuit, and the Two Groups Did Not Get Along Well. Some of these Inuit families, known as the High Arctic exiles, and their descendants can still be found living in Resolute Bay and Grise Fiord in Nunavut.
29. The apparent focus of the government action has been to defend itself against these complaints and to put the government’s actions in the best possible light.
“We have to overcome distrust and hostility, make things compatible, and become agreeable.