INUKJUAK, QUEBEC (August 18, 2010) – Today, on behalf of the Government of Canada and all Canadians, the Honourable John Duncan, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and Non-Status Indians, apologized for relocating Inuit from Inukjuak and Pond Inlet to Grise Fiord and Resolute Bay in the High Arctic in the 1950s, and for the hardship, suffering and loss they experienced as a result of the relocation.
"The Government of Canada apologizes for having relocated Inuit families and recognizes that the High Arctic Relocation resulted in extreme hardship and suffering for Inuit who were relocated," said Minister Duncan. "We deeply regret the mistakes and broken promises of this dark chapter of our history."
In the 1950s, 19 Inuit families from Inukjuak were relocated by the federal government to Resolute Bay and Grise Fiord in the High Arctic. Three families from Pond Inlet were also relocated in order to assist the Inukjuak families with adjustment to the unfamiliar environment. Moved 1200 km from their home community, the relocatees persevered against the odds to build communities in the far North.
The Inukjuak apology is the first in a series of events taking place this year in the North to commemorate the sacrifices made by High Arctic relocatees. The Arctic Exiles Monument Project, led by Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI) will unveil monuments by Inuit sculptors in Grise Fiord and Resolute Bay in the fall. Minister Duncan will attend these events on behalf of the Government of Canada.
The Government of Canada is committed to renewing and rebuilding its relationship with Inuit across Inuit Nunangat, and to supporting social and economic development in the North as part of the Northern Strategy.
For more information, please contact:
Office of the Honourable John Duncan
Indian and Northern Affairs Canada