Government of the United Kingdom signals intent of historic gift to Canada
October 23, 2017 Ottawa, ON Parks Canada Agency
The Government of Canada is exceptionally pleased with the intent of the Government of the United Kingdom to gift the shipwrecks of the 1845 Franklin Expedition, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror to Canada.
The Government of Canada recognizes the invaluable contributions of Inuit of Nunavut, the Government of Nunavut, and all partners in the search and discovery of the wrecks of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror. Most importantly, the discoveries would not have been possible without the support, guidance, advice and traditional and modern knowledge shared so generously by Inuit of Nunavut.
The locations of the vessels had been a mystery for over 150 years, after Sir John Franklin and his crew went missing in 1846 while searching for a Northwest Passage. Over time, Inuit traditional stories helped European searchers better understand the fate of the Franklin ships; and that same traditional knowledge – or Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit – combined with the technology of modern searchers, finally uncovered the sunken vessels in 2014 and 2016.
The Government of Canada announced our commitment in 2016 to co-ownership of the Franklin artifacts with Inuit of Nunavut and will continue to work with the Government of Nunavut, the Kitikmeot Inuit Association, designated Inuit organizations, and the Franklin Interim Advisory Committee on the protection and presentation of the two wreck sites and artifacts.
It’s important to protect and commemorate these sites of history, and Parks Canada is working with the Franklin Interim Advisory Committee to develop an Inuit Guardians Program for the two vessels. As of September 1, 2017, Inuit Guardians are posted at both wreck sites during periods with little ice to monitor the sites, report any unauthorized vessel traffic, and help Parks Canada ensure their protection. Working with Inuit of Nunavut, we will do more to tell the story of Inuit and their key role in discovering and protecting these artifacts as well as the environment that surrounds them in Canada’s north.
The Government of Canada is committed to sharing the story of the Franklin Expedition with Canadians and the world, as well as the compelling story of encounters between Inuit in Nunavut and European explorers. This tremendous gift from the Government of the United Kingdom to Canada, will ensure Canada together with Inuit are able to protect the Franklin wrecks and artifacts and share their story with the world.
“I would like to thank the Government of the United Kingdom for their intent to gift the wrecks of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror to Canada. Our government announced last year our commitment to co-ownership of the Franklin artifacts with Inuit of Nunavut. Now, we will continue to work with our Inuit partners on the protection and presentation of the two wreck sites and artifacts for generations to come. I look forward to further developing our valuable relationship with Inuit of Nunavut as we share the incredible story of the Franklin Expedition and the role of Inuit in this story with Canadians and the world.”
The Honourable Catherine McKenna
Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada
“I am very pleased by the announcement today from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on the intent to gift the Franklin wrecks to Canada. This exceptional gift will allow for the joint ownership of the artifacts by Inuit and Canada, as stipulated in the Nunavut Agreement. We look forward to working with Parks Canada on the future management of the Wrecks of the HMS Erebus and HMS Terror National Historic Site and helping to protect and present these wrecks and artifacts to tell the story where these events took place.”
Chair of the Franklin Interim Advisory Committee
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