Inuit families were forced to relocate many times between the 1950s and 1990s because of government policies. Not everyone survived.
In a highly visible and appealing format for young readers, this book explores the forced Inuit relocations in the Canadian Arctic between the 1950s and 1990s. Government decisions were often based on misinformation and racist attitudes, and their ill-considered decisions changed Inuit lives forever. This book includes Inuit responses, resilience and strength in the face of these government actions, as well as eventual government apologies for many of the relocations.
The book begins with a look at the traditional life of Inuit of Canada’s North, affected early on by contact with whalers and the development of the fur trade. The collapse of the fur trade following the Second World War led to dramatic changes to the lives of Inuit, including the relocation of Inuit from Inukjuak, Arctic Quebec, to the Canadian High Arctic. But Inuit lives were also uprooted in many other ways. The results included deaths from starvation, separation from family and culture for the treatment of contagious diseases and appalling living conditions as Inuit were forced to adapt from living off the land to permanent settlements.
Other events examined include the killing of sled dogs by the RCMP and the relocation of Inuit children to settlement-based federal day schools. The abuse the students suffered often paralleled what happened to Indigenous children in southern Canada.
Historical photos, primary documents and first-hand accounts of Inuit experiences show these injustices and how Inuit fought back. Readers will discover the resilience of Inuit in maintaining their culture and language and learn of the incredible contribution Inuit continue to make to the richness and diversity of Canadian culture.