Past Project

Arctic Exile Monument Project


‘High Arctic Exiles’  Bibliography Courtesy of Jack Hicks

Makivik Corporation, and Inuit Tapirisat of Canada. (1983) “Submission regarding Grise Fiord/Resolute Bay Inuit relocation issue to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs.”

Hammond, Marc M. (1984) Report of findings on an alleged promise of government to finance the return of Inuit in Resolute and Grise Fiord to their original homes at Port Harrison (Inukjuak) and Pond Inlet. DIAND.

Lowther, Keith. (1989) “An exercise in sovereignty: The Government of Canada and the Inuit relocation of 1953.” M.A. Thesis, University of Calgary. 140 pp.

Makivik Corporation, and Inuit Tapirisat of Canada. (1990) “Grise Fiord/Resolute Bay Inuit relocation issue.”

[Submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs, March]
There is overwhelming evidence to suggest that the central, if not the sole, reason for the relocation of Inuit to the High Arctic was the desire by Canada to assert its sovereignty over the Arctic islands and surrounding area. Indeed, there is little factual evidence to explain why some areas of the Arctic were determined by the government to be ‘resource poor’ and other areas to be ‘resource rich.’

Marcus, Alan R. (1990) “Out in the cold: The legacy of Canada’s Inuit relocation experiment in the High Arctic.” M.Phil. Thesis, University of Cambridge, Scott Polar Research Institute. 72 pp.

Nungak, Zebedee.  (1990). “Exiles in the High Arctic.” Arctic Circle September/October. pp. 36-43.

Makivik Corporation, and Inuit Tapirisat of Canada. (1990) “Submission regarding Grise Fiord/Resolute Bay Inuit relocation issue to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs.”

Canada, Parliament House of Commons Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs. (1990) “Minutes of Proceedings and Evidence.”

Hickling Corporation. (1990) “Assessment of the factual basis of certain allegations made before the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs concerning the relocation of Inukjuak Inuit families in the 1950s.”

[Report submitted to DIAND]
Our study reveals that the main reason for the decision by the Government to encourage some Inuit families to relocate to the High Arctic at that time was a concern to improve the living conditions of Inuit, particularly in the Hudson Bay region. Relocation from those depressed areas was seen, by both government officials and the Inuit themselves, as a way of breaking out of a growing pattern of welfare dependency, and as a means of providing the Inuit with new and better economic opportunities through improved hunting, trapping and wage employment.

Arctic Circle.  (1991). “No apology for exiled Inuit.”  1:5. pp. 13.

Gibson, F. Ross.  (1991). “No reason to apologize to the natives.” Arctic Circle September/October. pp. 8.

[Letter to the editor]
“… I am the RCMP officer who picked up and accompanied these Eskimos to the High Arctic and shared with them all the problems that presented themselves…
I wish to make it quite clear the project was not botched, but was a highly successful undertaking. Reports were forwarded to the Commissioner of the RCMP and Northern Affairs regarding the progress of the project. As one directly involved, I feel I am not in agreement with the natives. I credit Amagoalik from Pond Inlet as the one who saved the project from disaster. The people from
Northern Québec were not familiar with setting seal nets under the ice and hunting polar bears in long periods of darkness.
I agree the natives were deprived of visits from their kin; they are, as we know, a close-knit lot. Otherwise, I feel they were very fortunate to have made the move.
The project is always set up as a failure and something special. There is never any mention of the development of the four weather stations in the High
Arctic: Isachsen, Mould Bay, Eureka and Alert. Canada was playing a leading part in this development. Also, in 1955 an all-Canadian convoy made its way to Resolute Bay to resupply the High Arctic stations. The International Geophysical Year to follow was also a great Canadian contribution to the development of the High Arctic. The Eskimo movement project was one of the many successful undertakings at the time.
I see no reason for Indian Affairs Minister Tom Siddon to apologize to the natives. Certainly I was exiled with them and today suffer the results, with two artificial knees, a chest condition, a heart condition, and cancer of the face from exposure to frost and glare. I don’t expect any special treatment, as I feel the project was well worth our while.
I do feel, however, that the RCMP and other government departments have not stood by the members involved in th project. I refer to the accusations made by the natives involved.
I enjoy your magazine, but I feel the articles presented are quite one-sided in favour of the natives. I was there.”

Grant, Shelagh D.  (1991). “‘Their garden of Eden’: Sovereignty and suffering in Canada’s High Arctic.” Northern Perspectives 19:1. pp. 3-29.

Hazell, Stephen.  (1991). “High Arctic exiles: No Satisfaction: Why is an apology to a small group of Inuit who suffered for their country such a difficult gesture for the government to make?” Arctic Circle November/December. pp. 35-6.

—.  (1991). “The High Arctic resettlement experiment: A question of fundamental justice.” Northern Perspectives 19:1. pp. 30-1.

Marcus, Alan R.  (1991). “Out in the cold: Canada’s experimental Inuit relocation to Grise Fiord and Resolute Bay.” Polar Record 27:163. pp. 285-96.

In 1953-55 the Canadian government experimentally relocated Inuit (Eskimo) families from the region of Port Harrison (Inukjuak), on Québec’s Ungava peninsula, to Ellesmere and Cornwallis Islands in the Arctic archipelago. Today Inuit relocatees allege that they were deceived by the government and suffered greatly as a result of the experiment. The government asserts that the relocation has undertaken for humanitarian reasons. The controversy has recently resulted in hearings before a Canadian parliamentary committee on aboriginal affairs and the Human Rights Commission. A study of the relocation issue prepared for the government, known as the ‘Hickling Report’, rejects Inuit claims of mistreatment. In this paper the Hickling report’s findings are assessed. Contrary to the report’s conclusions, documentation suggests that one of the government’s motives for undertaking the relocation pertained to Canadian sovereignty and exercising ‘effective occupation’ of the islands.

Orkin, Andrew J. (1991) “Immersion in the High Arctic: An examination of the relocation of Canadian Inuit in 1953 from the perspective of the law on experimentation involving human subjects.”
[unpublished report]

Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police. (1991) “Internal investigation into allegations of RCMP misconduct, Grise Fiord and Resolute Bay, ca. 1953.”

Marcus, Alan R. (1992) Out in the cold: The legacy of Canada‘s Inuit relocation experiment in the High Arctic. Copenhagen: International Work Group on Indigenous Affairs. 117 pp.
[IWGIA Document no. 71]
[reviews by: Grant, Shelagh D. (Canadian Historical Review 75:1, 1994) and Wenzel, George W. (Études/Inuit/Studies 16:1/2, 1992)]

Tester, Frank J., and Peter Kulchyski. (1992) “Choosing ‘volunteers’: A deconstruction of Inuit relocation to the High Arctic, 1953.”
[Paper presented at the Eighth Inuit Studies Conference, l’Université Laval, October]

Gunther, Magnus. (1992) “The 1953 relocations of the Inukjuak Inuit to the High Arctic: A documentary analysis and evaluation.”  411 pp.
[Report prepared for DIAND]

anonymous.  (1993). “An exile responds to Wilkinson.” Arctic Circle Fall/Winter. pp. 5-46.
[Letter to the editor by ‘an Exile, Resolute Bay NWT’; reply to Doug Wilkinson (‘The paradox of the Inuit relocatees,) in the Summer 1993 issue; reply by Wilkinson in the Spring 1994 issue]

Brody, Hugh. (1993) “Some historical aspects of the High Arctic Exiles’ experience.”
[Submission to the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples’ Second Round of Special Hearings on the High Arctic Exiles, Ottawa ON]

Wilkinson, Doug.  (1993). “The paradox of the Inuit relocatees.” Arctic Circle Summer. pp. 32-3.
[Reply by ‘an Exile, Resolute Bay NWT’ in the Fall/Winter 1993 issue; Reply in the Spring 1994 issue]

Williamson, Robert G. (1993) “Significant aspects of acculturation history in the Canadian Arctic: Analysis of the forces of Inuit and southern white interaction until mid century: Sociocultural background to a government relocation project.”
[Report prepared for the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples]

Boychuk, Rick.  (1993). “Ice beer and bureaucrats: A chilling tale of mandarins, the Inuit and the High Arctic.” Ottawa Magazine pp. 23-44.

Inuit Tapirisat of Canada. (1994) “Recommendation # 67: The High Arctic Exiles.”

[contained in ITC’s submission to the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples]
The Government of Canada’s must acknowledge its breach of fiduciary duty to the High Arctic Exiles — a breach that:

  • began during the planning of the relocation;
  • was amplified by the refusal to rectify the situation by allowing the relocatees to return to their home community; and which,
  • persists to the present day with the federal government’s continued denials of any wrongdoing.

—. (1994) “Recommendation # 68: The High Arctic Exiles.”

[contained in ITC’s submission to the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples]
The important contribution made by the High Arctic Exiles to Canada‘s assertion of sovereignty in the High Arctic must be acknowledged by the Government of Canada.

—. (1994) “Recommendation # 69: The High Arctic Exiles.”

[contained in ITC’s submission to the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples]
The Government of Canada should make an immediate and sincere apology to the High Arctic Exiles acknowledging the hardships, pain and suffering they endured as a result of the relocation, and for the delay and reluctance in honouring the government’s commitment to return the relocatees to their homelands if so desired.

—. (1994) “Recommendation # 70: The High Arctic Exiles.”

[contained in ITC’s submission to the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples]
The federal government should compensate the High Arctic Exiles for the hardships, pain and suffering they endured, for the personal possessions which were lost, and for their contribution to the assertion of Canadian sovereignty in the High Arctic. All possible support should be provided to the families and communities involved in the relocation as they continue their healing process.

—. (1994) “Recommendation # 71: The High Arctic Exiles.”

[contained in ITC’s submission to the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples]
The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples should comment on the manner in which the federal government has dealt with the High Arctic Exiles issue over the past decade:

  • its refusal to accept the High Arctic Exiles’ stories of their experiences as accurate;
  • the commissioning of a high-profile political apologia from an individual with no appreciable background in the issues requiring investigation; and,
  • the statements of the former minister which were grounded in denial and justified by fundamentally flawed research.

Canada, Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. (1994) The High Arctic relocation: A report on the 1953-55 relocation. Ottawa ON. 190 pp.
[with 2 vols. Summary of supporting information]

Kenney, Gerard I. (1994) Arctic smoke & mirrors. Prescott ON_: Voyageur Publishing. 143 pp.
[reviews by: Dickson, Rosaleen (The Hill Times 1995 February 9); Gunther, Magnus (Polar Record 32:182, 1996); and, Phillips, R.A.J. (The Ottawa Citizen 1995 February 5)]

Tester, Frank J., and Peter Kulchyski. (1994) Tammarniit (Mistakes): Inuit relocation in the Eastern Arctic, 1939-63. Vancouver BC: University of British Columbia Press. 440 pp.
[reviews by: Blake, Dale (Canadian Literature 148, 1996); Jull, Peter (?); and, Marcus, Alan R. (Études/Inuit/Studies 19:1, 1995)]

Makivik Corporation, and Inuit Tapirisat of Canada. (1994) “Submission to the Minister of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (DIAND) for the Government of Canada regarding Inuit High Arctic relocatee demands for remedial and compensatory measures.”

Marcus, Alan R. (1995) Relocating Eden: The image and politics of Inuit exile in the Canadian Arctic. Hanover NH and London: University Press of New England. 272 pp.
[reviews by: Abel, Kerry (American Historical Review 102:1, 1997); Aubry, Jack (The Ottawa Citizen, August 12, 1995); Freeman, Milton M.R. (Ethnic and Racial Studies 20:3, 1997); Hodgins, Bruce (Arctic 49:2, 1996); Kenney, Gerard (Polar Record 180, January 1996); and, Schweitzer, Peter (Ethnohistory 44:2, 1997)]

Hicks, Jack. (1997) “Relocations as an ‘answer’ to regional underdevelopment: The Canadian experience.”  12 pp.
[Paper presented at the seminar on Ammassalik as an Example of Regional Underdevelopment, held at Ilisimatusarfik (The University of Greenland), Nuuk, Greenland, January]

Silverstone, Sam.  (1999). “High Arctic relocation in the 1950s: Inuit survival in the face of government indifference.” Makivik magazine 50. pp. 17-9.

McGrath, Melanie. (2006) The long exile: A true story of deception and survival amongst the Inuit of the Canadian Arctic. London: Fourth Estate. pp. 302.