Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. President Paul Kaludjak today applauded Indian and Northern Affairs Minister John Duncan for apologizing to Inuit on behalf of the Government of Canada for the forced relocation of Inuit families to the High Arctic. Minister Duncan issued the apology in Inukjuak, the northern Quebec community from which Inuit were forcibly relocated to Resolute Bay and Grise Fiord in 1953 and 1955. Inuit from Pond Inlet were also relocated in the same period.
“Today’s apology brings some relief to the surviving Inuit who were forcibly relocated, and to the family and community members who struggled with the intergenerational effects this terrible experience caused,” said Kaludjak. “The first years in the High Arctic for the relocated Inuit were desperate times of survival. Despite promises made by the Government of Canada, the resources were not plentiful, and even though Inuit struggled, they were not allowed to return home as originally promised by the government. It is a testament to Inuit ingenuity and perseverance that they survived and adapted to a completely foreign environment.”
During the 2009 NTI annual general meeting, members passed a unanimous resolution calling on the Government of Canada to issue the apology. “Our hope today is that this apology will help Inuit heal from this traumatic experience,” said Kaludjak.
NTI has commissioned the carving of monuments to commemorate the forced relocations. The monuments will be unveiled in Resolute Bay on Sept. 8 and Grise Fiord on Sept. 10.