In a highly visual and appealing format for young readers, this book explores the many forced relocation of Inuit families and communities in the Canadian Arctic from the 1950s to the 1990s. Governments promoted and forced relocation based on misinformation and racist attitudes. These actions changed Inuit lives forever. This book documents the Inuit experience and the resilience and strength they displayed in the face of these measures. Years afterwards, there have been multiple apologies by the Canadian government for its actions, and some measure of restitution for the harms caused.
Included in the book are accounts of a community forced to move to the High Arctic where they found themselves with little food and almost no shelter, of children suddenly taken away from their families and communities to be transported to hospitals for treatment for tuberculosis, and of the notorious slaughter by RCMP officers of hundreds of sled dogs in Arctic settlements.
Though apologies have been made, Inuit in northern Canada still face conditions of inadequate housing, schools that fail to teach their language, and epidemics of infectious diseases like TB. Yet still, the Inuit have achieved a measure of self-government, control over resource development, while they enrich cultural life through music, film, art and literature.
This book enables readers to understand the colonialism and racism that remain embedded in Canadian society today, and the successful resistance of Inuit to assimilation and loss of cultural identity.
Like other volumes in the Righting Canada’s Wrongs series, this book uses a variety of visuals, first-person accounts, short texts and extracts from documents to appeal to a wide range of young readers.
About the authors
FRANK TESTER is a writer, filmmaker, researcher and photographer who has worked extensively in the eastern Arctic with Inuit youth and communities. Frank has worked for the Qikiqtani Truth Commission and the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission. His books include Tammarniit (Mistakes) detailing Inuit relocations in the eastern Arctic, for which he was awarded the Erminie Wheeler-Voegelin Prize. He is also a recipient of the Gustavus Myers Award for his contribution to the study of human rights in North America and the W. Garfield Weston Foundation Trustee’s Award in recognition of his work with Inuit youth and Elders. He is currently Adjunct Professor of Native Studies, University of Winnipeg. Frank lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.
KRISTA ULUJUK ZAWADSKI is an Inuk who has focused her education and career on Arctic anthropology and archaeology, museology and collections-based research. She holds a Master's Degree in Anthropology from the University of British Columbia and is currently a PhD candidate at Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario. In 2021, Krista and three other Inuit co-curated the inaugural exhibition, INUA, at Qaumajuq-WAG in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The exhibition featured Inuit art from over 90 Inuit artists. She also co-curated the exhibition Echoing the Land at the Indigenous Art Centre at CIRNAC in Gatineau, QC. Echoing the Land spoke to the connection Indigenous artists have with land, interpreting knowledge from the land and projecting it into art. Krista has authored articles in Inuit Art Quarterly and Museum Anthropology. This is her first book for young adults. Krista is from Rankin Inlet, Nunavut.
…a worthwhile acquisition for both high school libraries and as a supplementary text for social studies classrooms. It teaches much about the strength of the Inuit people and their ability to survive despite incredible challenges. Highly recommended.
CM: Review of Materials