High Arctic resettlement experiment

June 20, 2017

Map of relocation of Inuit families

Inuit families were relocated from Inukjuak, Quebec, to Resolute Bay (left arrow) and Grise Fiord (right arrow). Elektryk4, Wikimedia Commons


In August 1953, the Canadian government initiated a relocation program that transferred Inuit from communities in Arctic Quebec and Baffin Island further north, to Resolute Bay on Cornwallis Island and Grise Fiord on Ellesmere Island. The government’s goals were twofold; to bolster Canadian sovereignty in the unoccupied High Arctic, and to improve the welfare of the Inuit involved by moving them from an area seen as overpopulated and over-hunted. The Inuit themselves were not consulted, and suffered considerably from extreme cold and winter darkness in an unfamiliar environment. In 1994, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples investigated the relocation program, and a High Arctic Trust was created for the relocated Inuit and their descendants.

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