A Case of Compounded Error:

The Inuit Resettlement Project, 1953, and the

Government Response, 1990


by Shelagh D. Grant


Background to the Government Decision


In 1953, the Government of Canada announced plans to resettle Inuit from areas of dwindling food resources to the High Arctic where game and fur animals were reported in abundant supply. To assist them, government trading stores were set up and operated under the supervision of the RCMP. In August of that year, seven families from the Inukjuak (Port Harrison) area in northern Quebec and three families from Pond Inlet were resettled in communities at Resolute Bay on Cornwallis Island and at Grise Fiord, near the Craig Harbour police post on Ellesmere Island. Plans for a third settlement at the Alexandra Fiord RCMP post in the Bache Peninsula area were delayed due to ice conditions, and later cancelled.

In addition to the above, three "special constables", all from Pond Inlet, were assigned to the posts. Although overall responsibility for "Eskimo" affairs rested with the Department of Resources and Development, the RCMP officers were charged with overseeing Inuit physical and economic welfare. New families from Inukjuak joined the settlements over the next three years, bringing the overall total to 17, excluding those assigned to the police posts.

Despite the construction of new wooden homes, a co-operative store, and federal day school, as well as the provision of electricity, there appeared to be signs of growing restlessness among the Inuit of Grise Fiord. By the 1970s, a number of residents had expressed the desire to visit Inukjuak to reunite with family and friends; several wished to return permanently. In some cases, expenses for the trip were covered by the Inuit themselves; in other instances, assistance was provided by the RCMP or Makivik Corporation of Quebec.

In 1982, John Amagoalik, President of the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada (ITC) requested financial assistance from the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (DIAND) to cover the cost of homes and transportation for 16 families wishing to return to Inukjuak. According to Inuit spokesmen, payments to date have amounted to only $200 000, compared with the government's statement that it has paid approximately $250 000 to Inuit families and an additional 5700 000 to the Quebec government for construction of new homes.

In the spring of 1990, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs heard witnesses and received evidence on the case. On 19 June, the committee recommended that the Government officially recognize the role of these Inuit in protecting. Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic, that a formal apology be given, and that compensation be paid for their service to Canada and "the wrongdoing inflicted upon them." The Government of Canada was required to table a formal response within 150 days.

In preparing its response, DIAND hired a consulting firm, the Hickling Corporation, to conduct an "independent" study into the allegations as they affected the department. Using this study as a basis for the government's response to the Standing Committee's recommendations, Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Tom Siddon announced on 19 November that an additional $150 000 would be set aside to cover any further costs of relocation. However, as the report found no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the department and concluded that sovereignty was not the primary reason for the original resettlement at Grise Fiord, there would be no apology and no recognition of the Inuit contribution to the maintenance of Canada's arctic sovereignty.


The Case for Reconsideration


At first glance, the Hickling report appears well researched and professional in its presentation, but a closer study reveals significant problems in definition, methodology, choice of archival sources, interpretation of documents, and at least one instance of serious misrepresentation of key evidence. As a result, a number of conclusions are based on faulty assumptions or errors of fact, particularly with regard to the issues of sovereignty and government planning for the project. Since these two issues provide the basis for the Inuit allegations, the identifiable errors have serious implications for the credibility of the government's decision.

 As the review of archival records shows, the initial phase of the resettlement project was carried out as an 'experiment', ill-conceived and poorly planned. There is clear evidence of unwarranted hardships endured by the Inuit during the early years at Grise Fiord. Moreover, documents confirm that concern for sovereignty was the primary motive for the government's choice of the Grise Fiord and Resolute Bay locations in the 1953 resettlement project.


Unfortunately, Inuit attempts to assign responsibility and request compensation for past actions appear to have elicited an even more defensive reaction from the current government, perhaps in the belief that they were being unfairly attacked. Yet the official response, as it stands, has only served to cast doubt on the integrity of those most influential in making "the project" a qualified, if only short-term, success: the Inuit involved, the local RCMP, and the reorganized Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources which acquired the project as a legacy.


Inuit Policy in Transition


The relationship between the various agencies involved in the 1953 resettlement project was complex, and complicated further by the absence of an official government policy on Inuit affairs. The history of Inuit policy may explain the situation in the 1950s, but it cannot fully justify government action or inaction.


Since the time of first contact with Europeans, the Inuit proved themselves exceptionally willing to offer assistance. As a result, their former nomadic existence was altered greatly as they drifted toward non-native communities of whalers, fur traders, missions, police posts, and, later, military establishments. Most often, the Inuit provided specific services as boatmen, guides, or sled drivers, or goods such as winter clothing or furs. During the Second World War, they inevitably congregated around the U.S. air bases. Curious, eager to help, but untrained, they looked for casual labour or someone who might buy their furs and handcrafts. As expected, infectious diseases spread rapidly. And as wildlife resources became scarce around the bases, the Inuit became more and more dependent upon handouts or government welfare assistance to survive. No longer isolated from public view, the onus was now on the government to assume the responsibility once delegated to the churches, police, and private enterprise.


In 1950,responsibility for Inuit affairs was removed from the jurisdiction of the Northwest Territories Council and placed under the Department of Resources and Development. The RCMP retained supervisory responsibility for Inuit welfare in the field, while the department's Northern Administration and Lands Branch was given overall responsibility for administration, planning, and policy.


In the hope of developing a consensus, representatives from all agencies involved in Inuit affairs met for a two-day conference at Ottawa in May 1952. The agenda reflected growing concerns about disease, loss of initiative, dwindling food and fur resources, and the disintegrating social matrix which had preserved Inuit culture for centuries. No one, it appeared, had a solution acceptable to all. Yet there were three basic facts upon which most everyone seemed to agree: that the fur trade could no longer fully support the Inuit, that improved education and retraining were required for meaningful employment in the new socioeconomic environment, and greatly expanded health services were urgently required throughout the Arctic. As a first step, those present agreed to the establishment of a Special Committee on Eskimo Affairs, comprised of representatives from the various agencies directly concerned with the Inuit: the northern administration, the RCMP, the churches, the Hudson's Bay Company, and National Health and Welfare[1].


The committee met for the first time in October 1952. Among the items discussed with respect to the "improvement of the Eskimo economy" was a proposal from the director of the northern administration to resettle Inuit families at Craig Harbour and Cape Sabine (Alexandra Fiord). The idea was not original, but this was the first time it had been presented to an official gathering. The committee considered the proposal as a means of "assisting natives to move from over-populated areas to places where they could more readily obtain a living," but agreed only that Craig Harbour and Cape Sabine "should be investigated as possible localities." No other comments were recorded in the minutes.[2] Nor is there any record that the committee was consulted or even informed of further details, nor any mention at the second meeting in May, long after the projects had been approved. [3] A careful search of the relevant files produced no evidence that the High Arctic resettlement project complied with any official government policy, or was approved by any formal committee which might have kept minutes of their meetings.


On 16 March 1953, a request for approval and funding was submitted for "Assisted Eskimo Projects" by the director of the northern administration. The original document is located in the deputy minister's files. [4] There is no signature or initials, simply a rubber stamped notation:



The "Cape Herschel Project" (Alexandra Fiord) was fully detailed, with reference to the presence of Greenlanders (requiring policing of the area) and to the plan to "move in" Canadian Inuit where there were presently none and "establish them in the native way of life." The "Craig Harbour Project" was described simply as "similar". The "Resolute Bay Project" had a quite different motive: "an experiment to work out a method by which Eskimos may be trained to replace white employees in the north without the Eskimo children losing touch with the native way of life." The motive sounded reasonable, except for the explanation that "all could be employed on menial jobs but, except in summer, we prefer at least part of the group to hunt and trap after the native way." Had the director consulted the RCAF, he would have discovered the illogical reasoning in the proposal. Only "in summer", at the peak of the supply missions, would there be "menial jobs" available for all.


That summer, there were a number of bizarre crosscurrents which would raise doubts about the process and timing of the projects. In July, the Northwest Territories Council recommended that contact between the Inuit and non-Inuit be controlled to prevent the spread of disease that might occur from the proposed expansion of military activities in the North. Not having the power to pass such legislation, council referred the issue to the Advisory Committee on Northern Development (ACND), an advisory and co-ordinating committee composed of representatives from military and civilian agencies engaged in northern operations. The chairman of the ACND immediately referred the question to the new administration subcommittee, chaired by the commissioner of the RCMP. At its first meeting, on 24 August 1953, the subcommittee recommended that the matter fall under the jurisdiction of the Special Committee on Eskimo Affairs. Of particular importance was the comment by the chairman that "until the general policy question had been settled, it would be unwise for the Sub-Committee to recommend any new legislation for regulating the movement of people in the north." The referral to the Eskimo Affairs Committee was approved at the September ACND meeting, with the request that the committee make recommendations and refer them back to the administration sub-committee.[5]


A year later, the Ministry of Northern Affairs and Natural Resources finally issued a detailed policy paper on "Eskimo Affairs" with a strong emphasis on education, health, and new economic programs. Resettlement was mentioned, but as only one of many ideas to be considered. [6] Although there was considerable discussion about expanding the project to other sites in the Arctic, the whole concept of relocation came under severe scrutiny in 1958 following the Lake Ennadai disaster in which severe starvation resulted from an unsuccessful attempt at resettlement in the Keewatin district of the Northwest Territories. As a result, there was no expansion of the arctic projects as originally planned.[7]


Meanwhile, the department began to implement their official policy by providing more schools, medical facilities, wooden homes, and community centres. New people were added to the administration, and new programs introduced to aid the Inuit economy. There were improvements in communications; northern field officers were assigned; and more funds were directed to social and economic programs. For the first time, there seemed to be evidence of progress despite the continuing problem of meeting the needs of those caught in a vortex of change.


The Sovereignty Issue

 Historical Concerns

Throughout history, "sovereignty concerns" of nation-states have extended far beyond the process of establishing legal title or ownership. Once sovereign claims are recognized, there remains a responsibility to maintain "effective occupation" by continued evidence of jurisdiction and control. During the post-war years, Canadian concerns over arctic sovereignty involved perceived or potential threats to authority over the arctic lands, sea, and ice. A "threat" to national sovereignty may be direct, as in the case of foreigners refusing to recognize the authority of a sovereign nation; but it may also be manifest in the benign activities of foreigners acting without permission of a nation-state, or by actions which violate the laws of that state. In this respect, the role of the RCMP in the Arctic was vital in ensuring that everyone, Canadians and non-Canadians, complied with national laws regarding customs, immigration, exploration, fishery licences and hunting regulations.

There is also a more insidious de facto loss of sovereignty, whereby a nation-state can no longer exert full control over its territory (usually as a result of bilateral agreements), or simply a "perceived" loss of sovereignty (for example, when U.S. military and civilians greatly outnumbered Canadian citizens in the northern territories during the Second World War). To counter such threats, joint defence agreements were negotiated to assign "control" to a Canadian officer, or to incorporate a statement that the activity or circumstance did not impinge on Canada's sovereign rights-a practice sometimes referred to as "paper sovereignty".

Concern for arctic sovereignty initially arose in 1880 when the arctic islands were transferred from Great Britain to Canada, ostensibly "to prevent the United States from claiming them."[8] U.S. whalers wintering over posed the next threat, but perhaps more serious was the claim of the Danish explorer, Knud Rasmussen, that Greenland Eskimos had a right to hunt on Ellesmere Island because it was a "No Man's Land."[9] Subsequent attempts to declare and enforce sovereign rights are well known: the Eastern Arctic Patrol, raising the flag on remote arctic islands, public declarations, establishing RCMP posts, arduous sled patrols, issuing licences to explorers, and enforcing game laws. The first formal challenge was settled in 1930 when Canada's title over the entire archipelago was formally recognized by Norway-after payment of $67 000 to Norwegian explorer Otto Sverdrup for his discovery of three major islands west of Ellesmere. At that point, the federal government's Northern Advisory Board formally announced that Canada's title was secure.[10]


Still, various government actions continued to reflect concerns, despite public assurances to the contrary. In 1934, for example, 22 Cape Dorset Inuit were relocated to Dundas Harbour where there was reported to be better hunting and trapping. They were assisted by families from Pangnirtung and Pond Inlet, and a Hudson's Bay Company trader. All were promised that they could return in two years if not satisfied with conditions.

In a number of respects, the Dundas Harbour case is remarkably similar to the Grise Fiord resettlement less than 20 years later. In a news article entitled "Occupy Arctic Isles to Insure Canadian Claims", James Montagnes writes:

In addition to the placing of the Eskimos in new regions where game is more abundant and work more regular, there is the angle of occupation of the country, now that aerial routes, mineral developments, and other reasons make possible the claims of other countries to part of Canada's Arctic, which now reaches to the North Pole. To forestall any such future claims, the Dominion is occupying the Arctic islands to within nearly 700 miles of the North Pole. [11]
Two years later, conditions proved unsatisfactory, and the Inuit from Pangnirtung were transported home. The remainder were taken to Arctic Bay for a year, then on to Fort Ross where they stayed until the post closed in 1947; in the end, they were settled at Spence Bay.[12]

 If the 1934 "experiment in acclimatization", as it was then called, ended in failure, why was it attempted again only seven years later? Certainly a desire to strengthen claims to uninhabited lands was part of the reason, but there were two additional concerns in the 1950s which directly influenced the decision. One explains the Resolute Bay resettlement, the other the Grise Fiord and Alexandra Fiord plans.


Sovereignty and the Greenlanders


Following the Norwegian challenge in 1930, the Canadian government was particularly concerned that other discoveries might lead to further claims, unless the area was regularly patrolled, visited by Canadian scientific expeditions, and/or occupied by Canadian Inuit. Similarly, it was believed that the police posts at Craig Harbour and on the Bache Peninsula of Ellesmere Island were sufficient evidence of "effective occupation", to prevent further denials of ownership from the Greenlanders or Danes. However, consistency of application was not a hallmark of arctic policy: the police regularly hired Greenlanders as sled drivers and general assistants at the two posts. Familiar with the patrol routes and wildlife resources, it was only natural that they continued to fish and hunt in the area after the Bache post closed. [13]  The consequences would surface 20 years later.


Although government concerns about Greenland centred on political developments after the United States had assumed responsibility for its defence,[14] the RCMP remained alert to possible local violations of sovereignty. Greenlanders continued their sporadic hunting expeditions to Ellesmere. Upon learning of a new trading post opening at nearby Etah, Inspector Henry Larsen notified authorities and recommended that Danish authorities might assist in halting the Greenlanders' travels in northern Ellesmere. The next year, the expedition to Ellesmere by the French explorer, J. Malaurie, with 11 Greenlander guides, 9 sleds, and 110 dogs, aroused the attention of External Affairs. Claiming he was on a scientific mission to "study the food situation of the Eskimos in the Bache Peninsula", Malaurie notified Canadian authorities after the fact, expressing innocence of any wrongdoing. By his understanding, the Greenlanders had permission to use the island "at any time they desired." When coupled with knowledge of the new trading post, the purpose of the scientific mission became suspect. In addition to the sovereignty aspect, RCMP Inspector Larsen was now concerned that wildlife resources would be depleted.[15]

 Free movement by Greenlanders into Canada had been authorized by the Department of External Affairs and formalized in an "Exchange of Notes" in 1949, but limits had been imposed: a Greenlander must be a "bona fide non-immigrant and in possession of a valid national passport with a valid visa obtained from competent Canadian diplomatic and consular authorities in Denmark." Even then they were not permitted to hunt "without obtaining a license...if eligible"-an impossible regulation to enforce on nomadic Greenlanders requiring game for survival.[16]

 Then, in January 1952, it was reported that the Greenlanders were now wintering over in the Bache region, and that the Danes had requested permission to set up a geodetic station on the west coast of Ellesmere for mapping purposes.[18] The Governor of North Greenland only increased uneasiness when he reported that another trading post would be opened at Thule Kanak just south of Etah. He also remarked that it was unlikely Danish officials in Godhavn could control where Greenlanders hunted. [19] These new developments were compounded by word from Craig Harbour that three Greenlanders had travelled overland to the weather station at Eureka, while another dozen or so remained encamped at Bache. In response, Larsen urged that the police post at Bache be reopened and that several families of Canadian Inuit be encouraged to settle there. The Greenlanders' presence suggested that there would be ample wildlife and game.[20]

A report prepared that summer by James Cantley of the Eastern Arctic Patrol expanded on the idea. Noting that Inuit from Pond Inlet were already attached to the post at Craig Harbour, he suggested that more families might be "moved over...to live permanently." Apparently he had already consulted with the RCMP and had obtained their agreement to co-operate as long as "arrangements could be made to have the necessary supplies available" for trading purposes. He also suggested that if a similar arrangement could be made in the Cape Sabine (Bache) area, possibly six or eight families could be placed there, perhaps from the "overpopulated northern Quebec areas". This report, along with Larsen's, are the genesis of the Inukjuak resettlement plan. Although both make reference to implications for Canadian sovereignty, Cantley is explicit in identifying the Greenland threat:

The occupation of the island by Canadian Eskimos will remove any excuse Greenlanders may presently have for crossing over and hunting there. Using Craig Harbour and Cape Sabine as starting points, consideration might then be given to the possibility of finding employment for natives at Eureka and Alert, under the supervision of the Police, during the summer months.[21]
Not only is the wording comparable to the rationale described in the application for funding, but it clearly identifies the resettlement plans as a means of maintaining sovereignty by strengthening "effective occupation".

Discussion of the Greenlanders' presence and the possible transfer of Canadian Inuit to the region continued over the winter, but it was not until March 1953 that the Craig Harbour and Alexandra Fiord projects were submitted for approval to the Deputy Minister of Resources and Development.[22] That same month, an RCMP report to he Advisory Committee on Northern Development again confirms the sovereignty motive for the Cape Herschel (Alexandra Fiord) project.

 ...it is hoped by setting up a detachment at Cape Herschel to not only encourage the move of Canadian Eskimos into that part of Ellesmere Island, but to prevent or control the movement of Greenland natives on hunting excursions into Canadian territory.[23]
After approving funds for the projects, the deputy minister then notified the under-secretary of state to inform him of the pending arrival of Canadian Inuit to the Bache region and to request that the Danish authorities be contacted to assist in the removal of the Greenlanders "before any difficulties may arise through the intermingling of the two groups." The Danish authorities were notified in due course. [24] However, by the time the police arrived, the Greenlanders had already departed. Charles Ritchie of External Affairs was informed that the problem had been resolved.[25]

 Meanwhile, an embarrassing contradiction of policy surfaced when the northern administration reamed that the Defence Research Board had applied for a Scientists and Explorers licence for studies on Ellesmere, with plans to hire Thule Greenlanders and their dog-sleds. To the suggestion that Canadian Inuit might be hired instead, the chairman replied that the Greenlanders were more experienced and familiar with the field study group. Furthermore, he claimed that the Royal Canadian Air Force did not like to carry dogs but that the United States Air Force flying out of Thule was much more accommodating.[26]

 As it happened, the plans for Alexandra Fiord near Cape Herschel were modified when the C.C.S. d'Iberville was unable to reach the post owing to ice conditions in September 1953. The three families from Pond Inlet and Inukjuak returned to Craig Harbour where they stayed until the next summer. By 1954, the RCMP at Alexandra reported that food supplies were exceptionally scarce; as a result only one family (originally from Pond Inlet) would be sent north, bringing to two the total number employed at the post. [27] By 1956, game and fur resources were reported to have improved greatly, to the point that four families could be supported. Despite the fact that five Greenlander families arrived from Etah that summer, [28] the original plan to resettle southern Inuit there was abandoned. Apparently, certain influential members of the newly reorganized Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources (DNANR) did not consider the Greenlander issue as threatening to sovereignty as others had. [29] As a result, the Alexandra Fiord police post continued to be staffed by two "special constables" and their families until its closure in 1963. Craig Harbour, meanwhile, acquired the extra families and trading supplies originally destined for Alexandra Fiord. As the Hickling report suggests, the RCMP indeed participated "in the exercise of sovereignty", but the role of the Inuit was not incidental as was claimed. Priorities simply appeared to have changed after the project was underway.

 Sovereignty and Canadianization

The "Canadianization" policy was first adopted by Cabinet in 1943-44 when the government decided to reimburse the U.S. government for all construction costs of U.S. military installations on Canadian soil.[30] Another potentially serious challenge to arctic sovereignty occurred in 1946 when it was learned that the United States Air Coordinating Committee had suggested claiming any undiscovered islands for construction of arctic weather stations. Older histories do not refer to this incident, precisely because there was no public knowledge of the document until 1980, when it appeared in the Documents on Canadian External Relations, Volume 12. Since then, three published works make reference to its significance.[31]

 In the immediate postwar years, the concern to protect sovereign claims was intense, particularly in the Privy Council Office and Department of External Affairs. Until such time as sovereignty was assured beyond all reasonable doubt, the accepted policy was to avoid public statements which might create an opportunity for direct challenge. In addition, some believed that public assertion of Canada's claims would only imply doubts as to their validity.[32] Numerous legal and political assessments followed, but all had a very restricted distribution- "Top Secret", "Confidential", or "Classified". Comments ranged from concern that while "sovereignty over these regions have not heretofore been seriously challenged, they are at the best somewhat tenuous and weak",[33] to legal advice that it was "particularly important that the most northerly islands be occupied."[34]


While the debate continued in Ottawa, USAF Intelligence was studying the possibility of claiming uninhabited regions in Grantland (northern Ellesmere), and on Prince Patrick and Melville Islands, on the legal premise that "sovereignty cannot be claimed without a degree of effective occupation, colonization, and use." In apparent recognition that RCMP patrols might be sufficient evidence of "effective occupation", Melville Island was eliminated from the list, and Banks Island added. In the end, it was decided that this strategy would only be implemented should Canada refuse to co-operate in a time of crisis. Instead, the intelligence report suggested that Canada be assured "that the United States has no intention, now or in future, of claiming sovereignty over any section of the Canadian Arctic."[35]


Canada's counter-strategy to a potential threat was to use the joint defence agreements from 1947 onward to gain evidence of U.S. acceptance of Canada's sovereign title. At the same time, it became government policy to promote the "Canadianization" of all U.S. military operations by assuming responsibility for air bases and weather stations; utilizing the RCAF for mapping, reconnaissance, and rescue and supply missions; promoting Canadian arctic scientific expeditions; and encouraging the use of Canadian goods and personnel by U.S. contractors.[36] It was also critical to keep the extent of U.S. military operations from the media to prevent public criticism. As a result, the Canadian government applied strict censorship rules to all arctic military activities.[37] Thus, although statements such as "Canada was secure in her claims over the Arctic Islands...," were public reassurances, they did not signify any lack of continued concern about strengthening arctic sovereignty.


In 1948-49, there was minor concern when three new islands were discovered in the Foxe Basin, and again when it was learned that the "Canadianization" plan to take over military bases and weather stations had proceeded more slowly than expected. These and other events prompted the creation of the Advisory Committee on Northern Development (ACND) to "advise government on questions of policy relating to civilian and military undertakings in northern Canada and to provide for effective coordination of all government activities in that area."[38]


At the first five meetings, sovereignty concerns appeared to dominate the discussion, prompting numerous policy directives, such as encouraging the U.S. military services "to utilize Canadians in contract work", recommending full control over communication and supply lines, and urging the RCAF to play a more active role in the operation of remote air bases.[39] There were also construction and transportation sub-committees to deal with co-ordination of northern activities. Then, abruptly, the committee ceased to meet. There were a number of possible reasons: retirement of its chairman, Soviet detonation of an atomic test bomb, the outbreak of the Korean War, or perhaps the tighter security and censorship regulations now in force. Not until the fall of 1952 were there serious efforts to restore the meetings.


In December 1952, Under-Secretary of State Dana Wilgress wrote to his minister, the Hon. Lester B. Pearson, suggesting that in light of new U.S. defence plans, the government might wish to "re-Canadianize" the Arctic under the direction of the ACND and that consideration be given to the adoption of a "vigorous Canadian policy in all arctic services"[41] The following month, the secretary to the Cabinet wrote to the minister of citizenship and immigration, requesting some form of customs and immigration control in the Arctic.

 For some time there has been a tendency for foreign visitors, notably U.S. citizens, to regard the Arctic as a no-man's land. No legal objections to the exercise of Canadian sovereignty have been raised, but there is often an underlying assumption that in the Arctic the laws and rules of Canada, or indeed of any country, do not apply.[42]
Although Cabinet and External Affairs pressed for action, it was apparent that military representatives did not share the same concern about protecting arctic sovereignty. According to one report, the attitude stemmed from budget limitations and a new defence policy which made overseas NATO commitments a priority over "such intangibles as sovereignty or autonomy at home."[43]

 By Cabinet approval, the ACND was reconvened on 16 February 1953, on the premise that "policy in the Arctic warranted prompt and serious examination and should be kept under constant periodic review". The Prime Minister also made it known that he attached "urgent priority" to the issues under review.[44] The reporting structure of the committee was changed from its earlier format, with its secretariat now placed under the Ministry of Resources and Development. At the same time, the department was vested with the sole responsibility for co-ordinating government activities in the two northern territories.

 During the opening discussion, Secretary to the Cabinet Jack Pickersgill suggested that the most important issue to be addressed was "a seeming encroachment upon Canadian sovereignty." Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Charles Foulkes quickly denied the assertion, but Pickersgill urged that steps be taken "to ensure that civilian activities in the North were predominantly Canadian." Frustrated by lack of action in taking over the joint weather stations, he finally asked, "What was at the root of the problem of Canada not taking the initiative-personnel, salary limitations, the priority on departmental estimates for the Arctic?"[45] The challenge was to increase Canadian participation with limited manpower, technical expertise, and funds.

 As events unfolded, the "urgency" had less to do with the current situation than with the potential threat posed by plans now on the table. The United States North East Air Command had already increased its military and civilian personnel at the leased bases in Labrador and Newfoundland from approximately 3500 in March 1949 to more than 10 500 by September 1952.[46] For the next six months, U.S. defence proposals seemed to dominate the discussion. For example, at the May and June meetings the U.S. request for expanded facilities at the Frobisher air base was debated at great length, focusing on questions of sovereign authority and control, even with regard to Inuit employment.[47] Some U.S. generals believed Canadian reluctance to give quick approvals stemmed from politicians' fear of "public criticism". [48] While this is an oversimplification, it is also true that public sensitivity to arctic sovereignty caused the government to demand strict confidentiality and censorship regulations for reasons that had little to do with national security.[49] It was also the reason why sovereignty concerns were central to government discussions about the Arctic, but rarely mentioned in public unless there was a pending threat.

The Canadianization policy had a direct effect on the planned resettlement projects. At Resolute Bay, there were still "joint" Canadian-U.S. weather and radio stations, although the RCAF had taken over operation of the airfield in 1951. At this point, Canadians comprised a majority of the on-site personnel. Two years later the situation threatened to change with the announcement of plans for a new radar station at Resolute. With the proposed construction of a massive radar network, the traffic through Resolute would increase enormously. Four days after the February ACND meeting and the debate over Canadianization, the deputy minister of Resources and Development wrote the commissioner of the RCMP to request the reopening of the post so Inuit could be employed at the weather station. At the next ACND meeting, on 16 March, External Affairs distributed a report showing U.S. plans to construct a GCI radar station in the vicinity of Resolute.[50] It was hardly coincidental that on the same day, the director of the northern administration would revise his request for funding the resettlement projects to include Resolute.[51] At the same time, the RCMP suddenly changed their report to Cabinet to include the reopening of the Resolute post.[52] The sequence of events suggests that Canadianization discussions at the two ACND meetings had a direct influence on these decisions, verified by the fact that the deputy minister of Resources and Development chaired the meetings and the director of the northern administration was in attendance. Although there was no mention of the projects in the minutes of the meeting, it merely indicates the decision was internal to the department, with agreement by the RCMP to co-operate, but without discussion or approval by the ACND.

Sovereignty a Primary Motive?

The Hickling report assumes that the ACND was the likely body to inform Cabinet of any sovereignty concerns. According to the minutes, it was quite the reverse. Virtually all of the concern came from Cabinet and External Affairs. On the other hand, the secretary of the ACND was asked to write numerous reports on the status of arctic sovereignty (about one a year from 1953 to 1962). In 1958, for instance, he wrote that "Canadian title appears secure provided adequate steps are taken to maintain Canadian activities there and, in pace with increasing international interest in the Arctic, to augment these activities to provide evidence of continuing effecive occupation".[53] Of greater relevance is the 1956 report on sovereignty and Ellesmere Island. Included is a list of Canadian activities since 1950 that implied "effective occupation" and exertion of authority. Among the items were:


These references confirm that Inuit settlement was considered an important factor in maintaining sovereign control over Ellesmere.

 In the case of Grise Fiord and the aborted plans for Alexandra Fiord, concern for sovereignty was unquestionably the primary motive behind the initial idea and the selection of the site. The reason for Resolute being added to the original plans was directly related to the "Canadianization" discussions at the ACND meeting. Again the concern for maintaining sovereignty determined the time and place. Without that motive, there would be no perceived benefit to relocate southern Inuit to such a distant and alien environment. There would have been no experiment, no hardship, and no expensive costs in returning the Inuit to their traditional homelands. Concern for sovereignty was the primary motive in determining when and where resettlement should occur. The failure of the current federal government to recognize that fact seems inconceivable-an attempt to rewrite history. What has complicated the issue is the second motive involved, which was of little significance in determining time or place, but of primary importance in defining who would participate and what form the projects would take.


The Great High Arctic Resettlement Experiment

 A pioneer experiment to determine if Eskimos can be induced to live on the northern islands which, relics indicate, once supported a native population.  Director, Northern Administration, 16 March 1953   The experiment we are making this year is to transfer a fcw families from Port Harrison and Pond Inlet to Resolute Bay on Cornwallis Island and Craig Harbour and Cape Herschel, on Ellesmere Island. The primary object is to find out how Eskimos from overpopulated southern areas can adapt themselves to conditions in the high Arctic where there is at present no Eskimo population. Acting Deputy Minister, Department of Resources and Development, August 1953   Of particular interest is the transfer of Eskimo from areas where food resources are depleted to regions further north where oame is believed to be more plentiful. This experiment is being carried out by the Department of Northern Affairs and supervised by the R.C.M.P. detachments at Resolute, Craig Harbour, and Alexandra Fiord.  RCMP Report to Cabinet, March l 954  Originating from an idea to expand Inuit settlement into the relatively uninhabited areas of eastern Ellesmere Island, three High Arctic resettlement projects evolved into what some have charged were "human experiments" [55] or tests of adaptability and adjustment. References similar to the above appear in a variety o f correspondence, minutes, memos, and reports throughout 1953 and on into the next spring, indicating that the above statements were not one individual's interpretation or an unfortunate choice of words. In an other instance the term "transplant,' was used,[56] as if people were plants which could be moved to areas of better soil, or for aesthetic purposes. The analogy is perhaps too close to the truth, considering the projects' dual objectives of providing more food and creating an illusion of a Canadian-occupied Arctic.


For the most part, the term "experiment" was employed in the context of a "pilot study", (i.e., to see if the Inuit from northern Quebec would be agreeable to leave their traditional lands in return for more abundant food and fur in the High Arctic). If successful, then other resettlements were planned for subsequent years. Significantly, the word "experiment" was similarly used to describe other projects, such as the relocation of Inukjuak Inuit to thc Richmond Gulf area. [57] In this context, a pilot study might have been considered relatively benign if the Inuit had fully understood the terms, if there had been no undue risk of injury or death, if they were free to return whenever they wished, and if the project was planned for the benefit of the Inuit. However, even if the first three criteria were met, and it could be proven that the "experiment" had been designed initially for other purposes- such as to strengthen sovereignty claims-then the Inuit involved should have been compensated for their efforts. To date, there appears to be no other justification for the current government's sudden refusal to acknowledge the sovereignty issue.

Publicly, the projects were promoted as opportunities, yet the northern administration placed the onus on the Inuit to adapt to thc new environment, and delegated responsibility for their well-being to the RCMIP. In this respect, the police were equal participants in the experiment, often having to rely on their own ingenuity to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the Inuit. They were under explicit directions prepared by the administration that "every effort should be made to keep the Eskimos self-supporting and independent."[58] By March 1954, the reference to "the experiment" virtually disappeared from written documents, abruptly and without explanation. While there is no evidence of willful wrongdoing or malicious intent, the nature of the arrangements indicated apparent ignorance of responsibilities as set out in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (1948).

 As participants in the experiment, thc Inuit probably faced less risk to their physical health than would have been the case had they remained in Inukjuak. Contact with non-natives at Resolute unfortunately increased the incidence of infectious diseases, but at Grise Fiord, there were few evacuees during the first: five years. In fact, the Inuit state of health was remarked upon by health officials as quite extraordinary compared with other communities.[59] Medical advice was available by radio contact with Frobisher Bay, and mercy flights available from Thule in the case of an emergency, a distance no greater than from Inukjuak to Churchill. Fortunately far both the government and the Inuit, the efforts of the RCMP during the first years prevented any serious misfortune. Unfortunately, there were other flaws in the "experiment"-some serious, others less so. Together, the plans and preparations were not acceptable, even when measured by the standards of the 1950s.

 Terms and Conditions

Once the motive-sovereignty-had defined the location of resettlement on Ellesmere, there was a sudden switch of emphasis in the memos to the secondary motive-improved wildlife resources-to justify the projects. Aside from the RCMP, it is unlikely that any department would list a budget item under "sovereignty". Similarly, to have spent money on transportation to resettle Pond Inlet or Pangnirtung Inuit would have been irresponsible considering the more urgent health and welfare needs of Inuit throughout the Arctic. The ability to fund arctic resettlement would require a legitimate reason showing distinct benefits to the Inuit. The meagre food and fur supplies, overpopulation, and minimal opportunities for casual employment at Inukjualc provided an excellent opportunity. While there were dramatic increases in expenditures on health and education in the northern territories under direction of Deputy Minister Hugh Keenleyside from 1947 to 1950, for the next three years the budget was virtually frozen owing to military priorities related to the Korean War.[60] It was not until 1954, and the threat of an increased U.S. presence in the Arctic, that Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent again loosened the purse strings. In the final analysis, the projects should not have been implemented without full financial support for accommodation, equipment, and resident field officers. This occurred later, but in the first years, the RCMP provided the manpower, and the Inuit themselves were forced to fund the experiment through contributions to the Eskimo Loan Fund by way of profits from fur sales and store purchases. Did the benefits to the Inuit outweigh the risks? Those questions can only be answered by the Inuit themselves. The only clue in archival documents was a report from Grise Fiord in December 1954, stating that the Inukjuak Inuit had stated: they were "very happy to remain in this area"

 They also advised if sometime in the future they had to leave Craig Harbour due to the detachment closing down they would like to go elsewhere in the areas such as Dundas Harbour or Resolute Bay, rather than return to Port Harrison. Craig Harbour and surrounding county is their Garden of Eden.[61]
The report went on to say that the Pond Inlet families wished to return in a year or so to visit aging parents and relatives, and that both the Pond Inlet and Inukjuak Inuit had requested that their relatives be allowed to join them. While this would appear to disagree with current allegations, one must also remember that the Inuit men were the spokesmen and doubtless still excited with their successes in hunting and trapping.

 Officials claim the Inuit were willing volunteers; children of the "volunteers" now claim their parents were not. The onus was on the department to ensure that all "volunteers" fully: understood the terms. Given all the problems involved in comprehension of the unknown, language difficulties, and authority figures, it would be unlikely, if not impossible, to ensure reasonable understanding If officials had considered the ethics involved, they did not record them on paper for posterity. Those are questions for which answers must be sought in oral histories, not archival records. The only indication of serious concern came from Alex Stevenson, one of the originators of the idea (1950). Arriving at Inukjuak long before the departure date, he sought reassurance that the Inuit fully understood the situation. He was only able to find "two hunters", but was satisfied that they were fully cognizant of the details.[62] Significantly, there is no mention of questioning women or children.

 The four objectives outlined on the original submission for funding provides some clues as to the expectations of the officials in Ottawa who set out the terms and conditions of the projects.

  The first point merely gives a legitimate reason for funding. The last point verifies that the unwritten "sovereignty" objective was still the underlying rationale for the "experiment". various references throughout department files mention expansion to Eureka, Alert, and possibly Prince Patrick and Tsachsen if successful. Significantly, these were all joint Canadian3/4 U.S. weather stations.

 The second and third points are key to understanding the different expectations for Grise Fiord and Alexandra Fiord, compared with Resolute. The idea of returning to a "native way of life" is a romantic fantasy at best, or a "form of apartheid" at worst.[64] The use of the word "pioneer" suggests preparing the way, a settler breaking new ground, and stands as a curious contradiction to the concept of returning to a traditional life at the site of relics from a past settlement. (The fact that these failed to survive seems to have eluded the planners.) The most significant word is "induced"3/4 a word suggesting that the move would be against one's will or inclination.


The third point had intriguing possibilities, if the participants had been trained in advance and provided with clothing, food, and housing, equivalent to that of the non-natives they were to replace. The notions were idealistic, part of a frontier mentality perhaps, but creative thought seemed to end before the ink dried on the paper. Had the department assumed greater responsibility for pre-preparation in terms of outfitting and education, then the "experiment" might have been justified. As circumstances evolved, the department had neither the manpower, the funds, nor apparently the wisdom to have embarked upon such an adventure.

In terms of solving a socioeconomic problem, there were many other possibilities already underway. Other resettlement projects included funded transfers to Banks Island, the Sleeper Islands, the King George Islands, and the Richmond Gulf area, all in reasonable proximity to Inuit homelands. There were other economic measures recommended that summer, such as a government trading post at Herschel Island, boat building at Lake Harbour, organized hunts in Ungava Bay, construction of a workshop at Aklavik, repair of native boats at Tuktoyaktuk, and manufacture of clothing for resale. Projects under study included reindeer herding, sale of handicrafts, and collection and sale of eiderdown. [65] The opportunity for permanent employment at Churchill came a few months later. However, none left the Inuit to fend for themselves in an alien environment such as Grise Fiord and in a manner similar to a survival test.


The paternalism prevalent in the 1950s may explain why the Inuit were not offered a choice of destination, even though there were two distinctly different opportunities. Yet even here there is confusion. When the Inukjuak Inuit were interviewed, the destination was to be either Craig Harbour or Alexandra Fiord. Several families were interviewed at Kuujjuaq (Fort Chimo) for employment at Resolute. In the latter case, RCMP Inspector Larsen warned against sending them unless proper wooden homes were made available, comparable to those used at the former U.S. air base. Earlier, an RCMP officer had been sent to investigate conditions at Resolute and reported that accommodations would have to be built for the Inuit.[66] As a result, those from Kuujjuaq would eventually be offered employment at Churchill, while the Inuit from Inukjuak would arrive at Resolute with used tents. This also explains why only 10 of the planned complement of 15 families participated in the initial experiment.

 Inuit Freedom and the RCMP

The limitations on Inuit freedom during the first years were only partly due to geography. Department directives and policy were equally (if not more) prohibitive. Restrictions were most noticeable at Resolute where the department insisted that Inuit should not be allowed "white man's food" from the base, lest they become used to it, and that they should be prevented from visiting the base or the garbage dump. Restrictions were also indirect, as in the case of supplies sold at the store. The department even admitted that those ordered for the first year were only basic staples and that if the Inuit earned more than expected from fur sales, they should "set aside savings". Instructions to the police covered the possibility that store goods might run out, stating that "each family should be allowed to purchase only what they may reasonably require for their current needs." There were other restrictions placed on the Inuit. Even at Resolute and at Grise Fiord, there were strict orders that the Inuit camp must be set up "away from the settlement". Ironically, in the same directive sent to both locations, the experiment was defined as a test "to determine [if the Inuit] can adapt themselves to conditions."[67] In essence, the Inuit were forced to adapt to the regulations defined by the department. Fortunately, the police, who had no power to change them, at times circumvented the illogical rules through their own initiative.


Once the Inuit set foot on the boat, they were locked into a controlled experiment over which they had no means of escape for two years (according to their understanding). This was one fact even the police could not change, although it was reported that at least one constable arranged for passage on an RCMP plane to take Inuit home to visit sick relatives.[68] Any permanent move had to be approved by the department. However, in 1958, three young men from Grise Fiord travelled by dog sled to Resolute (with police support and approval) to look for wives. The successful sled journey also set a precedent that backfired when three or more families subsequently requested to move to Resolute upon hearing about the employment and social amenities offered at the base. The police, out of genuine fear of overpopulating the area and destroying the wildlife resources, attempted to discourage them from going, but stated that they were not prepared to prevent them from doing so.[69] In this regard, the experiment proved that the majority of Inuit did not prefer long-term isolation from white communities or the more primitive life of their ancestors.


If the department had to rely on the RCMP for manpower, they also had to rely on the Inuit to fund the experiment. The means of circumventing the lack of funds was essentially to have the Inuit pay for the store and its operations out of the community's trapping successes. This occurred in two ways: first from the purchase of high-mark-up goods, and, second, through net profits acquired by the department after sale of furs at the auction. In this respect, both the police and the Inuit, the "human participants" in the experiment, were exploited by the department whose actual contribution to the project was relatively small in comparison. The grave injustice in 1990 was the government's implication that the Inuit were not telling the truth, and the inference that, if there were to be any blame assigned, it should fall on the shoulders of the RCMP.


The natural question is why the police should accept the terms of the agreement. The answer, as comical as it may sound, was "duty". Not only were the police responsible for the well-being of the Inuit in the field, but they were also officially responsible for upholding and reinforcing sovereignty in the Arctic. Obliged by both a political and moral imperative inherent in the objectives of the projects, they were also caught in the dilemma of a third mandate: to prevent the exploitation of Inuit by non-natives.[70] During the first five years of the experiment, the local police did make a serious attempt to make recommendations and suggest changes in policy. By the time they worked through the channels of command, up in the RCMP establishment and down through the departmental bureaucracy, they were usually either lost, disregarded, or, if necessary, disclaimed.


The department's dependency on the police was clear at the outset, according to a letter sent the commissioner requesting that the RCMP reopen the post at Resolute Bay:

 It would be possible to establish these small settlements only with your co-operation, as there is no one else at these places who could assist these people in adjusting themselves to new conditions.... We could not consider placing Eskimos at Resolute Bay unless we had someone to look after them and direct their activities.[71]
Curiously, there are no records of any discussion about measures to avoid undue hardship. It was simply left to the discretion of the police in the field who had no input into the ordering of supplies for the first year, no flexibility in the operation of the government stores, and no say in the means or timing of transportation. They did have input in ordering supplies for subsequent years, but there were many occasions when requests were ignored or shipments "lost" en route.


Of all directly involved in 1953, there was one official, Alex Stevenson, who apparently tried to ensure proper preparations were in order. However, his primary responsibility was in the field, and he had no part in the ordering of store supplies. He did express serious concerns about morale during the long, dark winters, based on his previous experience with the Cape Dorset migration, and urged adequate supplies of stone and ivory for carving. [72] When at Inukjuak in June 1953, he also gave explicit instructions to the local constable to supply out of relief whatever clothing and equipment was necessary "until such time that the supplies at their destination can be opened up."[73] There is no proof that this actually occurred. More importantly, there was no record of co-ordination or communication between the official who ordered the supplies and the police who were directly responsible for distributing them. Thus, the local constables in charge of Grise Fiord had no instructions (unless delivered verbally) until they were hand-delivered with the arrival of the supplies and the Inuit.[74] Although there appeared to be a particularly good rapport between officials and the RCMP in Ottawa, many memos and reports reflect differences of opinion between those in the field and those behind desks in Ottawa.


There may be another underlying factor involved, arising from apparent tension between the police and certain members of the northern administration over the monopoly position of the Hudson's Bay Company and the responsibility for distribution of family allowances and relief. In 1951, James Cantley, an officer in the Arctic Services Division, suggested transferring all responsibility for issuing family allowances, relief, and old age allowances to the Hudson's Bay Company. RCMP methods of distribution, he claimed, had contributed to loss of initiative among Inuit and growing dependency on relief and family allowances. Inspector Larsen of the RCMP, on the other hand, advocated establishment of a Crown Trading Company to overcome what he believed was exploitation by private enterprise. Neither suggestion was acted upon.[75] However, it should be noted that the official who denounced the RCMP was also the same individual who ordered the first year's supplies for the High Arctic trading posts.


In 1953 there was open revolt against departmental policy at Frobisher Bay, when a police constable created a trust account system to deal with cash wages paid to the Inuit by the USAF, then used his own money to set up a trading store to provide an alternative to the Hudson's Bay Company. Cantley was particularly indignant and demanded a review of all RCMP involvement:


 Despite the agreement reached by the Committee on Eskimo Affairs that Eskimo Trade should be left to private enterprise... the R.C.M. Police have continued to openly express themselves as unalterably opposed to the Hudson's Bay Company being allowed to continue in the Arctic, and to advocate the establishment of a government trading organization or Eskimo co-operatives....Their feeling seems to be that they are at least equally responsible as this Department for Eskimo welfare and that they are not obliged to follow the lead of Resources and Development unless it is in line with their own ideas.[76]

Under new leadership, department policy eventually changed, and the constable in question was reimbursed and praised for his efforts. The angry memo is only significant in that its date roughly coincided with the author's ordering of supplies for the arctic projects. As detailed later, the supervisory role of the RCMP was often made doubly difficult by seemingly unreasonable directives and inadequate supplies and equipment. It is purely speculative, but one must question whether there was a hidden experiment involved (in at least one individual's mind) which would test the ability of the RCMP to carry out their operation of the government stores as effectively as the Hudson's Bay Company.


The RCMP memos and reports[77] provided unexpected insight into the process and expectations of the experiments, and often reflected more concern about the Inuit than appeared in the correspondence of the northern administration. The annual reports prepared by the police on "Eskimo conditions" were essentially progress reports which included names and disk numbers, productivity, assessment of self-reliance and initiative, physical and mental status, condition of their clothing and homes, and whether they wished to return home. These reports also indicate what the department wanted to know about police involvement (e.g., Did they encourage the Inuit to save? Did they promote self-reliance? Did they keep costs at a minimum? Did they protect the resources of the area from over-hunting?).


The Resolute Bay reports and related correspondence reveal an inflexible list of "do note", related to fraternizing, offering gifts or handouts, allowing the Inuit to loiter, giving them "white man's" food, allowing off-season hunting, assisting them in building their homes, or permitting the Inuit near the garbage dump. The last complaint evoked a restrained, "tongue-in-cheek" reply from the constable in charge, who noted that many foxes were caught in traps set at the garbage dump, that the Inuit stoves were supplied from scrap wood from the dump, and that the building used as a church and school, and for the preparation of skins, had been constructed from discarded packing cases. The inquiry about a CBC television broadcast which showed the Inuit at the RCAF base receiving gifts at a Christmas party elicited similar reaction. Constable Gibson replied that the television crew had found the lighting so poor in the "jerry-rigged" building at the native camp that they had invited the Inuit to the base. Gifts were handed out, worth a total of $45 and paid for out of the constable's own pocket.[78] It would appear that the supervisors of the "experiment" were not to influence the results by violating the rules laid down by the director.

 Criticisms and Denials

 Most visitors to Resolute during the first year were critical of the northern administration's policies. Arriving shortly after the Inuit, Gordon W. Stead, Special Assistant to the Deputy Minister of Finance, and his regular representative at the meetings of the Advisory Committee on Northern Development, made the following observation:

Where Military camps and Eskimo villages are adjacent, the Eskimos tend to be turned into "camp followers". The different moral bases of the two societies tend to exercise a harmful influence on both; junior members of the Armed Forces attempt to get a corner on the out put of handicrafts and so forth. The ad hoc approach that presently passes for policy falls between the two stools. The reasons for moving this family are grounded in an attempt to keep the Eskimo in his native state and to preserve that culture as primitive as it is. However, by moving the Eskimos to an area where they come into intimate contact with White men destroys the basis of this reasoning while leaving them untrained to cope with the problems presented by this contact.[79]

Stead also pointed to the inadequacy of current policies and even suggested that the existing membership of the Committee on Eskimo Affairs did not have the ability or training to come up with the necessary solutions. He advised the government to concentrate on retraining programs, new schools, and greatly expanded health services. rather than on resettlement schemes.


Stead was not alone in his doubts about the project. The northern affairs officer who accompanied him thought the Inuit would become "camp fringe dwellers, combing refuse dumps and looking for handouts", and stated that he did not believe the experiment would work.[80] A member of the ACND secretariat visiting two months later complained about poor planning and preparation.[81] The commanding officer of the RCAF Air Transport Command argued that the proposal "had not been discussed at the proper levels nor has the plan been formalized in a way that would guarantee some success."[82] The deputy minister of national defence, C.M. Drury, agreed, stating that problems "might have been avoided if this department had been represented at some of your preliminary discussions on this experiment."[83] Six months later, he claimed the Inuit at Resolute had "become, more or less, wards of the RCAF detachment." Although the northern administrators protested that he had been misinformed, they apparently took note of his suggestion that a representative of the administration be posted to the base "for the purpose of administering and directing the Eskimos involved in the experiment."[84] Shortly thereafter, northern service officers were appointed to several of the communities.


Considering the criticism, one might ask why the projects were not suspended and the Inuit returned home after conditions appeared to improve in northern Quebec. Part of the problem was financial. Transport to Ellesmere and Cornwallis was only feasible because the supply ship stopped at Inukjuak en route. It did not return south via Hudson Bay. Added to the embarrassment of admitting error or failure, the cost of a boat or plane charter was likely prohibitive unless declared an emergency. As a result, the administration acceded to requests to have relatives and friends join them in hopes the Inuit would choose to remain. Costs were taken out of the Eskimo Loan Fund and repaid by the Inuit through the government trading stores. There would have been no method of recovering the costs of a return trip home once the government trading posts were shut down.


With the creation of the Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources in 1954, the whole concept of resettlement came under debate and study, especially in regard to assessment of wildlife resources. Cancellation of the Alexandra Fiord project in 1956, and withdrawal of plans for Alert, Eureka, Mould Bay, and Isachsen indicated that High Arctic resettlement was no longer favored. Plans proposed for a settlement at Dundas Harbour and the reopening of the RCMP post were also abandoned. In this instance, one official expressed relief; evidently the USAF had already indicated its intention to use Devon Island for photo-flash bombing practice that summer.[85]


Considering the multiple objectives used to explain the projects, there appear to be unwritten motives as well: a solution to rising relief costs, utilization of the sovereignty issue to create a political imperative obliging the RCMP to provide supervision, and the designation of the project as a "test" or "experiment" to avoid long-term and heavy financial commitment. Added together, the motive underlying all three was to resolve a difficult problem with minimum expense or effort by the department. On two counts they succeeded in achieving their objective; the third backfired with a reverberation lasting more than 25 years.

Preliminary Report on Selected Families and Status of Their Equipment*

 From Inakjuak:


Family [F]: 3 hunters (including 2 sons), wife, daughter, step daughter, 1 sled, 6 dogs, 2 rifles, 2 shot guns, 1 tent, no traps, 1 kayak

 Family [Jl: 1 hunter, wife and child (to use equipment of above family)

 Family [P]: 1 hunter, wife and 2 children 1 sled, 4 dogs, 2 rifles, 1 shotgun, 50 traps, 1 tent, 1 kayak

Family [S]: 1 hunter, wife 1 son 2 daughters, 1 sled, 5 dogs 2 rifles, 20 traps, 1 tent, 1 kayak

Family [S2]: 2 hunters (brothers), 1 wife, 1 grandmother, 1 sled, 7 dogs, 2 rifles, 1 tent, 1 kayak

 Family [T]: 1 hunter, wife, 3 sons, no sled, 3 dogs, 1 rifle 15 traps, 1 tent, 1 kayak

 Family [A]: 1 hunter, wife, 3 sons and 1 daughter, 1 sled, 5 dogs, 1 rifle, 20 traps, 1 tent, 1 kayak

 From Pond Inlet: (no boats listed)

 Family [A1]: 1 hunter, wife and 3 children, 1 sled, 11 dogs, 1 rifle, 40 traps, 1 seal net, 1 fish net, 1 tent

 Family [A2]: 1 hunter, wife and 3 children, 1 sled, 14 dogs, 3 rifles, 40 traps, 1 tent

 Family [A3]: 1 hunter, wife and 4 children 1 sled, 13 dogs, 3 rifles 90 traps, 1 seal net, I tent.


* list was modified from original police reports prior to departure to take in account later police reports on what did not arrive.

 Bureaucratic Blunders

Relying upon RCMP reports to assess the wildlife resources was likely a reasonable approach in the case of Craig Harbour, where the police were already familiar with the terrain and the migration patterns of wildlife. Initially, there was no shortage of food or fur, and it was interesting to note that the Inukjuak hunters claimed they had never before seen caribou.[86] The plan to send a similar group to Alexandra Fiord some 250 miles to the north, with the two police constables arriving almost simultaneously to set up their post, was quite a different matter. The assumption that there would be an abundance of food, based on the existence of previous Greenlander camps, did not take into consideration the amount of wildlife already depleted or the reasons for the Greenlanders' departure. Whether by good luck or good fortune, ice conditions prevented the Inuit families from reaching the isolated post as planned. Subsequent scouting by police officers failed to locate any source of food until spring, and it was two years before they reported that the area could support three or four Inuit families.[87] A possible disaster had been averted, not through the wisdom of the project's planners, but by ice conditions in September.

 A major factor contributing to the problems encountered in 1953 was possibly the limited time allowed for preparation. The first senior-level request for co-operation from the RCMP was written on 20 February[88], four days after the plea by the secretary of the Cabinet to "Canadianize" all civilian activities in the Arctic. The three projects were submitted on 16 March and approved early the next month.[89] At that time, the deputy minister wrote Extemal Affairs to inform them of the continued presence of Greenlanders on Ellesmere, and suggested that the Danish government be asked to help remove them before arrival of the Canadian Inuit.[90] The first messages sent to police detachments at Inukjuak, Kuujjuaq, and Pond Inlet seeking interested volunteers were dated 18 April. The first reply was received from the Kuujjuaq post eight days later.[91] As of 13 May, however, there was no report from Inukjuak or Pond Inlet, nor was there any idea of numbers or the state of Inuit equipment and health. In a reply to the RCMP commissioner, the deputy minister of Resources and Development suggested that "when we have received replies from detachments at Port Harrison [Inukjuak] and Pond Inlet, we can then go more fully into the whole matter and decide from which areas we should draw for the initial experiment."[92]


Without any knowledge of who, how many, or the state of their equipment, the supply order was placed on 15 May. The orders were identical for the three posts, with only the ammunition order held back pending reports on the type of guns owned by the Inuit.[93] Here, undoubtedly, was the crux of the problem. Reports verifying the number of Inuit volunteers from Inukjuak and Pond Inlet were sent on 23 May, arriving on 26 May, but no changes were made to meet the needs of the southern Inuit.[94]


From the telegram detailing the family numbers and their equipment, it was immediately apparent that those from Inukjuak had grossly inadequate equipment compared with those from Pond Inlet.[95] One tent was to be shared by two families, for a total of six adults and three children. Another hunter who arrived with a wife and child had no sled and only three dogs. The prospects for survival appeared dismal. Freight requirements and transportation costs were estimated at $6000. Under separate arrangements, the RCMP would hire three families from Pond Inlet for permanent employment at their posts.[96]


Aside from the last-minute shipping orders, other problems emerged. From the beginning, it was assumed that the RCAF and the weather station at Resolute would offer employment opportunities, but it was not until 15 June that the deputy minister got around to writing his counterparts in Transport and National Defence to inquire about possibilities.[97] On 27 July, after the Inuit were already on board ship, a reply from the weather service indicated that employment opportunities with the Department of Transport were very unlikely since plans were afoot to move the meteorological facilities onto the air base.[98] The reply from C.M. Drury, Deputy Minister of National Defence, was more discouraging. Drury claimed his officers at Air Force Headquarters shared serious concerns about the whole proposal, believing that "the experiment will result in hardship on the Eskimo families concerned and that the RCAF will likely be faced with the problem of tendering care for which they are unprepared." Aware that the Inuit were already en route, he still urged that a meeting be called "as quickly as possible" to discuss the matter.[99] The formal instructions to the local RCMP were immediately amended to delete all reference to employment at Resolute.[100]


Attached to Drury's letter was a long and very thoughtful memo from the commanding officer to his chief of air staff. The air officer's criticism was harsh, and delivered in hope of further consultation before going ahead with the project. Unaware he was too late, he stated he was "very much against the proposed program", and outlined plans which might be taken for the benefit of the Inuit and, ultimately, the RCAF. He suggested that proper schooling be made available in both basics and skills, that proper housing be erected for single workers and families, and that "proper food and clothing should be provided for the whole family. A situation such as at Frobisher where the working Eskimo eats white man's food and on the sly takes the left-over home to his family is not acceptable." Emphasizing that he did not wish to hinder programs to help the Inuit, he felt that current practices only made the situation worse and would cost "hundreds and thousands of dollars on medical attention, mercy missions and transportation to help them", unless the project were properly planned and executed.[101]


The consequences were as the air commander predicted. According to the constable in charge of the interviews, there had not been adequate time to interview the families in Inukjuak. Moreover, the best candidates were already out hunting.[102] While Stevenson had instructed that clothing and supplies for the trip be supplied out of relief rations and distributed aboard ship, no record was found confirming this was done. There was supposedly a $5000 appreciation for expenses of the transfer,[103] but there are no details as to how it was spent, if it was spent, or whether it was merely applied to freight expenses or food costs on the boat. One fact is clear: the Inuit from Inukjuak arrived with inadequate clothing and equipment for life in the High Arctic.


The supply order for Resolute also promoted criticism, this time by a member of the department. He was particularly incensed at the quality of the supplies received, and the longer list of goods which did not arrive. There were costly items, such as 95 pounds of butter at $1 a pound, and only 124 pounds of lard at 25 cents. Other absurdities included:

The "missing" list was more revealing: no rifles; no oil lamps or wash tubs; no cotton drill, denim, or duffel cloth for making parkas; no stone or ivory for carving; no tent material for repairs or lumber; and no medical supplies. When shown the `'snow knives" sent, the Inuit had laughed. Some articles had been ordered, then mysteriously disappeared, representing an estimated $2000 out of a total of $5000. The official also found the prices to be unduly inflated and the quality of some goods inferior.[104]


When the new deputy minister of Northern Affairs asked the director to explain the shortages and the high mark-up of goods, the reply in late January 1954 was defensive and indignant. He claimed that some items, such as the lumber, had been wrongly billed to Craig Harbour and delivered there, but police reports contain no communication to this effect. Their cable requesting lumber for tent frames and floors would appear to confirm that the wood had never arrived. With regard to the mark-up of 25 per cent, this was declared necessary to "provide a small profit being made on local sales."[105] An earlier assessment had been prepared by the head of arctic services, but apparently not forwarded to the deputy minister. This was a long memo, which claimed the order was standard for all posts. His arguments were even less convincing. As an example, his reply to the omission of wash tubs was that Inuit did not wash in winter. Perhaps even more revealing was the justification of the mark-up policy. He claimed there was only a 10 per cent mark-up on staple necessities, but a 40 per cent mark-up on all luxury goods to discourage the Inuit from purchasing them. [106]


Admittedly, freight problems might be expected, but the officials responsible should have had sufficient knowledge of probable delays, site conditions, and shipping problems, and should have taken steps to avoid such incidents. In any "experiment", one would have expected that the utmost care would be taken to supply the best equipment and suitable clothing. As a result of the haste and bureaucratic bumbling, the ill-conceived plan was off to a very dubious start.

 Unnecessary Hardships

 Hardships began when the Inuit boarded the C.D. Howe. Although the woman who gave birth en route likely had better medical care than she would have received at Inukjuak, [107] it was a long and cramped existence for the next five to six weeks. Special "native quarters" were set aside for the Inuit and their dogs.[108] The patrol officials ate a full course noon day meal at a cost of 80 cents charged to the department; the Inuit were fed "4 hard tack biscuits with paper cups of tea" for 40 cents. Even the movies shown displayed complete insensitivity, as in the example of a railroad building epic with the Indians as villains and "all unattractive characters that got shot up or beaten".[109]


Tired from the long boat trip, they were expected to set up camp and find food for themselves and their hungry dogs. There was little time to cache meat supplies before winter set in, or to trap furs for credit at the store. As a result, one constable urged that in future, "the men at least should be flown to Resolute from Churchill to shorten the lengthy trip." RCAF North Stars, he noted, "flew in weekly during the summer." The officials in Ottawa who planned the projects appeared to have had little knowledge about the Inuit state of health, the condition of their clothes and equipment, or the necessities required for survival in their new environment. The local police, on the other hand, appeared to have had no advance knowledge that the officials would be so uninformed. Nor did they have the authority to insist on changes of policy or plans. Their instructions were detailed, even With respect to the sale of goods. All "relief" would have to be fully justified and every penny accounted for.[111] When police sent telegrams ordering more supplies, only those considered a dire emergency would arrive before the annual visit of the supply ship. Unless life threatening, requests from remote Craig Harbour could be ignored; it was more difficult at Resolute where the RCAF could report to their superiors.


At Resolute, no sooner had they arrived on the beach, but the ship departed, leaving the lone constable and his charges to move the supplies up to the base. The Inuit set up their tents on the beach and searched the base garbage dump for scraps of wood to heat their wood stoves. There was no available boat transport, nor would there be until next summer when a new propeller arrived for the police boat. The report of a visiting official speaks for itself:

 In addition to the four Eskimo homes there is a small wooden building which the Eskimo built from old packing crates under the guidance of Constable Gibson. This will be used as a workshop, school, church, and as a place to dry skins. At the moment the families are living in tents banked with snow....
 No site had been previously chosen for the Eskimo settlement, no quarters had been arranged for Constable Gibson and no storage space had been provided for the supplies for the Eskimo store. The Eskimo tents were in very bad condition, but no new tents or repair material were sent to Resolute:
 Constable Gibson has had to ask for quarters for himself, storage space for his supplies, transportation for the supplies from the beach to the storehouse, and building material for the wooden building which was put up at the Eskimo settlement. He is now attempting to borrow a rifle from the R.C.A.F. so that one of the Eskimos can continue to hunt. If there is any accident or sickness he must immediately ask the R.C.A.F. station for medical supplies.[112]
  The official claimed that if the "experiment is successful, it will be owing primarily to good luck and to the resourcefulness of Constable Gibson."

Reports spanning the next three years would agree with this view. As expected, the constable initially took the Inuit out on hunting trips to scout the area, but he also helped them set up camp, checked all families every other day, and taught school during the long, dark winter months.[113] For his efforts, Gibson was continually defending himself against suggestions that he might be fraternizing with the Inuit and maybe even allowing them white man's food on hunting trips.[114] It would appear that the police could supervise and report, but they were not to show compassion or friendship lest it encourage laziness.


The isolation at Grise Fiord created a different physical and psychological experience. Moreover, there were no visitors to report on conditions until the arrival of the supply boat a year later. The situation can only be measured through the wires and memos from the Craig Harbour detachment. Here, and in a later report, the Inukjuak Inuit on arrival were described as dispirited and in poor health, inadequately clothed, their tents and equipment in poor repair, their dogs too few in number and weak. Fortunately, the constable in charge was experienced with Inuit customs and language, familiar with the area, and better prepared for the Inuit arrival. Meat was distributed from the police cache; store food equipment, and gasoline were supplies from relief rations; and telegrams dispatched to order caribou skins to make proper winter clothing for the hunters. [115] The administration sent reindeer skins which are considered far too stiff for clothing.


The police were also given explicit instructions to locate the camp al a distance from the police post, and ta take precautions against depleting the area's resources.[116] Before transporting the families, their dogs, and equipment to a site 40 miles away, the police took the hunters on several scouting expeditions to secure food and caribou skins, and to instruct them on basic conservation measures. They also provided the Inuit with basic rations from the store, and loaned them an old trap boat and motor. Gas was supplied out of "destitute". Once they were settled, the police returned to their post and waited. [117]


While harsh and seemingly cruel, the strategy to promote independence appeared to have succeeded. A month later, the Inuit returned to the police post to trade furs and ivory carvings for store rations. They appeared in goad health and had exceeded all expectations in hunting and trapping. On their return, however, they were delayed by bad weather and lost some supplies when a sled slipped through the ice. The men, women, and children at Grise Fiord somehow survived the winter, but not without unnecessary hardship. The snow was not adequate to build snow houses as planned, but it was RCMP headquarters that responded to the urgent telegram and sent buffalo skins to place on top of the tents for extra protection. The police also supplied old magazines to line the interior walls for further insulation. [118]


As December approached, the police realized that the women and children had inadequate clothing for the arctic winter. They cabled for more caribou skins. Requests were also cabled for soapstone to help relieve morale problems during the long winter without sun, and for scrap lumber to build tent frames and floors. The skins were dropped later in the new year, but the soapstone would have to await the summer supply ship.[119] The lumber was issued next summer from supplies which had been stored for the Alexandra post store, and the cost apparently applied against the account of the Grise Harbour store.[120] Despite the adverse living conditions, only one Inuk complained about the site and the fact that he could not see in his tent during the winter. He alone was the one who had refused to answer when asked whether he wished to remain, stating he would decide in the summer. He died later that year, apparently from a heart attack.[121]


Throughout the period there were signs of frequent tension between the northern administration and the local police, mostly related to the department's policy of minimal expenditure. This was particularly evident in the case of the loaned police boat. Initially, one junior official suggested the department might purchase a boat for the Inuit. This suggestion was soon reversed, however, with instructions that the Inuit should be encouraged to pay for a whale boat at a cost of $1 500. The police offered their boat for the paltry sum of $75, and noted that it might be earned out of wages for assisting the police patrols or unloading supplies. At one point, the constable suggested the police simply donate their used boat. The department remained firm. There were to be no hand-outs.[122]


Over the next two years, the Inuit at both Grise Fiord and Resolute seemed to prosper. That they did so, was a tribute to their patience, endurance, and excellent hunting skills, and to the efforts of the police in facilitating the transition. For both communities, it was not simply a matter of adjusting to a new physical environment, but to a new socioeconomic situation as well. If the northern administration, in all their wisdom, believed that the "new life" was truly a "better life", they might have provided more assistance-out of humanity and compassion, if nothing else.

Financial Irregularities

The first query about government policy concerning wages came from the Resolute police in 1954. Inspector Larsen followed this up with a letter to the director, questioning the refusal to pay wages owed to the Inuit by the RCAF and DOT "either in cash or goods from the Eskimo trading store." At present, suggested Larsen, "the whole of their wages goes to your Department to help pay off the Eskimo Traders' loan account". Instead, he contended, each Inuit should be paid individually for their labour.[123] This problem was soon corrected when the police simply applied individual credits on the store ledger, instead of forwarding the accounts to the administration. Years passed before it was admitted that the creation and practices of the government stores had come about under "unusual circumstances".[124]


In one instance, it was reported that the Inuit refused wages. The constable at Grise Fiord related how the Inuit from Inukjuak had not requested payment for helping unload cargo from the supply ship, but had "told the member in charge they did not want and were not looking for payment as they were being helped and treated fairly all the time. They advised they would rather return favour for favour rather than receive payments for small jobs done."[125] There are, of course, no Inuit records to verify this account.


The Resolute constable had a different complaint which focused on the high mark-up on store goods. He argued that the Inuit should not be required to fund the government trading post which already received ample profits from fur sales. The department disagreed, claiming that any departure from existing policy would put them in unfair competition with the Hudson's Bay Company.[126] There were other criticisms. Each trapper was credited with a fixed price for his furs, regardless of the value received at the annual fur auction. All profits supposedly were added to the Eskimo Loan Fund which was used to purchase supplies for government stores. Long after the initial loan had been repaid, however, the Inuit of Grise Fiord continued to add to the growing credit in the fund through fur profits and high mark-ups.[127]


The Grise Fiord detachment persisted in arguing that the Inuit were not receiving full value for their pelts compared to the price obtained at the fur auctions. One study showed that in the 1958-59 season, the Inuit were paid a total of $6140 for their fox pelts based on the fixed price set by the northern administration. These same pelts were resold for $17 953.65 providing the department with close to a 200 per cent profit. To make it worse, the set price per pelt was between $10 and $15 less than that paid by the Hudson's Bay Company.[128] This practice finally ended in 1960, when government stores were fumed into Inuit-owned co-operatives. Meanwhile, the Inuit at Resolute and Grise prospered despite the apparent injustices-a tribute to their ability as hunters and trappers.

 Promises and Expectations

 The charge that the terms of the project had not been clearly explained is virtually impossible to prove by historical documents, but as the Hickling report concluded, there is ample evidence that the Inuit were told they could return after two or three years if they wished. There were many reports that the Inuit wanted to return for a visit, but not permanently. In the words of one constable:

 "They do however from time to time express their desire to return to friends and relations at Port Harrison. They wish only to return to Harrison for one year. The writer believes they were promised by the Department they could return at the end of a given time."[129]

There is no question a return guarantee was given, but archival documents are less clear to what extent the Inuit were actively discouraged from resuming. Milton Freeman in his study on Grise Fiord claims that "subsequent efforts to return by members of both groups [Pond Inlet and Inukjuak] were officially opposed."[130] Others, including Professor Peter Kulchyski, who is currently working on a more comprehensive study of resettlement policy, confirmed this opinion.[131]


Perhaps of greater significance is the fact that there was no easy means of returning to Inokjuak. According to a constable at Grise Fiord from 1955 - 1959, the Inuit from northern Quebec were essentially travelling on a "one-way ticket". While the annual supply ships stopped at Inukjuak, then Churchill, before heading to the High Arctic, the homeward trip bypassed the entire Hudson Bay region on its way to Montreal. Thus the return of even one family with their dogs and equipment would have necessitated a plane charter from Resolute to Churchill where other arrangements would be required to reach Inukjuak. Presumably, the cost could not be justified unless the project itself was considered a complete failure.[132] There is no indication that the department had ever considered the logistics of the promised return when planning the project.


Apparent in most requests to return to Inukjuak was the desire to be near friends and relatives in other words, "homesickness", a malady affecting most immigrants the world over. The Inuit people may have been traditionally "nomadic", yet by custom, they inevitably resumed to their home base after two or three years. From all accounts, the RCMP appeared particularly sympathetic and helped by writing letters, arranging for telephone calls, and making special arrangements to visit the sick or aging family members. Still, the limited earnings from fur sales and the meagre wages paid at Resolute were not adequate to fund regular visits home.


Of more serious concern was the charge by both Freeman and Richard Diubaldo that at least one individual appeared to have been pressured to relocate.[133] With the exception of one hunter reluctant to commit to the project, there are no accounts in archival documents of coercion from 1953 to 1960. That does not, however, prove that such incidents did not take place.


The Experiment in Retrospect


Despite the hardships experienced on arrival, the Inuit hunters appeared pleased with the abundance of game and fur animals in the first few years. Several accounts refer to their pride in accomplishment, high morale, increased self reliance, and signs of planning for the future. Without the help and intervention of the local RCMP, their fate might have been quite different. The supervisory role of the police fostered an attitude which might be considered patronizing by today's standards, but one which often reflected a deep affection and empathy for the Inuit. Especially at Grise Fiord, the experimental nature of the project encouraged a symbiotic relationship between the police and the Inuit in which the success of one party was predicated on the success of the other. As part of their assignment, the police were responsible for preventing "material exploitation of the Eskimos by Whites."[134] Some police took their mandate seriously, even if it meant defending the rights of the Inuit against the policies and practices of the northern administration. There were other concerns as well. Both the RCAF and the Canadian Weather Service had suggested advanced training to prepare the Inuit for meaningful employment. The U.S. had a different view. In describing possible employment at Resolute, the U.S. Weather Bureau suggested that the Inuit might prove very useful "for carrying out arduous chores such as hauling ice, pumping water, handling fuel drums, cleaning up the station areas, assisting with cargo and supply caching, assisting in lighting temporary runway flares for landing aircraft...." This would be especially useful, according to the chief of the bureau, to relieve the skilled and higher-paid staff for more important work.[135] This solution might have provided the department with a solution to the problem of destitution, but it would give critics today clear evidence of discrimination and exploitation.


Conflicting purposes often stalemated innovative plans and ideas to involve the Inuit in northern development. The ACND was successful in co-ordinating transportation and public works projects, but in reviewing the minutes of meetings from 1953 through 1956, it was readily apparent that the military plans had high priority around which other departments were required to adjust their schedules. Many good ideas came forward for discussion in northern affairs, but there was relatively little action compared with what was required.


In 1958, R.A.J. Phillips suggested that resettlement "without the aid of resource studies was a risky procedure", and he urged caution. "Owing to past disasters, settlements in areas of poor or no communication or transportation must be avoided."[136] Attitudes in the department were maturing, with more progressive views replacing the traditional paternalism. Had there been no military activities in the Arctic, the situation might have been more manageable. As it happened, rapidly changing circumstances and subsequent demands only made a complicated problem virtually impossible.


It was much later, after hundreds of thousands of dollars had been expended for health and education facilities, that agitation to return to northern Quebec began to mount. According to some sources, the increase in requests coincided with the announced James Bay hydroelectric project. Although the "experiment" had proved the Inuit could adapt and become successful hunters and trappers in the High Arctic, it also proved that isolated subsistence living was not favoured over the long term. Abundant fur and game, employment opportunities, elaborate facilities, and increased social services could not compensate for permanent isolation from family and homelands. In this respect, the experiment proved that the Inuit were no different than other transient workers from the South. Since southern non-natives received free housing, transportation allowances, and special northern bonuses to lure them north, one might have expected that equal consideration be given to the indigenous peoples.


Most disappointing in the management of Inuit affairs in the 1950s was the number of excellent suggestions which were ignored, most because of cost, but some only because of their source. One of particular interest was made by Constable Gibson:


Rather than increase the population for the time being a rotation programme could be brought into effect by letting those who wish return to Port Harrison and have them replaced at Resolute by other keen and interested settlers. This rotation would not need to be compulsory. In picking new settlers one should keep in mind the ability and age of the persons transported to Resolute Bay.[137]
Had this suggestion been considered seriously, Inuit from northern Quebec might have retained their initial good feelings about their "second home" as a special place for rejuvenation during their lifetime. This plan would also have provided proof of the government's sincerity and good will, and that the promises of return were genuine.


When it appeared that the Inuit wished to remain permanently, the government supplied services and facilities equivalent or better than those available to Inuit communities elsewhere. They failed, however, to consider what special bonuses and concessions would be required to keep them there over a longer term, or what new responsibilities in self-government might be required to reinforce the self-reliance and pride of accomplishment that began in 1953.


History books a century from now may look upon the "experiment" in quite different terms-not as a judgement of Inuit adaptability, but as a measurement of government competence and understanding. In this respect, Ottawa's refusal to accept the facts of the past as truth will stand out as hypocrisy in its finest hour. So far, the present government appears to have compounded errors made 37 years ago by attempting to rewrite history and thus avoid granting rightful respect and honour to those who most deserve it.


The Hickling Report


As written, the recommendations of the Hickling report provided support for the government response in November 1990, which must be challenged on the grounds of moral responsibility and human rights. To refuse a public apology for an 'experiment' and to deny rightful respect to those who suffered hardship, even indirectly, in their contribution toward Canada's arctic sovereignty places an unnecessary burden of shame on all Canadian citizens.


Terms of Reference


When a study's conclusions conflict with other evidence, the question one first asks is whether the terms of reference allowed for adequate research. Were they too limiting? Were they clearly defined? Were they consistent throughout? If not, why? At the outset, the consultants defined their mandate:

 ...to assess the factual basis of allegations made before the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs on March 19, 1990, concerning the motivation behind, and the conduct of, a project initiated by the then Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources to relocate Inuit families to the High Arctic in the 1950s.(p. 1)
In the first place, the Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources (DNANR) did not initiate the project. It was the brainchild of its predecessor, the Department of Resources and Development (DRD). A small error, perhaps, but one which reflects a lack of professionalism and scholarship. The mistake is corrected when the terms are restated in Chapter 3, but the second statement includes other changes which add new limits to the terms. Now the study is "confined" to allegations made by "Inuit witnesses" only, and to those "which concern only the Department."(p. 4) First, this restriction eliminates consideration of testimony by scholars and non-Inuit witnesses. Second, it infers that some issues were not the concern of the department, despite the fact that DRD was vested with the sole responsibility for the co-ordination of government activities in the two northern territories..


Although it seems clear that the study should not interfere with any ongoing RC~ investigation into charges affecting individual members, this should not have excluded other areas where the police were involved. With respect to Inuit affairs' police actions were primarily directed by department policy. Therefore, unless related to an individual's misconduct, all allegations concerned the department. With the power of authority must rest the burden of responsibility.


A second problem emerges when the allegations are reinterpreted by the consultants to alter the original meaning. On the sovereignty issue, the original charge is interpreted broadly by the consultants as "the essence of the allegation", (p. 11 ) but the intended meaning changes as review of the issue is directed toward "establishment of title" and away from "concern to strengthen". Similarly, the scope of study described under the planning and implementation section was severely limited to cover only four ways the government might have been in error.(p. 19) As a result, the report ignores a number of problem areas cited above. Overall, the terms of reference as they evolved were not adequate to cover the allegations heard at the Parliamentary Standing Committee.




The choice of methodology often depends on the availability of information. In this case, there should not have been a problem since the pertinent records are available in the National Archives. In the report, the sources are listed in three main categories: information derived from interviews, letters written by Inuit in Grise Fiord, and original documents. When matched with the mandate to assess the factual basis of events occurring more than 35 years ago, the proper weighting of evidence is crucial for objectivity, as is accurate interpretation and comprehensive study of all historical documentation.


Interviews, which are essentially oral histories, should have been treated with caution when assessing the "factual basis" of the charges, especially those of department officials who must defend themselves. While interviews can be extremely useful, sometimes crucial, to explain or verify historical documents, memory is selective in all human beings-a defensive mechanism which subconsciously, or even unconsciously, supports one's self-esteem. Given these observations, the listed sources of information used by the researchers raise some serious questions.


First, the list of interviews reveals an unmistakable predominance of current government employees and the absence of any independent scholars. No RCMP officers were listed' although several from 1953-1960 are still alive. In addition, the value of a group interview with seven Inuit who had moved from Grise Fiord is difficult to assess. There is no information as to their age at the time of the resettlement, the year they were relocated, or whether they belonged to one or more families. One must also question whether this method of obtaining "factual" evidence was proper procedure. Hopefully they were not made to feel "on trial".


An even more serious limitation is the choice of the archival documents consulted. The selection listed in the appendix includes a few boxes from a recent accession, and a random mixture of files apparently provided by the department. Although some files contain important documents, many are peripheral, and others irrelevant. The most glaring omission is the lack of references to the firsthand reports and correspondence of the local RCMP detachments. While there are repeated references to police reports in the text of the Hickling report, there is no evidence that the main collection was consulted. Also ignored were the records of the deputy minister's office, which provide details of the planning process, the divided responsibility related to Inuit policy, and the interdependence of various agencies in coordinating the project. Others not consulted were the many documents related to arctic sovereignty in External Affairs and Privy Council Office records. All of the above are available for public viewing in the National Archives.


Equally serious was the failure to consult the minutes of the Advisory Committee of Northern Development which explain the nature of the government's "Canadianization" policy and its relationship to the sovereignty question. Furthermore, the Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources (and its predecessor, the Department of Resources and Development) were not "under the ACND" (p. 13) as claimed in the report. This error, coupled with lack of knowledge about the ACND's history, function, and significance, severely hampered the efforts of the consultants.


The letters written by Inuit afforded an unusual opportunity, but out of 400 only 40 were selected for study. Nor was there mention of Inuit input into the selection process. There was no attempt to undertake a quantitative analysis to determine the focus of grievances, the extent of dissension, or the priority attached to the variety of complaints.


Additional inclusions in the appendix raise further questions. The duplication of the 1930 exchange of notes between Canada and Norway, for instance, would appear to be little more than "window dressing", since the resolution of this direct challenge to Canada's arctic sovereignty does not explain the continuous, if not sometimes obsessive, concern by the Canadian government after 1943. The question was not whether Canada's title was secure. The issue here was whether the concern, valid or invalid, was a motivating factor in 1953. The attempt to divert the focus to the establishment of title and "ownership" would appear to be little more than a "red herring"- authentic, but irrelevant. Similarly, the inclusion of a small portion of a 1956 Eastern Arctic Patrol report seems irrelevant to the covering page of a 1950 report which follows. Ironically, the file containing the latter also contains a telegram describing the arrival of Pond Inlet Inuit to assist at the RCMP at Craig Harbour, ending with the notation "Sovereignty now is a cinch."[138]


Written by Alex Stevenson, this supports the contention that his primary concern was one of maintaining "effective occupation", even prior to the Greenlander problem.


Misrepresentation of Documents


To an historian, the most serious error in archival research is to misrepresent a document in such a way that it alters its meaning or significance. One document, the "minutes of a meeting held on August 10, 1953", was not an ACND meeting as claimed, but merely an ad hoc interdepartmental meeting, called at the request of the deputy minister of National Defence to discuss criticisms expressed in a memo by a senior RCAF commander to his chief of staff. [139] As shown above, the reason for the meeting was far more pertinent to the case than the meeting itself. The error may be linked to the fact that the signature on the document was that of a newly appointed administrative assistant of the ACND Secretariat who was merely designated to take the minutes. The mistake verifies the lack of detailed study, since related correspondence in the files would have identified both the origin and purpose of the meeting. On this point alone, there is enough reason to doubt the professionalism and scholarship of the research.


Similarly, the three policies outlined in the minutes may be somewhat comparable to the four objectives set out when projects were submitted for approval, but they do not explain why the particular locations were selected. The answer is found in the original submission, where the motives were listed for each project (as detailed earlier). The word "sovereignty" does not appear in the submission, nor would it be expected both the Greenlander and Canadianization issues were common knowledge among those involved in northern affairs. As explained above, there were reasons for its exclusion from official documents.


Ironically, the same policies outlined in the minutes of the August 10 meeting and used to diffuse criticism in 1953 are resurrected again 37 years later, for the same purpose. They are dealt with at length in the text of the Hickling report, duplicated in Appendix 5, and cited in the government's written response as evidence of "a set of policies evolved in 1953". A more accurate interpretation might be that the policies were put together in a few days to justify accusations that the project had "not been discussed at the proper levels nor has the plan been formalized in a way that would guarantee some success." Contrary to the interpretation by the Hickling group, the document actually contradicts the government's argument that the project was a "well prepared" plan. Of added significance, Diamond Jenness attributes these same three policies to one official in northern affairs and sees it as an attempt at "deliberately reviving a policy which Canada had adopted with her Indians more than two centuries before." Jenness argued that by isolating the Inuit in remote locations where they were expected "to support themselves without becoming a drag-chain on the rest of Canada", or the alternative, to become "menial servants" for the police and fur traders, or unskilled labourers at construction sites, was essentially "a form of apartheid". He also noted that "it was not without significance", that the program was initiated at a time "when defence activities were increasing with the building of the DEW line and Mid-Canada line." Jenness has been criticized as an assimilationist, but on this topic, he was a champion of the Inuit and a dragon-slayer of bigoted bureaucrats. Jenness's study is listed in the appendix, but apparently not considered valid if read at all.


Finally, the consultants refer to a comment made by Ben Sivertz, a northern administration officer who noted that the government seemed "anxious to have Canadians occupying as much of the North as possible and it appeared that, in many cases, the Eskimos were the only people capable of doing this."(p. 17) The report admitted this was a "reference to Canada's interest in exercising its sovereignty in the North", but then argued that the speaker must have been "expressing a personal view on the subject". Quite the reverse-according to the minutes of a "real" ACND meeting on 16 February 1953, the sovereignty question dominated the discussion, with the Secretary to the Cabinet, Jack Pickersgill, emphasizing "the need to ensure that the civilian activities in the North were predominately Canadian".[140] Present at the meeting was Sivertz's immediate superior and author of the resettlement proposals.


In Summary


When considered separately, the problems related to methodology, limited research, misrepresentations, and errors in interpretation may not appear serious, but in total they support conclusions which are grievously inaccurate. If the department is not willing to reconsider their decision of last November, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs is urgently requested to review the government decision and the report upon which it was based. The concept of whether our grandchildren are financially responsible for the sins of our grandfathers is for the courts to decide. In the writer's opinion, the onus is on the government to make the first step in building bridges and apologize for the decision of November 1990. Canadian citizens deserve the right to acknowledge, with honour and dignity, the contribution made toward arctic sovereignty by the Inuit volunteers in 1953, and to offer a sincere apology for any hardship these families may have endured. Many others have contributed to maintaining arctic sovereignty, but none as participants in an 'experiment'. Any injustice caused by apparent bureaucratic misadventures in 1953 should not be multiplied by a greater injustice in 1990.


Shelagh Grant teaches History and Canadian Studies at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario. She is the author of Sovereignty or Security? Government Policy in the Canadian North, 1936-1950 and is currently working on a second volume covering the sub sequent decade.

Research was conducted without compensation or influence from parties in the debate. This study was based on archival documents and did not include interviews of those involved. The author wishes to express her sincere appreciation to Keith Lowther (Concordia University) and Jamie Benidickson (University of Ottawa) for their helpful comments and ad vice, and to Trent University colleague Peter Kulchyski for his generous assistanœ in helping locate several sources. Thanks are due also to Andrew Orkin of McGill University for his comments and opinions related to the implications of experimentation.




1. National Archives of Canada, (unless otherwise indicated, all subsequent records are located here) RG 22, vol. 254, file 40-8-1, pt 3. Summary of proceedings of a meeting on Eskimo Affairs, 19-20 May 1952.


2. Ibid., Minutes of the first meeting of the Special Committee on Eskimo Affairs, 16 October 1952.


3. Ibid.


4. RG 22, vol. 254, file 40-8-1, pt 4. Jackson to Drury, 6 August 1953.


5. MG 30 E 133, Series V, vol. 294, file ACND -- vol 1. Government Policy toward the Eskimo. ACND document ND-63 (nd but for September 1953 meeting). Note also the minutes for the September 1953. See also extracts of the Administration Sub-Committee and related correspondence in RG 22, vol 254, file 40-8-1 pt 4, Extracts from meeting, 24 August 1953.



6. RG 22 vol. 544, file ACND -- 1954, Report, and note explanation on section 13 dealing with contact with non-natives, 10 November 1954


7. Ibid., vol. 545, file ACND - 1958. Rowley to van den Steenhoven, 2 June 1958.


8. Quoted in Gordon W. Smith, Territorial Sovereignty in the Canadian North: A Historical Outline of the Problem, Report for the Department of Northern Affairs and National Resources(Ottawa: Queen's Printer,1963) 5.


9. Gustav Smeda, Acquisition of Sovereignty over Polar Areas (Oslo: 1931) 65.


10. RG 85, vol. 347, file 200-2, Minutes of the Northern Advisory Board..


11. As cited in Diamond Jenness, Eskimo Administration II. Canada, (Montreal: Arctic Institute of North America, Technical Paper no. 14, 1964) 58.


12. Ibid. 59-61.


13. RG 85, vol. 294, file 1005-7-5, Inspector Larsen to the Commissioner, 7 November 1951.


14. RG 85, vol. 304, file 1009-5 [2a] see correspondence, 1941 through 1946; and Intelligence Report on Greenland, nd.


15. RG 85, vol. 294, file 1005-7-5, Larsen to Peacock, 7 November 1951, and correspondence from the Canadian Embassy in Paris to External Affairs. 16 October 1951.


16. Ibid., Buchard to Wright, 17 January 1952; and Sinclair to Peacock, 26 January 1952.


17. Ibid., Larsen to Comm. Peacock, 18 January 1952.


18. Ibid., various copies internal External Affairs correspondence and to officials of Resources and Development, January/February 1951


19. Ibid., memo to file, Resources and Development, October 1952.


20. Ibid., Larsen to the Commissioner, 14 October 1952.


21. RG 22, vol. 176, file 40-2-20 pt. 3, 1952 Report of the Eastern Arctic Patrol, from Minutes of the NWT Council, 16 October 1952.


22. RG 22, vol. 254, file 40-8-1 pt 2, Assisted Eskimo Projects. 16 March 1953, Cunningham, Director of Northern Administration and Lands Branch, to Deputy Minister of Resources and Development, Gen. Hugh Young, stamped "approved".



23. RG 85 acc. 89-90/233, vol. 3, file Report to Cabinet on Activities in Northern Canada, March 1953.


24. RG 85, vol. 294, file 1005-7-5, Young to Wilgress, 2 April 1953, Allard to Canadian Minister in Copenhagen, 29 May 1953.


25. Ibid., see notation on Allard to Copenhagen, 29 May 1953; Young to Ritchie, 23 October 1953


26. Ibid., Cantley to Young, 18 April 1953 and Solandt to Young, 29 April 1953


27. RG 18, acc. 85-86/048, vol. 55, file TA 500-8-1-1, RCMP reports from Alexandra Fiord; and file TA 500-8-1-5 from Craig Harbour, 1953-1954.


28. Ibid., report sent on to Director of the Northern Administration and Lands Branch, from Inspector Fitzsimmons, 21 August 1956.


29. RG 22, vol. 544, file ACND - 1954, GWR notes to file, 19 February 1954; file ACND - 1957, memos 16 April and 11 July 1957; RG 85, vol 375, file 1005-7 pt 6, memos 21 December 1954, 18 January 1955; and RG 22, vol. 545, file ACND - 1958, memo 21 October 1958.


30. See Shelagh D. Grant, Sovereignty or Security? Government Policy in the Canadian North. 1936-1950 (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1988), 132-33 and 215.


31. Canada, Documents on Canadian External Relations. Volume 12 (Ottawa: Department of External Affairs, 1980) 2102:909, cited in S.D. Grant, Sovereignty or Security?: 176. See also N. D. Bankes, Forty Years of Canadian Sovereignty Assertion in the Arctic, 1947-1987. Arctic, 40:4 (December 1987): 387; and Ronald G. Purver, Sovereignty and Security in the Arctic. in Canadian Oceans Policy: National Strategies and the New Law of the Sea, eds. Donald McRae and Gordon Munro, (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1989) 166.


32. RG 2/18, vol. 46, file A-25, F. T. Davies, The Sector Principle in Polar Claims,. 11 February 1947; also Grant, Sovereignty or Security, Chapters 7 & 9.


33. Documents on Canadian External Relations, vol.12: 913.


34. RG V18, vol. 46, file A-25, F.T. Davies, The Sector Principle.


35. National Archives in Washington (hereafter NA, Washington) RG 59, PJBD series, vol. 10, file corres -- 1946. USAAF Study on Problems of Joint Defense. 29 October 1946. This document is duplicated in its entirety in Grant, Sovereignty or Security? 302-311.


36. Ibid., vol. 2, file - Basic Papers. Working Papers for Use in Discussions with the United States. 6 December 1946, section 3.


37. Ibid., vol. 12, file Correspondence, 1954. as explained in Wight to Dr. John Hannah, 27 August 1954 and McNaughton to Wight, 19 August 1954; also NAC, RG 24, acc 83-84/167, vol 4480, file 1225-P1-39, Revision of the Forrestal Directive. 25 January 1951; and RG 2/18, vol. 235, file S-100-6, meeting and related correspondence, 10 September 1952.


38. RG 2/8, vol. 57, file A-25-5 correspondence; also RG 85, vol. 300, file 1009-3-1 for the Minutes of the ACND meetings (copy also available in MG 30 E 13, series V, vol. 294).


39. MG 30 E 133, Series V, vol. 294, file ACND to 1953, vol. 1, documents ND 23 and ND 26 (1949)


40. NA (Washington), RG 59, PJBD Series, vol. 21, file Progress reports, 19401957. Canada-United States Joint Defense Projects and their Security Classification. (1949)


41. RG 2/18 access. 83-84/213, vol. 210, file A-25-2, Wilgress to Pearson, 31 December 1952.


42. MG 30 E 133, Series V, vol. 294, file ACND -- vol. 1. Pickersgill to Harris, 27 January 1953.


43. Department of External Affairs, Documents on Canadian External Relations, volume 18. (Ottawa: Supply and Services, 1991) DEA/50030-T-40, item 686, Wershof to Wilgress, 9 July 1952.


44. MG 30 E 133, vol. 294, file ACND -- vol. 1. Pickersgill to McNaughton, 3 February, 1953.


45. MG 30 E 133, vol 294, file ~ACND to 1953 - vol 1. Minutes of the 6th meeting of the ACND, 16 February 1953, 2-3.


46. RG 85, access. 89-90/233, vol. 3, file Report to Cabinet on Activities in Northern Canada, 1953.- Section 19, Chart of U.S. Service and Civilian Personnel employed in Canada.


47. MG 30 E 133, Series V, vol 294, file ACND - to 1953 Minutes of the 9th and 10th meetings, including attached doc~ment ND-51.


48. NA (Washington), RG 59, PJBD Series, vol 12, file Correspondence July-Dec 1952 General Guy Henry to Robert A. Lovatt, Secretary of Defense, 24 October 1952.


49. Ibid., vol. 12, file Correspondence, 1954 as explained in Wight to Dr. John Hannah, 27 August 1954 and McNaughton to Wight, 19 August 1954; also NAC, RG 24, acc 83-84/167, vol 4480, file 1225-P1-39, Revision of the Forrestal Directive. 25 January 1951; and RG 2/18, vol. 235, file S-100-6, meeting and related correspondence, 10 September 1952.


50. RG 85, access. 89-90/233, vol. 3, file Report to Cabinet, 1953,. Sec. 18, Department of External Affairs Report, page 2. This report was distributed to members of the ACND for discussion at the 7th meeting held on 16 March 1953. (MG 30 E 133, Series V, vol. 294, file ACND to 1953, vol. 1).


51. RG 22 vol. 254, file 40-8-1 pt 2, Memorandum for the Deputy Minister, 16 March 1953.


52. The RCMP report submitted to the ACND membership on March 16th omits reference to opening any detachment at Resolute or at Sachs Harbour on Banks Island (MG 30 E 133, vol. 294, file "1st Report March 1953~). The report appearing in the folder for Cabinet bears the date of March 31st and includes Resolute and Sachs (RG 85, acc 89-90/233, vol. 3. file "Report to Cabinet on Activities in Northern Canada-).


53. RG 22, vol. 545, file ACND -- 1958. GWR Memo to the Deputy Minister and Confidential report, 7 July 1958.


54. Ibid., file ACND -- 1956, Canadian Sovereignty in Ellesmere Island. memo dated 13 January 1956


55. See Andrew Orkin, Immersion in the High Arctic: An Examination of an Experiment involving Human Subjects from a Legal Perspective. Unpublished paper, (April 1991).


56. RG 22, vol. 254, file 40-8-1 pt 4. Minutes of meeting, 10 August 1953; Young to Drury, 15 June 1953; Young to Lessard, 15 June 1953, Cunningham to Jackson, 4 August 1953, Jackson to Drury, 8 August 1953, Drury to Robertson, 4 February 1954; file 40-8-1 pt 2, "Assisted Eskimo Projects" 16 March 1953; See also MG 30 E 133, Series V, box 294, file "Government Activities in the Northern Canada, 1954," page 52. There were numerous other references.


57. Ibid., file 40-8-1 pt 4, minutes of meeting, 10 August 1953,


58. RG 85, vol. 1207, file 201-1-8 pt. 3. Report on the Eastern Arctic Patrol 1952 (Montreal to Churchill): 6.


59. RG 85, vol. 1070, file 251-4 pt 1. Memorandum to R.C.M.P. Detachments Regarding Operations at Eskimo Settlements at Craig Harbour, Cape Herschel and Resolute Bay.


60. RG 18, acc. 85-86/048, vol. 55, TA 500-8-1-5. Annual Report for 1956, #13.


61. Grant, Sovereignty or Security? 203:Table 4.


62. RG 18, acc. 85-86, vol. 55, file TA 500-8-1-5. Report dated December 31, 1954, item 12.


63. RG 85, vol. 1207, file 201-1-8, pt 3. Report by A. Stevenson, June/July 1953


64. Ibid., Assisted Eskimo Projects 16 March 1953



65. Jenness, 93.


66. Ibid.


67. RG 22, vol. 254, file 40-8-1 pt 3, Nicholson to Young, with message from Larsen, 6 May 1953; also report Kearney, 22 January 1953


68. RG 85, vol 1070, 251-4 pt 1. Memorandum to R.C.M.P detachments (nd).


69. Personal information related to the author by the constable himself.


70. RG 18 acc 85-86/048 vol 55, file TA 500-8-1-14, memo Jenkins to OC "G" Division, 4 January 1960.


71. MG 30 E 133, vol. 294, file First Report to Cabinet. March 1953. See Outline of Work of the RCMP in the Canadian North.


72. RG 22 vol. 254, file 40-8-1 pt 3. Young to Nicholson, 20 February 1953.


73. RG 85, vol, 1070, file 251-4 pt 4. Stevenson to Cantley, December 1953.


74. RG 85, vol. 1207, file 201-1-8 pt 3. Report of the Eastern Arctic Patrol, June/July 1953.


75. RG 85, vol. 1070, file 251-4 pt 1. Draft copy of Memorandum to R.C.M.P. Detachments Regarding Operations at Eskimo Settlements at Craig Harbour, Cape Herschel and Resolute Bay. Draft copy has annotation to "hold" pending August 10 meeting.


76. RG 22 vol 254 file 40-8-1 pt 2 Memo for the Commissioner of the NWT, 22 November 1951 from the Director of the Northern Administration.


77. RG 85 vol 693, file 1009-10/69 J. Cantley to Fraser, 19 May 1953.


78. Ibid., file TA 500-8-1-14, reports and memos from November 1953 through to December 1954.


79. Ibid.


80. RG 22, vol 176, file 40-2-20 pt 3 Report on Tour of the Arctic Islands. September 8-12, 1953. G.W. Stead, 29 September 1953.


81. Ibid.. Sivertz to the deputy minister, 23 September 1953.


82. RG 22, vol. 254, file 40-8-1 pt 4, C. J. Marshall, 9 November 1953


83. Ibid., Ripley to Chief of Air Staff, 6 July 1953.



84. Ibid., Drury to Young, 30 July 1953.


85. Ibid., Drury to Robertson, 5 Feb 1954.


86. RG 85, vol. 1070, file 251-4 pt 2. Cantley to Sivertz, 28 March 1953; GWR to the deputy minister, 31 May 1953


87. RG 18, acc. 85-86/048, vol. 55, file TA 500-8-l-1, manuscript by Const. A.C.Fryer, Rehabilitation Program of Eskimo at Craig Harbour,. 2.


88. Ibid., Police reports and correspondence, January 1954 to May 1956. Note Fitzsimmons to Deputy Minister of DNANR, 21 May 1956.


89. RG 22. vol. 254. file 40-8-1 pt 3, Young to Nicholson, 20 February 1953.


90. Ibid., file 40-8-l, pt 2, "Assisted Eskimo Projects" 16 March 1953; See also RG 85, vol. 1207, file 201-1-8 pt 1, Cunningham to Rowley, 15 December 1953.


91. RG 85, vol 294, file 1005-7-5, Young to Wilgress, 2 April 1953.


92 RG 22 vol. 254, file 40-8-l, pt 3. Larsen to Fort Chimo, Port Harrison, and Pond Inlet, 18 April 1953


93. Ibid., Young to Nicholson, 13 May 1953.


94. RG 85, vol. 1070, file 251-4 pt 1, supply orders under signature of J. Cantley to Mr. Packwood, Equipment and Supplies.


95. Ibid., telegram from "G" division to Cunningham, 23 Nay 1953. Cunningham had originally assumed there were four families from Pond Inlet. This was corrected to three by Larsen, memo 10 June 1953.


96. Ibid., Larsen to the director of the northern administration, 23 May 1953.


97. RG 22, vol. 254, file 40-8-1, pt 3. Young to Lessard, 8 June 1953;


98. Ibid., Young to Lessard, and Young to Drury, 15 June 1953.

99. Ibid., Cowley to Young, 27 July 1953.


100. RG 22, vol 254, file 40-8-1 pt 3, Drury to Young, 30 July 1953.


101. RG 85, vol. 1207, file 201-1-8 pt 3. Draft memo to the RCMP on the high arctic resettlement projects (nd).


102. RG 22, vol. 254, file 40-8-1 pt 3. A/C Ripley to Chief of Air Staff, 6 July 1953.



103. RG 22, vol 544, file ACND - 1953, pt 1, C.J. Narshall to G. Rowley, 9 November 1953.


104. RG 85 vol. 1207, file 201-1-8, pt 3 Report by Stevenson, June-July 1953.


105. Ibid. See also RG 85, vol 1070, file 251-4 pt 1, order form, 15 May 1953.


106. RG 22, vol 254, file 40-8-1 pt 4. Robertson to Cunningham, 6 January 1954; Cunningham to Robertson, 25 January 1954.


107. RG 85 vol. 1207, file 201-8-1 pt 3. Cantley to Cunningham, 14 December 1953; Cunningham to Rowley, 15 December 1953.


108. RG 18, 85-86/048, vol 55, file TA 500-8-1-14, Cunningham to Larsen, 23 October 1953.


109. RG 22, vol. 176, file 40-2-20 pt 3. West to Gordon Robertson, 31 Nay 1954.


110. Ibid., Sivertz to Cunningham, 27 August 1954.


111. RG 22, vol. 544, file ACND - 1953 pt 1. C.J. Marshall to Mr. Rowley, 9 November 1953; see also RG 18 acc. 85-86/048, vol. 55, file TA 500-8-1-14, report by Const. F.R. Gibson, 22 March 1955.


112. RG 85, vol 1070, file 251-4 pt 1. "Memorandum to R.C.M.P. Detachments regarding Operations at Eskimo Settlements at Craig Harbour, Cape Herschel and Resolute Bay."


113. RG 22, vol 254, file 40-8-1 pt 4, report by C. J. Marshall on Eskimo Settlement at Resolute, 9 November 1953, 1-8.


114. Ibid., Report 29 December, 1954.


115. RG 18, acc. 85-86/048, vol 55, file TA 500-8-1-14, reports and correspondence, June/July 1954, Gibson to Larsen, Larsen to Cunningham, Cantley to Larsen; also Sivertz to Gibson, 28 December 1954 and Gibson to Larsen 29 December 1954.


116. Ibid., file TA 500-8-1-5, telegrams and reports, September through December 24, 1953, Sargent to Larsen; also manuscript by A.C. Fryer, nd.


117. RG 85, vol. 1070, file 251-4 pt 1, "Memo to RCNP Detachments.


118. RG 18, acc 85-86/048, vol 55, file TA 500-8-1-5. Manuscript by Const. A. C. Fryer, "Rehabilitation Program of Eskimo at Craig Harbour..


119. Ibid., 1953 year end report, A.C. Fryer manuscript (nd), Brakefield-Moore to Cunningham, January 1954.



120. Ibid., yearly reports for 1953 and 1954, plus telegrams and monthly reports from September through to December 24, 1953


121. Ibid., file TA 500-8-1-1 Goldsmith to Craig Harbour Detachment, copy to Alexandra Fiord, 22 February 1954.


122. Ibid. file TA 500-8-1-5, Reports ending December 1953 and 1954, and Fryer manuscript, op cit.


123. Ibid., Sivertz to Larsen, 14 April 1954, and 2 February 1955; then Sargent to Larsen, 21 February 1955; and Larsen to Director of Northern Administration, 7 June 1955.


124. Ibid., file TA 500-8-1-14, Larsen to Cunningham, 2 June 1954.


125. Ibid., Fraser to the Officer in Charge, Resolute Bay, 15 July 1960.


126. RG 18, acc. 85-86/048, vol 55, file TA 500-8-1-5 Eskimo Conditions. report for 1954, item # 14.


127. Ibid. file TA 500-8-1-14, Larsen to Cunningham, 13 May 1953; Cunningham to Larsen, 14 June 1954. Also RG 22, vol. 254, file 40-8-1 pt 4, Marshall to Rowley, 9 November 1953; Cunningham to Robertson, 25 January 1954; Cunningham to Robertson, 11 March 1954.


128. RG 18, acc 86-86/048, vol. 55, file TA 500-8-1-5 Eskimo Loan Fund Trading Stores - Grise Fiord and Resolute Bay; also Fraser to Resolute detachment, 15 July 1960; and Fraser to Sivertz, 13 July 1960.


129. Ibid., RCMP memo, Warner to Coombs, 20 April 1960.


130. Ibid., file TA 500-8-1-14. Conditions Amongst Eskimos 14 November 1956, item 4.


131. Milton M.R. Freemen, "The Grise Fiord Project. in David Dumas, ea., Arctic, volume 5 in the Handbook of North American Indians series (Washington: Smithsonian Institute, 1984) 681.


132. Peter Kulchyski of Trent University and Frank Tester of the University of British Columbia are currently researching the subject of all native resettlement, and claim that they have found ample evidence of that the Inuit were actively discouraged from returning home. This view is also stated by Keith Lowther, op cit., referring to testimony given at a Special Joint Committee Hearing in 1986: Canada, minutes of Proceedings and Evidence of the Special Joint Committee of the Senate and the House of Commons on Canada's International Relations, No. 60, 23 April 1986, p. 81.


133. Comments to the author by former RCMP Constable Robert Pilot who was attached to the Craig Harbour/Grise Fiord posts from 1955-1959.



134. Freeman, op cit. and Richard Diubaldo, The Government of Canada and the Inuit. 1900-1967. (Ottawa: DIAND, 1985) 120; Diubaldo cites documents in RG 85, vol. 1070, file 251-4/2, a volume which was declared restricted from public access. when first requested by the writer.


135. RG 85, acc 89-90/233, vol. 3, file "Government Activities in Northern Canada 1953,. RCMP report to Cabinet.


136. RG 85, vol. 1070, file 251-4 pt 1, Chief of U.S. Weather Bureau to Thomson, 6 August 1953


137. Ibid., file 251-4 pt 4. Minutes of Eskimo Affairs meeting, 28 November 1958


138. RG 18, acc 85-86/048, vol. 55, file TA 500-8-1-14, report dated 14 November 1956


139. RG 85, vol 1127, file 201-1-8 pt 2a, telegram from Stevenson co Director, August 1951. The author extends appreciation to Peter Kulchyski for this reference.


140. RG 22, vol 254, file 40-8-1 pt 2. AOC, RCAF Air Transport Command to Chief of Air Staff, 6 July 1953; also Minutes of a Meeting. August 10, 1953; and Drury to Young, 30 July 1953.


141. MG 30 E 133, Series V, vol 294, file ACND to 1953, vol. 1. Minutes of the sixth meeting of the ACND, 16 February 1953, p. 3. and the 7th meeting, 16 March 1953.


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