This playlist inspires discussion and research about a little-known aspect of Canadian History: The 1953-55 Inuit Relocation Initiative. With false promises of a better life, the Canadian government moved several Inuit families from Northern Quebec to new Northern communities and left them to their own devices in the high Arctic.
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Films in This Playlist Include
Martha of the North
Martha of the North (Short Version)
Broken Promises - The High Arctic Relocation
Place of the Boss: Utshimassits
In the mid-1950s, lured by false promises of a better life, Inuit families were displaced by the Canadian government and left to their own devices in the Far North. In this icy desert realm, Martha Flaherty and her family lived through one of Canadian history’s most sombre and little-known episodes.
Martha was only 5 when she and her parents were lured away from their Inuit village. Along with a handful of other families, they were moved to Canada’s most northerly island, Ellesmere, to ensure Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic. They were told that game would be plentiful and life would be easy. Instead, they discovered that the islands of the Arctic are among the least hospitable to human life in the world. For years, they endured hunger and extreme cold. Deprived of the right to an education and a childhood, Martha had to help her family survive. Yet she proved as resilient as the other people from her community who appear in the film. Martha of the North is the story of a journey and a childhood spent in a new and unwelcoming land.
Set in the dramatic and alluring landscape of the north, Arctic Defenders tells the remarkable story that began in1968 with a radical Inuit movement that changed the political landscape forever. It lead to the largest land claim in western civilization, orchestrated by young visionary Inuit with a dream - the governance of their territory - the creation of Nunavut. The story reveals Canada’s misguided attempts at sovereignty in the north and finds hope and inspiration from determined people who changed the rules of the game.
In the summer of 1953, the Canadian government relocated seven Inuit families from Northern Quebec to the High Arctic. They were promised an abundance of game and fish, with the assurance that if things didn't work out, they could return home after two years. Two years later, another 35 people joined them. There they suffered from hunger, extreme cold, sickness, alcoholism and poverty. It would be thirty years before any of them saw their ancestral lands again. Interviews with survivors are combined with archival footage and documents to tell the poignant story of a people whose lives were nearly destroyed by their own government's broken promises.