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Left in the cold – McGill Daily

by NationTalk on November 18, 2008783 Views

Left in the cold
The lasting impact of the High Arctic relocation
Pamela Fillion

“A ce jour je ne sais toujours pas comment nous avons survécut” – Martha

Marquise Lepage and Productions Virage’s Martha qui vient du froid gives a firsthand account of the High Arctic relocation of Inuit families in the 1950s. The film revolves around Martha and her family, their experience of the relocation, and its continuing effects on their lives. In the 1950s, the Canadian government brought families of Inuit peoples to the High Arctic with promises of plentiful game and better living conditions, as a means of establishing sovereignty over these islands – thus misleading them into accepting the “temporary” and “voluntary” relocation without being informed of the political stakes. The families were moved to locations supposedly chosen by “experts of the North.” Once in the High Arctic, however, these families were subjected to horrible living conditions, worsened by laws on the prohibition of hunting, and the government’s striking lack of understanding for the Inuit way of life.

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