Broken Promises: The High Arctic Relocation
In the summer of 1953, the Canadian government relocated seven Inuit families from Northern Québec to the High Arctic. They were promised an abundance of game and fish - in short, a better life. The government assured the Inuit that if things didn't work out, they could return home after two years. Two years later, another 35 people joined them. It would be thirty years before any of them saw their ancestral lands again.
Abandoned in flimsy tents, the Inuit were left to fend for themselves in the desolate settlements of Resolute Bay and Grise Fiord, where the sea was nearly always frozen and darkness reigned for months on end. Suffering from hunger, extreme cold, sickness, alcoholism and poverty, Québec's Inuit had become the victims of a government policy supposedly designed to return them to their "native state". Evidence points to the government's wish to strengthen Canada's sovereignty in the Arctic as playing a part in the decision to relocate.
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.
Purchase Broken Promises at Mushkeg Media
Format: 16mm Length 48 min.
Locations: Nunavik and The High Arctic
Director: Patricia V. Tassinari
Writer: Erna Buffie
Camera: Steve Reizes
Editor: Teresa De Luca
Associate Producer: Erica Pomerance
Producers: George Hargrave (Nutaaq Media ) Barrie Howells & Don Haig (NFB)
A Nutaaq Média Inc./National Film Board of Canada
co-production with the participation of Telefilm Canada
and SOGIC (Société générale des industries culturelles - Québec)