Forced relocation of Inuit acknowledged

Monument to be unveiled in memory of Nutak

Published on August 15, 2012

A ceremony will be held today at the site of the once-vibrant community of Nutak, acknowledging the pain caused by the forced resettlement of its residents.

The Inuit community, located along the coast in Northern Labrador, was shut down and residents moved in 1956.

There was no consultation before the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador cut off services to the area.

Families were divided in the process of resettlement, despite promises of support.

In new homes, in areas further South, former Nutak community members were left uncertain of their rights on new hunting and fishing grounds.

Nutak was not the only forced relocation. The community of Hebron was similarly emptied, in 1959.

As part of the Inuit Land Claims Agreement, government recognized the pain caused by the forced resettlement of these Inuit communities and committed to monuments recognizing the movements.

In 2005, then-premier Danny Williams issued an apology to the residents of Nutak and Hebron.

“As a result of the closures, and the way they were carried out, the Inuit of Nutak and Hebron experienced a variety of personal hardships and social, family and economic problems,” Williams said, as part of that apology.

“What happened at Nutak and Hebron serves as an example of the need for governments to respect and carefully consider the needs and aspirations of the people affected by its decisions.”

The memorial to be unveiled at Nutak includes the text of the apology as well as the names of former residents.

The unveiling is expected to include former residents of the community, as well as representatives from the provincial, federal and Nunatsiavut governments.