As you know I spent 5 years in the Arctic and I've often said it was a life changing experience. I left the Arctic in 1969 but it's always remained close to me so I've read widely and gained much more insight about the people and the land. Experiences that happened long ago suddenly take on more meaning or a different meaning.
In all too many cases the Inuit were moved without their consent or awareness as to what was happening. The part I was involved in was moving children 1000's of miles away from their homes so that they could go to a residential school. Communities were moved to where the white man wanted to build a town. Families were moved to isolated areas because the white man thought there was better hunting and trapping in an area. Many Inuit were brought south for medical reasons and some died and were not returned to their loved ones . More than that it seemed that records of these people were lost. In my settlement a toddler was murdered and the body taken to the south for a coroner's inquest. A year later one of the leaders asked me where the baby's body was. I couldn't tell him. I did refer him to those responsible and I'm not sure what he found.
Before the 1900's Inuit were taken on trading and exploring ships as workers or pilots. Sometimes these people were taken back to their homes and many times they were just dropped off before the vessel returned to Europe.
Yesterday, I listened to a radio interview about Inuit who were taken to France and exhibited as if they were in a Zoo. People payed to see an Esquimaux. Inuit today remember these people and continue to feel the loss of family and ancestors. At one point in the interview the Inuk was unable to continue and tell the feelings of his loss. There was a TV documentary on this event on the Nature of T
The interview continued and at the end the inuk said "nakuriik" Which is thankyou. That is when the tear dropped. To hear the language again from an inuktitut speaker brought back so much of what I had experienced.