Ceremony to mark forced relocation of Inuit village
The resettlement of a former Inuit village will be marked Wednesday in a ceremony that recognizes a dark chapter in Newfoundland and Labrador history.
Residents of Nutak in northern Labrador were moved out in 1956, three years before another forced relocation in nearby Hebron.
A memorial will be formally unveiled at the site of the former community. The memorial includes the names of former residents, as well as the text of a formal apology.
The Newfoundland and Labrador government formally apologized to Labrador's Inuit in January 2005 over the resettlement of Nutak and Hebron.
Former residents wept openly as then-premier Danny Williams apologized on behalf of the government for pushing through a relocation program that was done with no consultation of the residents, and which caused hardship and disruption in the residents' way of life.
"History has not always been kind to our aboriginal peoples, and today with the signing of this agreement we have an opportunity to right that wrong," Williams said at the time.
The ceremony will involve representatives of the Nunatsiavut government, which administers the land transferred to Inuit ownership in the 2005 land claims agreement, as well as officials with the provincial and federal governments.
A similar monument was unveiled in Hebron in 2009. In a speech in February, Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Kathy Dunderdale said the actions of the 1950s have left a bitter legacy that the government continues to work to correct.
"Tragically, the people of those communities were not consulted when the decisions were made," Dunderdale told the Northern Lights business conference in Ottawa.
"It is indicative of the fundamental shift that has occurred in our lifetime that we now realize that the notion of aboriginal people of the north being subjected to decisions in which they have no say is simply unacceptable."