Hugs, tears as Inuit monument unveiled
The memories and tears came flooding back for people who were relocated from Nutak in northern Labrador more than 50 years ago, as they gathered in the old community on Wednesday.
They came together for the unveiling of a monument by the provincial government, which contains the text of its apology and the names of everyone who had to leave Nutak.
The provincial government closed the community in 1956, pushing through a relocation program that was done with no consultation of the residents. Dozens of people were forced to move south.
The Newfoundland and Labrador government formally apologized to Labrador's Inuit in January 2005 over the resettlement of Nutak and Hebron.
At Wednesday's ceremony Aboriginal Affairs Minister Nick McGrath read the formal apology the government wrote seven years ago.
People have accepted the apology, but it didn't take away from the emotion of the day. There were lots of hugs and tears.
For some it was a moment to reflect on fond memories.
"Just childhood happiness, freedom, lots of wildlife, lots of friends, great fishing area," said Jim Lyall, who left Nutak when he was 11 years old.
Some people thought about those who were not able to make the trip back to Nutak.
"There's a lot of people passed on that could have been here, too, like my parents and a lot of people," said Christine Baikie.
Johannes Lampe lead the ceremony to remember the families who left.
"I want to thank you for coming back to your beautiful homeland," said Lampe. "And to leave behind what it is that happened 56 years ago."
Lampe ended the ceremony with the message that the gathering was a chance to let people heal.