Ennadai Lake relocatees closer to possible compensation

More than 60 years ago, a group of Nunavummiut were relocated in the Kivalliq region of Nunavut. They're now closer to getting compensation from the federal government.

Starting 60 years ago, Nunavut group was relocated five times in a decade

More than 60 years ago, the Ahiarmiut were forced to move from their home at Ennadai Lake in the Kivalliq region of Nunavut.

The region is about 400 kilometres west of Arviat, Nunavut. Over the next decade, the group was moved five more times.

Now, the Ennadai Lake Relocation Society is looking for Ottawa to make amends.

David Serkoak, the spokesperson for the Ennadai Lake Relocation Society, said the group has been working for the past 15 years to piece together what happened. (Facebook)

The group said it is close to submitting a special claim to the federal government. They met last week in Arviat to talk about the group's work over the last 15 years and to discuss the claim they plan to submit by the end of June.

"Over the course of 15 years or more, the Ahiarmiut society has been working together to compile of what really happened," said David Serkoak, the spokesperson for the society.

Lawyer Steven Cooper has been working with the group since 2007. At that time, there were eight elders who were adults when they were relocated. Now, there are only two.

He said if the federal government is found liable, the group could receive monetary compensation.

But he says they want more than that.

"They want memorialization. They want an opportunity to put plaques in both the Ennadai Lake area from where they came, as well as in Arviat where most of them live now. And they really want, more than anything, they want an acknowledgement and an apology from the highest levels of the federal government," he said.

The reasons for the relocations were not always consistent. Cooper said they are now in the final stages of completing the claim. He said he hopes to hear from federal officials in less than a year.

"I'm hoping that six or nine months after we'll have a positive response from the government in which they will agree that they are liable."