Relocated Inuit stories documented online

The stories of families who relocated from Perry River to Gjoa Haven in Nunavut are now documented online.

Families moved from Perry River to Gjoa Haven in 1967

A group of some of the people historian David Pelly interviewed for the Pelly River Oral History Project. (Photo courtesy of David Pelly/NTI)
Sarah Ullikattaq is one of the elders interviewed by David Pelly for the project. (Photo courtesy of David Pelly/NTI)

The stories of families who relocated from Perry River to Gjoa Haven in Nunavut in the 1960s are now documented online.

It’s called the Perry River Oral History Project, and it launched Tuesday in Iqaluit.

The project compiles stories of the families who left their homes behind in the spring of 1967. The Hudson’s Bay Company trading post in Perry River closed, and about 60 people made the treacherous journey to Gjoa Haven after that.

According to the website, the people who lived in Perry River became accustomed to the added securities they got from the Hudson's Bay Company in return for white fox pelts.

The site explains that when the post closed, the Inuit families found themselves suddenly dependent on their own resources and ability to survive on the land.

The move changed their lives forever from the old way of life on the land to the new way of life in communities.

Historian David Pelly interviewed some of the elders and recorded their stories.

"There are moments of joy with the memories, and there are moments of extreme sadness and painful memories," said Pelly.

The transcripts of Pelly’s interviews are now available on the Nunavut Tunngavik website. Terry Audla is the Inuit organization’s chief executive officer.

"It’s very important to have that information readily accessible and to ensure that our recent history, which is still in living memory in a lot of our elders, is actually recorded.

Audla hopes more of those stories can be recorded before that history fades.