It is clear what the intentions of the Canadian government were when they set out to systematically wipe out the dog teams of the Inuit. They set out to intentionally kill the Inuit way of life, to settle us in communities so we could end our nomadic way of life and use us as human flag posts to protect the Canadian sovereignty.
They not only slaughtered our sled dogs, they destroyed a proud, independent people and shattered the lives of many generations. People with dignity, pride and independence, deliberately destroyed and sabotaged by a government that is only concerned about the interests of southern Canadians.
The Inuit would not have survived in this most unforgiving environment without those beloved and trusted companions. They were not just pets, they were our partners. They protected us from bears or wolves, they helped us hunt animals and allowed our ancestors to move great distances to be closer to where the animals were. They even took us back home in blinding and crippling blizzards.
What becomes of a man when he no longer has the means to provide for his family? Once a self-sufficient provider, surviving and striving in the harshest environment in the world, totally independent, rendered helpless just sitting at home and waiting for inadequate government handouts. The indignity of being denied the opportunity of being a provider for his family and the humiliation of not being able to do anything about it broke many men and subsequently their families.
This was the rite of passage for Inuit boys to become Inuit men. When a boy finally got his own dog team, he became a man, an Angutik.
Cause of social problems
Many elders say that that is the cause of the social problems that we see plaguing our communities and that it set in motion a social spiral downfall that continues today. Not long after the slaughter, our elders tell us, you started seeing the beginnings of alcoholism, drug abuse, domestic abuse, suicide and other social ills. The social issues we see today in the North are no doubt directly related to the deliberate extermination of our ancestor's dog teams and their nomadic way of life.
If the government wasn't trying to eliminate the Inuit way of life (which they did with devastating effectiveness) why did they not replace the so-called "sick" dogs with healthy ones or supply us with snowmobiles for life (as they should do now to every Inuit beneficiary, for starters).
Canadians pride themselves as a global leader when it comes to human rights and has held talks with the Chinese and Iranian leaders, among others, about violations of human rights. Clean up your own backyard first, Canada, before asking someone else to clean theirs.
Southern Canadians are in denial. They are blind of their hypocrisy and judge other nations for their transgressions. When they first arrived here they became the owners of the land, totally disregarding the people who are already there very much like when Saddam Hussien marched into defenceless Kuwait.
How would Canadians feel if the Americans walked into a helpless and harmless country unable to defend itself and completely took control over everything? They are very critical of the Americans for invading Iraq and call the war there unjust when they are guilty of the same thing.
For those Canadians who criticized and scolded George Bush about the war in Iraq, this verse applies to you - Let he, who is without sin, cast the first stone!
How can we expect an apology or compensation when they refuse to acknowledge the slaughter ever even occurred? The government's spin and evasiveness about this "little matter" speaks volumes.
They are suffering from a very bad case of selective or convenient memory, but they would much rather keep this dirty little secret under the rug and deny it ever happened so they could continue to proclaim themselves human rights champions to the rest of the world!
Yeah right, just like the Middle East is the most peaceful region on earth.
- Chris Pudlat is a resident of Cape Dorset, Nunavut.