Righting Canada’s Wrongs: Inuit Relocations

Colonial Policies and Practices, Inuit Resilience and Resistance

by Frank James Tester and Krista Ulujuk Zawadski

A ground-breaking account of multiple forced relocations by the Canadian government of Inuit communities and individuals. All have been the subject of apologies, but are little known beyond the Arctic. The Inuit community has proven resilient to many attempts at assimilation, relocation and evacuation to the south.

In a highly visual and appealing format for young readers, this book explores the many forced relocation of Inuit families and communities in the Canadian Arctic from the 1950s to the 1990s. Governments promoted and forced relocation based on misinformation and racist attitudes. These actions changed Inuit lives forever. This book documents the Inuit experience and the resilience and strength they displayed in the face of these measures. Years afterwards, there have been multiple apologies by the Canadian government for its actions, and some measure of restitution for the harms caused.

Included in the book are accounts of a community forced to move to the High Arctic where they found themselves with little food and almost no shelter, of children suddenly taken away from their families and communities to be transported to hospitals for treatment for tuberculosis, and of the notorious slaughter by RCMP officers of hundreds of sled dogs in Arctic settlements.

Though apologies have been made, Inuit in northern Canada still face conditions of inadequate housing, schools that fail to teach their language, and epidemics of infectious diseases like TB. Yet still, the Inuit have achieved a measure of self-government, control over resource development, while they enrich cultural life through music, film, art and literature.

This book enables readers to understand the colonialism and racism that remain embedded in Canadian society today, and the successful resistance of Inuit to assimilation and loss of cultural identity.

Like other volumes in the Righting Canada’s Wrongs series, this book uses a variety of visuals, first-person accounts, short texts and extracts from documents to appeal to a wide range of young readers.

About the Authors

Frank James Tester
Frank James Tester
Krista Ulujuk Zawadski
Krista Ulujuk Zawadski

FRANK JAMES TESTER is a writer, filmmaker, researcher and photographer who has worked extensively with Inuit youth and communities as well as with the Qikiqtani Truth Commission and the national Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He's received the Gustavus Myers Award for his contribution to the study of human rights in North America, the W. Garfield Weston Foundation Trustee’s Award in recognition of his work with Inuit youth and Elders, and his book Tammarniit (Mistakes), was awarded the Erminie Wheeler-Voegelin Prize. He is currently Adjunct Professor of the Department of Indigenous Studies, University of Manitoba. Frank lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.

KRISTA ULUJUK ZAWADSKI is an Inuk who's focused her work on Arctic anthropology, archaeology, museology and collections-based research. She holds a Master's Degree in Anthropology from the University of British Columbia and is a PhD candidate at Carleton University in Ottawa. Krista has co-curated exhibits that feature Inuit artists and written articles for the Inuit Art Quarterly and Museum Anthropology. Krista is from Rankin Inlet, Nunavut.


…a worthwhile acquisition for both high school libraries and as a supplementary text for social studies classrooms. It teaches much about the strength of the Inuit people and their ability to survive despite incredible challenges. Highly recommended.

CM: Review of Materials

Subjects (BISAC)


Resource Guide

Righting Canada's Wrongs Resource Guide

Righting Canada's Wrongs Resource Guide

A resource guide for the Righting Canada's Wrongs series that provides lessons in historical thinking.

Shopping Cart
Scroll to Top