Qikiqtani Truth Commission Process

From 2007 to 2010, the Qikiqtani Truth Commission (QTC) gathered testimony about events that took place between 1950 and 1975 from Inuit who had lived through this difficult period. It interviewed non-Inuit who worked in the region during this period, such as retired RCMP officers, government officials and academics. It also completed an extensive archival research program.

The QTC interviewed 345 witnesses during 16 public hearings, reviewed 131 interviews taped by QIA between 2004 and 2006, and compiled an authoritative collection of historical documentation about the relationship between Inuit and government between 1950 and 1975. Through this work, the QTC documented in detail many of the decisions, actions and events that characterized this period of great upheaval for Inuit, and which ignited a rapid social and economic transformation of the Qikiqtani region.

The complete set of QTC reports present a history of the Qikiqtani region based on Inuit experience as shared during the commission, and extensive archival research. These reports examine how the lives of Qikiqtani Inuit changed during the QTC period as a result of government decisions and policies.

In September 2013, a QIA delegation met with representatives of the Government of Canada in Ottawa. The intent of these meetings was to issue copies of the reports and present the findings and recommendations of the QTC. QIA continues to work to secure the commitment and partnership required to achieve acknowledgement of past wrongs and to implement the recommendations put forward by QTC.

Key Findings

The QTC concluded that the Canadian government was the primary agent of the changes that swept the Qikiqtani region between 1950 and 1975. Policies and programs, motivated by ideological, political and economic reasons, were imposed on Inuit without consultation or consent, and with the overall intent of making the North more like the South. Further, while often conceived and implemented with a claim of having the best interests of Inuit in mind, Inuit culture was not considered or understood. Many projects were poorly thought out, frequently mismanaged and/or underfunded.

As a result, Inuit experienced immediate and tragic cultural, personal, and economic losses during this period, the effects of which are still being felt. In some instances, the consequences have been passed on to younger generations. Inuit today continue to face many challenges, such as high levels of poverty, incarceration, addiction, and illness. While there is greater opportunity to participate more fully in Canada’s political and cultural life, the reality is that many Inuit still struggle day-to-day.