Federal government apologises to Inuit for historic sled dog killings in the North

First Nations Elder at the apology. Photo via APTN.

This article was first published by APTN News Canada. It has been republished with permission.

The Canadian Press

The Canadian government has apologised for the killings of thousands of sled dogs decades ago.

Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett delivered the apology in Iqaluit Wednesday.

She says the government made a mistake by assuming it knew what was best for Inuit.

Between 1950 and 1975, Inuit in Nunuvut’s Baffin region were moved from mobile camps to permanent communities.

Sled dogs proved a hazard in the communities and the government required owners to muzzle and chain the animals.

An inquiry report in 2010 found that it became easier for authorities to shoot the dogs instead of enforcing the ordinances.

“We have and will learn from these great errors,” Bennett said Wednesday.

“We are committed to ensuring our future is different from our past. We apologise to Qikiqtani Inuit for the deep and lasting effects this has had in their lives and in their communities.”


1 Comment on Federal government apologises to Inuit for historic sled dog killings in the North

  1. Hello. I was deeply moved by this story.
    At least an apology has been issued. While it is good that it has been given, which does imply that there is recognition of the disruption caused and the pain and the loss inflicted, it does not mean that the wider public recognises and admits to the damage that has been caused to your people.

    In Australia, an apology for the stolen generations was delivered, but no apology, recompense or recognition for the land (therefore culture) which was stolen, from the very first contact: i.e. invasion!.

    Consequently, many of the newer citizens/people (those who came here less than 231 years ago) still don’t recognise or admit to the theft of land and culture.

    In Australia, our indigenous peoples also have to live with the anger, mostly suppressed, which arise from dealing with the “we know what is good for you” attitude of the “bosses” and those who have the power to determine their future. It is galling, and unjust. The failure, by successive governments, to fully recognise the indigenous people of Australia in our constitution, was, is, and always will be, unconscionable.

    I wish you all the best.
    Merlene Abbott

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