Home > The Creation of Nunavut > Changing the Face of Canada > Relocation to Resolute Bay

Inuit woman accordeon

Relocation to Resolute Bay

John Amagoalik

The RCMP officers described this new place in very glowing terms. They told my parents that there would be a lot more animals, that we would have the opportunity to catch a lot of foxes and seals and to make money. They even said that there would be opportunities for employment if we desired. Reluctantly, my father finally agreed to the relocation, but only if two conditions were met. One was that we could return to Inukjuak if we decided that we didn’t like the new place, and that the whole group would stay together, that we would not be separated. The RCMP officers readily agreed to those conditions and promised that we could return after two years if we didn’t like the place, and that we would all stay together. So, under those conditions my parents reluctantly agreed to the move.

In the first chapter, John Amagoalik recounts the memories of his childhood in the seasonal camps. While some recollections might be hazy, he clearly remembers the proposal by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers to relocate his family from Inukjuak to Resolute Bay. He tells about his parents’ repeated refusal, and their ultimate acceptance, setting the scene against the backdrop of the relationships between the police officers and the Inuit at the time. John talks of the ship’s voyage to the High Arctic and tells about the different stopovers. He then returns to the separation of families—in spite of all the promises—and the reactions of the men, the women, and even the dogs, to the news. He recalls the hard living conditions in the High Arctic, and how his family managed to live through the first few winters even though the RCMP officers had left them with no food, thinking that Inuit could survive anywhere in the Arctic. He also draws a comparison between life in Nouveau-Québec and Resolute Bay. He tells about the hardships that confronted his community during the 1960s: tuberculosis, alcohol, violence. Then, he speaks about the Air Force garbage dump where people got wood to build houses, food, clothing and, for John, items of crucial interest—magazines and comic books!