Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau regrets the government’s treatment of the country’s Inuit in the 1940s to the 1960s.
The public complaint concerns the tuberculosis epidemic north of Canada in the early 1940s. Trudeau says government policy at that time was “colonial” and “destined”. According to him, the government knew that the policy “went hard over the Inuit”.
“We are sorry we forced you away from your family, not to show you the respect and care you deserved,” said the prime minister in a speech Friday.
In the early 1940s, thousands of Inuit were sent to tuberculosis treatment in southern Canada. Many people lived in southern Canada for years and often their families were not informed of their whereabouts or condition. Many were buried far from home, which meant that relatives did not know how they really did.
The Inuit were not allowed to practice their own culture and language. The authorities identified them with numbers, rather than using their names.