Tester, Frank J. and Peter Kulchyski (1994) Tammarniit (Mistakes), University of British Columbia Press, Vancouver.

Keywords: Arviat (Eskimo Point)healthhousing conditionsindoor air qualityresettlementResolute Bayshack housingtuberculosisWhale Cove

Using archival documents, Frank Tester and Peter Kulchyski trace the development of the Canadian welfare state in the Eastern Arctic between 1939-1963. The book focuses on involuntary relocations of Inuit, especially Henrik and Garry Lakes to the Hudson’s Bay coast and the High Arctic relocations from Nunavik.

There were several relocation efforts made to place Inuit in new settlements. The government justified these movements to benefit the health and wellness of Inuit. At Resolute Bay, resettlement occurred in 1953. Relocated Inuit lived in tents, which were reported by Qallunaat as being in terrible condition as there were no materials available to repair them. Inuit also built shacks out of packing boxes and any old lumber from the nearby Air Force base (p. 181). The Department of Defence did not provide Inuit with housing until 1956 (p. 188).

The Whale Cove community consisted of Inuit relocated from Henik Lake and Garry Lake. In 1960, there were 12-15 rigid frame houses lived in by 110 people (p. 300). Researchers observed that there were social divisions among Inuit groups in Whale Cove. In Arviat (Eskimo Point), 82 Inuit households occupied 64 wooden and snow houses (p. 358).

By 1964, settlements were governed by councils and other local organizations in charge of dog control, housing, morality, employment practices, etc. (p. 355). Inuit leaders criticised living conditions stating they were not better than those of their forefathers.

With resettlement, Inuit were tied to settlements because of the presence of buildings, healthcare services, and food. Inuit lived in “matchboxes,” prefabricated one-room plywood shacks, which were without running water, proper ventilation, and windows (334). According to the authors, these conditions contributed increased incidence of tuberculosis among Inuit.