(March 19, 2008 – Iqaluit, Nunavut) Commissioner James Igloliorte of the Qikiqtani Truth Commission and RCMP Commissioner William J.S. Elliott recently met in Ottawa. “This is a historic opportunity for Inuit and the RCMP to shed light on historic events and their repercussions, which are felt even today,” stated retired Inuk judge, Mr. Igloliorte.
During the meeting, Commissioner Igloliorte provided an update of the Commission’s work. Commissioner Elliott confirmed the RCMP’s support of the Commission’s work and stated that the RCMP will cooperate fully with the Qikiqtani Truth Commission. “This is an opportunity for us to further our relationship with the Inuit of the Qikiqtani Region. The RCMP will participate to its full ability,” stated Commissioner Elliott.
RCMP support includes granting the Commission access to the RCMP archives, copying and reproducing materials, and finding ways to help retired RCMP members who served in the Eastern Arctic to participate in Commission hearings. Commissioner Igloliorte also extended an invitation to the RCMP, as an institution, to make a presentation to the Commission.
The Qikiqtani Truth Commission will investigate the relationship between the RCMP and various Canadian Government departments and institutions. The Commission’s mandate is to conduct an inquiry surrounding the alleged dog slaughter, relocations and decisions made by the Government until 1980, that affected the Inuit culture, economy and way of life. The Commission’s main objectives are to ensure an accurate history and to provide recommendations that promote reconciliation between the Government and Inuit.
RCMP members during the period between 1950 and the early 1970s were often the only Canadian government representatives in the northern communities. Especially in the early days, the RCMP fulfilled a wide variety of Canadian government administrative duties, including recording births, marriages, and deaths, handing out family allowance, as well as enforcing a myriad of laws and ordinances on behalf of different government institutions.
Commissioner Igloliorte said “it’s important to remember that the RCMP members played and continue to play an active role in the Qikiqtani communities. While it’s important to understand the past and acknowledge it, we must also focus on today and the future. Both Inuit and the RCMP desire a better, cooperative and mutually supportive relationship. One of my main tasks is to make recommendations that promote restorative justice and reconciliation.”
For more information, please contact RCMP Media Relations at (613) 993-2999, or Madeleine Redfern, Executive Director, Qikiqtani Truth Commission at (867) 979-7035.