According to approximately 200 reports made by Nunavik Inuit, a series of dog slaughters were undertaken or ordered to be undertaken by Canada and Quebec government officials or their representatives in several Nunavik communities from the mid-1950s until the late 1960s. Government officials and their representatives did not hold effective consultation with Nunavik Inuit, nor seek nor obtain their consent to the slaughters. Makivik has been seeking, on behalf of Nunavik Inuit, an acknowledgement of these events and remedial measures.
Two years ago, Makivik submitted a brief on the dog slaughters issue to the federal and Quebec governments. Makivik reiterated its demand that governments undertake an independent inquiry into the dog slaughters that occurred in Nunavik during the 1950s and 1960s. Also Makivik launched a documentary on the dog killings entitled “Echo of the Last Howl.”
The Federal Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development heard Nunavik and Nunavut witnesses speak to the issue. The committee adopted a motion to request that the government appoint a superior court judge to inquire into the matter.
In response to the standing committee’s recommendation, the commissioner of the RCMP was requested to review the RCMP’s actions with respect to the allegations. The executive summary of the RCMP report was submitted to parliament in November 2006. Makivik received the RCMP’s 775-page internal report in December 2006.
The report concludes that there is no information of an RCMP or a federal policy to eliminate sled dogs, but that the RCMP destroyed some dogs because they were disease-ridden, hungry, the number of dogs was too high or because they were dangerous.
The Quebec government was strongly lobbied by Makivik to conduct an examination on the dog slaughters in Nunavik. In addition, Makivik will be providing financial support to the QIA and collaborating in their work in establishing a truth commission on the dog slaughters.
Following a meeting between the president of Makivik and the Quebec Minister of Native Affairs, Benoît Pelletier, Quebec and Makivik agreed to address the issue of the Inuit dog slaughters through an independent examination. Quebec and Makivik jointly appointed a former judge of the Superior Court of Quebec, Judge Jean-Jacques Croteau, to lead the examination with the objective to review and analyze the events that occurred during the 1950s and 1960s concerning Inuit sled dog killings.