From Gouvernement du Québec – Cabinet du Premier Ministre

Kangiqsualujjuaq, August 8, 2011. – The premier of Québec, Jean Charest, the Minister responsible for Native Affairs, Geoffrey Kelley, and the president of the Makivik Corporation, Pita Aatami, were in Kangiqsualujjuaq today for the signing of an agreement through which Québec recognizes the effect that the historic slaughter of sled dogs (Qimmit) had on Inuit society and their way of life.

This agreement follows the report of Justice Jean-Jacques Croteau, who was mandated by the Gouvernement du Québec and the Makivik Corporation to study the events surrounding the slaughter of sled dogs in Nunavik in the 1950s and 1960s. Such official recognition by the Gouvernement du Québec is one of the report’s recommendations.

In addition the Gouvernement du Québec agreed to award the Makivik Corporation $3 million. This sum, taken from the budget of the Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones, is intended to support the Inuit in protecting and promoting their traditions and culture.

“With the Plan Nord, the social and economic development of Nunavik will pose all kinds of challenges. To successfully overcome them and ensure the prosperity of our future generations, a relationship of trust between our two nations is essential. In the spirit of mutual respect, the Gouvernement du Québec recognizes that Inuit society suffered from the effects of the sled dog slaughter. We hope that the agreement signed today shows Québec’s willingness to work hand in hand with the Inuit, for the benefit of all Quebecers,” the premier declared.

During the signing ceremony, the Québec premier presented the president of the Makivik Corporation, Pita Aatami, with a commemorative plaque marking the Gouvernement du Québec’s recognition of the experience of the Inuit population.

“A plaque will also be presented to each of the 14 Inuit villages to testify to the authenticity of our gesture. Today, all of the projects that require us to work together show us that we are able to communicate and to take each other’s interests into account in order to maintain harmonious relations. The respect that characterizes our relationship today is a testament to our ability to work together. We hope that this gesture will be part of the foundation for a very promising future for Québec and Nunavik,” stated Minister Kelley.

“Thanks to the dialogue and mutual respect that we maintain with the Gouvernement du Québec, we have reached a satisfactory solution. Today’s agreement is very important for us. It shows the Gouvernement’s sincerity toward its relationship with the Inuit. We can now face the future with greater serenity,” concluded Pita Aatami.

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Hugo D’Amours
Press Attaché
Office of the Premier
Phone: 418-643-5321

Marie-Josée Paquette
Press Attaché
Office of the Minister
responsible for Native Affairs
Phone: 418-646-9131

Jean-François Arteau
Legal Advisor and Executive Assistant to the President
Makivik Corporation
Phone: 514-745-8880

to download the PDF version of the Press Release