KANGIQSUALUJJUAQ, Quebec, Aug. 8 (UPI) — Quebec officials Monday signed a document recognizing the slaughter of sled dogs decades ago had a significant effect on the Canadian province’s Inuit culture.
Quebec Premier Jean Charest and Native Affairs Minister Geoffrey Kelley were joined by Makivik Corp. President Pita Aatami in Kangiqsualujjuaq to put their names to the agreement, which allocates $3 million to help the Inuit people promote their traditions and cultures, the province said in a statement on its Web site.
The agreement stems from authorities’ slaughter of large numbers of the sled dogs in Nunavik in the 1950s and ’60s. The Makivik Corp. is the legal representative of the Inuit people.
“In the spirit of mutual respect, the government of Quebec recognizes that Inuit society suffered from the effects of the sled dog slaughter,” Charest said in the statement. “We hope that the agreement signed today shows Quebec’s willingness to work hand in hand with the Inuit, for the benefit of all Quebecers.”
The premier presented Aatami, with a commemorative plaque marking the government’s recognition of the experience of the Inuit population. Plaques will also be given to each of the 14 Inuit villages.
“We hope that this gesture will be part of the foundation for a very promising future for Quebec and Nunavik,” Kelley said.
Aatami said the agreement is important to the Inuit because it shows the government’s sincerity in dealing with the native tribe.
“We can now face the future with greater serenity,” Aatami said.