The Experimental Eskimos
May 9, 2009
In the early 1960s the Canadian government conducted an experiment in social engineering. Three young Inuit boys were separated from their families in the Arctic and were sent to Ottawa, the nation's capital, to live with white families and to be educated in white schools. The consequences the experiment would have on the boys, their identity and culture was brushed aside. The bureaucrats did not anticipate the outcome. The three grow up to be political activists and leaders - often at odds with the government that brought them south. They establish aboriginal rights in Canada and are instrumental in the creation of Nunavut, the world's largest self-governed aboriginal territory. But it all comes at a tremendous personal cost. Peter Ittinuar, Zebedee Nungak, and Eric Tagoona recount their stories, achievements and challenges in this film about an attempt at assimilation, empowerment, and the triumph of the human spirit.