They shot dogs, didn't they?
March 25, 2010 7:47 AM   Subscribe

In the 50's and 60's, more than a thousand sled dogs were slaughtered by RCMP officers and provincial police, some of them killed in ad hoc gas chambers. A recent report from retired Quebec judge Jean-Jacques Croteau states that Ottawa and Quebec should apologize and compensate the affected communities for 'turning a blind eye' to the slaughter. You can hear Makivik President, Pita Aatami talking about it on CBC's As It Happens
posted by Bartonius (9 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Thanks, I'd never heard about this before. The idea of ad hoc gas chambers for sled dogs is certainly bizarre.
posted by stinkycheese at 7:50 AM on March 25, 2010

This is an odd post. The welfare of dogs (and cats) in the US at the hands of local governments in those days was not all that much better. Then reading the first article, it seems the post really missed the crux of the issue. The alleged destruction of dogs was a destruction of property to force the integration of Inuits into mainstream Canadian life. Is that a concern to folks at all, or does it only get noticed when it involves cute and fuzzy animals?
posted by 2N2222 at 8:14 AM on March 25, 2010 [3 favorites]

2N2222: It's a concern, especially in Canada. The forced integration of indigenous peoples was a long-term policy of the Canadian government, and some of the effects and ramifications are only now coming to light. Google Canada's Residential Schools for more info.
posted by rocket88 at 8:41 AM on March 25, 2010

2N2222—you might want to check out the book The Long Exile, which is not about killing sled dogs or integrating Inuits, but an astonishingly hamfisted program by the Canadian government to forcibly relocate some Inuits to a desolate island as a different sort of social-engineering experiment on the Inuit. So yeah, mistreatment of the Inuit is a concern.
posted by adamrice at 8:42 AM on March 25, 2010

The RCMP spent a lot of time working against Inuit way of life. The slaughtering of sled dogs was one in a number of ways to force them against a natural nomadic, following the seasonal hunt and the like. This included sending children away from their homes to southern residental schools where speaking inuktitut was forbidden , forced resettling into larger communities, and being legislated to wear copper discs that had numbers instead of names. This was almost a decade after WWII so we should have known better.

I don't give a flying fuck about cute and fuzzy animals (and in fact, would like Inuk and other first Labradoreans to continue to kill as many seals as they can get their hands on), but the reason why we have so many problems in the north right now is that we continue to attempt half hearted apologies and reconciliations at the end of these decades of destroying lives.
posted by PinkMoose at 8:43 AM on March 25, 2010 [2 favorites]

I'm proud of my cynicism, because even before clicking, I immediately guessed this had to do with "civilizing the abos" (i.e, taking away their traditional ways of making a living, to make them more easily controlled), not animal control.
posted by orthogonality at 8:45 AM on March 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Canadian Arctic Resource Council on the forced resettling of the Inuit.

If you can find a copy, Kulchyski, Peter and Frank James Tester. Tammarniit (mistakes): Inuit Relocation in the Eastern Arctic, 1939-63. Vancouver: UBC Press, 1994, is well worth reading, as are:

Marcus, Alan Rudolph. Relocating Eden: The Image and Politics of Inuit Exile in the Canadian
Arctic. Hanover and London, University Press of New England, 1995.

sorry for the academic formatting
posted by PinkMoose at 8:56 AM on March 25, 2010

I don't get the first link.

'There was no mass slaughter, but there kinda sorta might have been a bit of dog-shooting. Either way, the natives need money and apologies.'
posted by thermonuclear.jive.turkey at 9:17 AM on March 25, 2010

This kind of thing always confuses me, because 98.7%* of my experience with and understanding of the RCMP involves Constable Fraser. And I am pretty sure he would never gas sled dogs in order to force the Inuit into assimilating into Western culture. (What would Dief say?!)

Obviously this is a case where real life needs to be more like TV.

* The remaining 1.3% is Turnbull, obvy.
posted by ErikaB at 1:45 PM on March 25, 2010

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