Northwest Passage Essay

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Throughout history, the search for the Northwest Passage brought many explorers to the Canadian Arctic. The English seaman, Martin Frobisher, was the first explorer to make this journey. In 1576, he arrived on Baffin Island, part of the modern day territory of Nunavut. After arriving in the arctic, he made contact with a group of Inuit. Due to their isolation, this is one of the first contacts the Inuit had made with outsiders. Of course, as word of the Northwest Passage spread, a large number of explorers and whalers made their way north. By 1840, many whalers made it as far northwest as Pond Inlet and Cumberland Sound. (refer to figure 1)
The Inuit are an indigenous group, native to the Arctic regions of the world, including Greenland, Siberia,
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It was a predominantly American defense system to detect Russian bomber incursions into North American airspace, built in 1954 in response to the Cold War. This defense project affected the Inuit greatly. Before then, this group was relatively left alone. However, once the military started to make a presence in the Canadian Arctic, questions regarding Canada’s right to claim the north started to arise. In response, the Government of Canada relocated seven families from Inukjuak, Nunavik to what became the Nunavut communities of Grise Fjord and Resolute Bay. These families, known as the High Arctic Exiles, were used as “human flagpoles” confirming Canada’s sovereignty to the north. These families were forced to remain in these locations until the Canadian government agreed to help those who wished to leave in 1987. It wasn’t until ten years after that, the government agreed to compensate for their suffering.
The rise of military presence in Nunavut resulted in the creation of communities. Before the creation of the DEW Line, Inuit were encouraged by the government to keep living off the land, as they had been doing for centuries. However, once construction began, the Inuit had the opportunity to obtain employment, medical services and trade goods. This led to sedentary

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