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The Ihalmiut ᐃᓴᓪᒥᐅᑦ [ihalmiˈut] ("People from Beyond")[1] or Ahiarmiut ("the Out-of-the-Way Dwellers")[2][3][4] are a group of inland Inuit who lived along the banks of the Kazan River,[5] Ennadai Lake[6] Little Dubawnt Lake (renamed Kamilikuak),[5] and north of Thlewiaza ("Big River")[7] in northern Canada's Keewatin Region of the Northwest Territories, now the Kivalliq Region ("Barren Lands") of present-day Nunavut.[8]

Inland Inuit[edit]

The Ihalmiut ᐃᐦᐊᓪᒥᐅᑦ [ihalmiˈut], Caribou Inuit people,[9] are Inland Inuit who were also "known as the ("People from Beyond") or Ahiarmiut ("the Out-of-the-Way Dwellers").[10][11][12]

Until 1957, their home was in the region of Ennadai Lake.[9] Ihalmiut were Caribou Inuit, inland-dwelling people in the Barren Lands region whose subsistence centered on hunting barren-ground caribou. The Ahialmiut "subsisted almost entirely on caribou year-round, unlike other Inuit groups that depended at least partially on harvest of animals from the sea."[13]:27[14]


During Joseph Tyrrell's Barren Lands expeditions of 1893 and 1894 on behalf of the Geological Survey of Canada, he reported that there were approximately 2,000 Caribou Eskimo.

By 1934, Ihalmiut numbered 80, with 11 considered as heads of families. Their contact with Europeans was limited, but included Hudson's Bay Company's post managers, at the company's Windy Post, located in 1936 on a portion of Windy River called Simmons Lake, and later moved to Nueltin Lake. Ihalmiut traded their outer parkas, deerskin boots, and fur pelts at the post for guns, ammunition, and tea. Chipewyan and Metis traded here, too.[5]

In their 1994 publication, Tammarniit (Mistakes), Inuit Relocation in the Eastern Arctic, 1939-63, F.J. Tester and Peter Kulchyski accessed archival documents, including the Alex Stevenson Collection, which had been in storage in the Archives of the Northwest Territories archives, many of which had not been previously available to researchers.[15] They wrote that the Inuit whose camp was located on the Kazan River near Ennadai Lake and hunted caribou between Kazan River and Nueltin Lake, were known as Ennadai Lake Inuit.[15]:206 They hunted caribou between Kazan River and Nueltin Lake. In the summer of 1956 there were 30 men and women and 25 children. Twelve of the children were under five years old.[15]:206


In the late mid-20th century, the Ihalmiut began a series of federal government sponsored relocations in order to clear the land for government operations and to centralize Inuit populations under government control and surveillance.[16]

  • 1949, Ihalmiut were relocated against their will from Ennadai Lake to Nueltin Lake, but the relocation did not last as hunting was poor, precipitating the band's return to Ennadai Lake.
  • May 1957, Ihalmiut were airlifted from Ennadai Lake to Henik Lake, 45 miles from the Padlei trading post, a distance considered reasonable by the Government of Canada. Many Ihalmiut starved.[17]
  • Later in 1957, Ihalmiut were moved to Whale Cove where some began carving figurines for income.[18]
  • In 1958, 29 Ihalmiut went to Padlei because of its trading post, 39 were at Yathkyed Lake, and the majority were brought to Eskimo Point by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.[17]
  • In 1959, the Padlei trading post closed, and the remaining Ihalmiut were relocated.[17]

Apology by the Government of Canada[edit]

In 2018 The Ahiarmiut and the Canadian government came to a settlement agreement of $5 million for forced relocations of the Ahiarmut between 1949 and 1959.[19]On January 22nd, 2019, the Canadian Government formally apologized to 21 survivors and their families in Arviat, Nunavut. Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett delivered the apology in the community, saying the forced relocations were because of a "colonial mindset" and caused "indignity, starvation and death."

"This apology is a tribute to their spirits and their memories. It is also an opportunity for all Canadians to learn about and reflect upon a dark chapter in our history. I humbly and sincerely offer these words to all Ahiarmiut past and present. We are sorry."

Bennett also apologized for the amount of time it took to get an apology — when the legal claim was first filed, 27 relocated Ahiarmiut were still alive, at the time of the apology there were only 21.[20]

Media coverage[edit]

A photo of Stephen Angulalik and his wives appeared in Life magazine, in October 1937. An Ennadai Lake family were on the cover of the February 27, 1956 issue of Life magazine, with the caption "Stone Age Survivors", selected by the magazine as representing the most primitive of the Canadian Inuit. (King, 1998).

Decades later, Ihalmiut again gained attention in Ihalmio Elisapee (née Nurrahaq)[1] Karetak's 2000 (English language) and 2002 (Inuktitut language) documentaries about her people's struggle and starvation during their 1950s relocation[21] and the story of her mother Kikkik at Henik Lake.

Farley Mowat[edit]

Four of Farley Mowat's (1921 — 2014) books were inspired by the Ihalmiut. He wrote the first, People of the Deer in 1952[22], shortly after a field trip to the Canadian Arctic while attending the University of Toronto.[23] He wrote The Desperate People in 1959,[24]Death of a People-the Ihalmiut in 1975,[25] Walking on the Land in 2001,[26][Notes 1] and No Man's River in 2004.[5] Mowat, who advocated for the Ihalmiut, was a controversial, popular figure, who admitted that facts were not as important as the story itself.[27][Notes 2] In Chapter 5, "The Ennadai Lake Relocations, 1950-60", they acknowledge contributions to Ennadai Lake people's history by Farley Mowat, but they note that although some of his statements may be accurate, his books cite no sources and therefore they use only archival material for their book.[15]


  1. ^ Mowat's revisited the Ihalmiut and wrote his follow-up book Walking on the Land, in which he criticized the federal government, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and Catholic missionaries.
  2. ^ Globe and Mail obituary: "He was frequently criticized for playing fast and loose with facts in order to create compelling stories. At the International Festival of Authors in Toronto, Mowat once declared: “F–k the facts. The truth is what is important."


  1. ^ a b "Sample text for Walking on the land, Farley Mowat". worldcatlibraries.org. Retrieved 2007-12-24.
  2. ^ Betty Kobayashi Issenman (1997). Sinews of Survival: The Living Legacy of Inuit Clothing. Google Book Search. UBC Press. ISBN 978-0774805964. Retrieved 2008-01-11.
  3. ^ To Improve the Lives of Aboriginal People Archived 2011-02-21 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ The Ahiarmiut Relocations Archived 2008-05-29 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ a b c d Mowat, Farley. No Man's River. Toronto: Key Porter Books, 2004. ISBN 1-55263-624-0 .html text
  6. ^ "Remembering Kikkik". nunatsiaq.com. June 21, 2002. Retrieved 2007-12-22.
  7. ^ Bill Layman. "Nu-thel-tin-tu-eh and the Thlewiaza River. The Land of the Caribou Inuit and The Barren Ground Caribou Dene". churchillrivercanoe.com. Archived from the original on 2007-12-06. Retrieved 2007-12-24.
  8. ^ B Trerice (March 18, 2006). "Re: excellent response to seal hunt". nunatsiaq. Retrieved 2007-12-22.
  9. ^ a b Nunatsiaq (21 June 2002), Remembering Kikkik, Iqaluit, Nunavut: Nunatsiaq News, retrieved 22 September 2013
  10. ^ Issenman, Betty Kobayashi (1997), Sinews of Survival: The Living Legacy of Inuit Clothing, UBC Press, ISBN 978-0774805964, retrieved 2008-01-11
  11. ^ INAC (nd), To Improve the Lives of Aboriginal People, archived from the original on 2011-02-21
  12. ^ The Ahiarmiut Relocations, 2010, archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-05-29
  13. ^ BQCMB (2002), 20th Annual Report (PDF), Beverly and Qamanirjuaq Caribou Management Board, retrieved 22 September 2013
  14. ^ Csonka, Yvon (1991). Les Ahiarmiuts (1920-50): Dans la perspective de l'historie des Inuit Caribous. University of Laval. pp. 339–340.
  15. ^ a b c d Tester, F.J.; Kulchyski, Peter (1994), Tammarniit (Mistakes), Inuit Relocation in the Eastern Arctic, 1939-63, Vancouver: UBC Press, ISBN 978-0-7748-0494-3, retrieved January 17, 2019
  16. ^ "Ahiarmiut relocations and the search for justice – Northern Public Affairs". Retrieved 2019-02-03.
  17. ^ a b c Damas, David. Arctic Migrants/Arctic Villagers The Transformation of Inuit Settlement in the Central Arctic. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2002. ISBN 0-7735-2405-3
  18. ^ Aug 27, Jamie Malbeuf · CBC News · Posted:; August 27, 2018 2:46 PM CT | Last Updated:; 2018. "Ahiarmiut and federal gov't reach $5M settlement for relocations | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2019-02-03.
  19. ^ Jan 22, CBC News · Posted:; January 22, 2019 1:59 PM CT | Last Updated:. "'Dark chapter in our history': federal gov't apologizes to Ahiarmiut for forced relocations | CBC News". CBC. Retrieved 2019-02-03.
  20. ^ "Remembering Kikkik". Nunatsiaq News, nunatsiaq.com. June 21, 2002. Retrieved 2007-12-24.
  21. ^ Mowat, Farley. People of the Deer. Little, Brown and Co., 1952. ISBN 0-7867-1478-6 (Excerpt; Table of Contents)
  22. ^ Kennedy, John R. (May 7, 2014). "Canadian author Farley Mowat dies at 92". Global News. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
  23. ^ Mowat, Farley. The Desperate People. Little, Brown and Co., 1959. ISBN 0-553-14818-4
  24. ^ Mowat, Farley. Death of a People-the Ihalmiut. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1975.
  25. ^ Walking on the Land. South Royalton, Vt: Steerforth Press, 2001. ISBN 1-58642-024-0 (Excerpt)
  26. ^ Martin, Sandra (May 7, 2014). "Acclaimed Canadian author Farley Mowat dead at 92". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved May 9, 2014.

Further reading[edit]

  • Burch, Ernest S. (1978). "Caribou Eskimo Origins: An Old Problem Reconsidered". Arctic Anthropology. 15 (1): 1–35. ISSN 0066-6939. JSTOR 40315917.

External links[edit]