The practice of relocating Inuit populations, which had begun in the 1920s, took on new life in the 1950s. In response to perceived shortages of game, Inuit communities were moved from Ennadai Lake to Nueltin Lake in 1950 and in 1957 from Ennadai again to Henik Lake. These moves at least shifted people within the region with which they were familiar. More jarring, and much more highly publicized, were the relocations of various Inuit families from Inukjouak in northern Quebec and Pond Inlet on Baffin Island to the High Arctic communities of Resolute Bay and Craig Harbour, and later Grise Fiord. The High Arctic had not been inhabited by the Inuit prior to these relocations, but now some 16 families, numbering 92 persons in all, had been moved. Some returned to their original homes in the 1970s and 1980s at their own expense.
The relocatees expressed considerable dissatisfaction at the way they had been treated by the federal government, and their grievances were substantiated by such investigations as the Soberman Report for the Canadian Human Rights Commission in 1991. The Inuit asserted that the relocation had been imposed without their consent and was mismanaged from the start, ensuring that their basic needs were overlooked or ignored. They also maintained that the government promised to return them to their homes if the new locations proved unsatisfactory, a commitment never honoured. The Inuit have charged that they were used as pawns to establish or reiterate Canadian sovereignty in the High Arctic. The government denied this accusation, claiming that the removals were made for economic and humanitarian reasons based on the inadequate conditions in the home communities. The only concession officials have been willing to make is the acceptance of responsibility for the inadequate preparation and supply of the Inuit relocatees that led to their suffering. They have also acknowledged a failure to honour the promise to return the Inuit to Inukjouak and Pond Inlet. Compensation for these failings was offered, but no official apology has been issued.