By the late 1950s, the Canadian government was beginning to acknowledge that the manner in which it had been dealing with the Aboriginal peoples of the North, particularly the Inuit, had not been effective. In order to increase the access of Natives in the isolated regions of Canada to government welfare and health programs, the Inuit had been shuffled from their traditional small family groups that lived off the land to largely artificial communities that attracted more regular transportation service. In creating a more efficient system for distribution of public services, however, housing shortages and critical employment shortfalls resulted. In 1958, the government shifted its position by announcing that, henceforth, encouragement for local management of resources would be emphasized. Co-operatives were established in several Northern communities to manage critical fish and wildlife resources, initiatives that were soon followed by co-operatives designed to market local products such as handicrafts and arts. Housing problems were addressed by establishing residential projects co-operatives, and problems with the availability of retail goods were alleviated by the inception of co-operative stores. This marked a beginning for Northern Aboriginal peoples in taking the initiative in their economic lives within the context of the modern marketplace.

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Chinook Multimedia


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