[Edmonton] – Inuit were greatly affected by the tuberculosis epidemic in Canada from the 1940s to the 1960s. Many succumbed to the illness and were buried in cemeteries near hospital facilities in the South, without their families even being notified of their deaths or where they were buried.
The Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC) has been hard at work – under our Nanilavut Project “Let’s Find Them” (a Government of Canada partnership with ITK and Inuit Nunangat) – to search for and honour those Inuvialuit lost during the tuberculosis epidemic.
The Nanilavut Project Team has now successfully located and identified the burial sites of twelve (12) Inuvialuit beneficiaries who lost their lives during the tuberculosis epidemic. To honour these beneficiaries, the Nanilavut Project team has arranged for public and private Remembrance and Celebration of Life Ceremonies for the families of the beneficiaries who have been located. The first of these ceremonies was held on August 8, 2022, and between August 15- 17, 2022.
IRC will be hosting the Inuvialuit Grave Marking Commemoration Ceremony on August 18, 2022, with families and dignitaries starting at 1:00 PM at Fort Edmonton Park’s Blatchford Field Air Hangar, 1920s Street. The Inuvialuit Regional Corporation welcomes all Inuvialuit beneficiaries in the Edmonton area to attend.
On August 19, 2022, at 8:30 AM the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation will be doing a Journey of Remembrance, as part of the Nanilavut Project, the laying of the wreaths at each of the five cemeteries to mark the graves of the twelve Inuvialuit buried in the Edmonton area.
“Too much time has passed without proper answers or commemoration. The IRC’s goal is to give each Inuvialuit family the proper closure for their loss, and to pay respect to their lost loved ones from the Inuvialuit Settlement Region.” -- Duane Ningaqsiq Smith, IRC Chair and CEO
Please contact Beverly Lennie, Nanilavut Project Manager Inuvialuit Regional Corporation at email@example.com, or at 867-777-7066, if your family is still searching for someone lost during the Tuberculosis Epidemic.
For media inquiries, please contact Communications, Alexandrea Gordon at 867-678-5490 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Inuvialuit Regional Corporation
Established in 1984 to manage the settlement outlined in the Inuvialuit Final Agreement (IFA), Inuvialuit Regional Corporation (IRC) represents the collective interests of Inuvialuit in and beyond the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR). The IRC works to continually improve the economic, social, and cultural well-being of the Inuvialuit through the implementation of the IFA and by all other available means.
Image credit: Sheree McLeod
For more information on IRC's Nanilavut Initiative: https://irc.inuvialuit.com/service/nanilavut-initiative