Experimental Eskimos

In: Social Issues

Submitted By alexandroz
Words 673
Pages 3
The Experimental Eskimos
It was in the 1950s that Canada started to look at the arctic regions and think about what they could get from that huge, icy and inhospitable region. Therefore, the government thought about the possibly cheapest way to achieve some control over this province: take three children, selected through an IQ test, and give them an education in order to create a Canadian-friendly political élite with the final objective of increasing the surface managed by the government. This is only the opening of the documentary “The experimental Eskimos”, born after the discovery of government documents that revealed how the experiment worked.
One of the most curious aspects about these events is how such a radical and quick transition from a rural society to a metropolitan context can affect a man’s life. In the 1960s, Eskimos’ life was still pretty traditional. Though living in a part of Canada, they barely spoke English and the highest expectations for a grown up man were proper of a rural society: being a good hunter and own a kayak. Eskimos life was felt as incomplete, so the boys’ parents did not fight with the government project, probably thinking that it was a good opportunity for their children.
Zebedee Nungak, Eric Tagoona and Peter Ittinuar, the three children, were then taken to Ottawa. The initial impact is how it can be expected from someone who lived in an underdeveloped society and observes a big city for the first time: the little Eskimos were fascinated by seeing so many people, cars, innovations, astonished by how everything was tidy and squared, and surprised from the smallest things, such as being called “dear boy”, Eric remembers.
However, this amazed status didn’t last long. The children were placed in neighbor families, but couldn’t rely on their real family to confess their new discoveries, experiences, feelings. Soon they faced…...

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