Trust funds frozen for High Arc­tic ‘ hu­man flag­poles’

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - Canada -

Chilly fi­nan­cial mar­kets have frozen a trust fund in­tended to com­pen­sate the “ hu­man flag­poles” who marked Cana­dian Arc­tic sovereignty in the 1950s.

Years of poor re­turns have clouded the fu­ture of a trust in­tended to com­pen­sate the sur­vivors and de­scen­dants of Inuit who were re­lo­cated by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to in­hos­pitable and un­fa­mil­iar High Arc­tic is­lands.

That trust is now un­able to pay even its own ex­penses. And af­ter years of no pay­ments to the so­called High Arc­tic Ex­iles, a Que­bec judge has been asked to al­low trustees to divvy up nearly half the re­main­ing cash to the ag­ing sur­vivors be­fore it’s too late.

A de­ci­sion is ex­pected in June.

“It’s cre­ated an im­pos­si­ble sit­u­a­tion,” said Sam Sil­ver­stone, a lawyer and one of the fund’s trustees. “ We ba­si­cally can’t do any­thing.”

In the 1950s, 84 Inuit from 17 fam­i­lies in north­ern Que­bec and Baf­fin Is­land were taken to Corn­wal­lis and Ellesmere Is­lands to fore­stall pos­si­ble Amer­i­can or Dan­ish claims.

Those set­tle­ments later be­came the Nu­navut com­mu­ni­ties of Res­o­lute and Grise Fiord.

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