Trust funds frozen for High Arctic ‘ human flagpoles’
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.