National Geographic : 1968 Jul
EKTACHROME(ABOVE)ANDKODACHROME BYDAVIDS. BOYER© N.G.S. States and Canadian military invaded it to establish airbases and the DEW Line-Dis tant Early Warning radar stations to spot planes or missiles (page 28).* To get the mili tary men and civilian scientists safely there and sheltered came bush pilots and boat cap tains, contractors and construction men-all hungry for adventure and big wages. Back, too, came the North's prewar pros pectors, in search of lead, copper, nickel, iron, silver, gold, and now uranium. With them this time marched a new breed, men motivat ed by the aroma of oil. Behind them all were big development companies-Canadian, U. S., British, and, later, French and Japanese-all eager to exploit new treasures in an exploding, unexplored, open-ended world. "Our resources in the North," Mr. Co6t said, "are Canada's future. In a way, it is for tunate that they are deep-frozen and difficult to reach and to exploit. It gives us time to plan their development and conservation. "We have no spare time at all for our other major problem. We've got a social crisis in the North. It involves Indians, Eskimos, and whites. And it's a matter of now!" The Indian and the Eskimo have high lighted the entire romantic history of the North, but today they are shadowy figures in a new and muddled picture. Pushing in force into their developing North, Canadians find they can no longer regard the natives as simple aborigines, to be given guns, trinkets, and firewater in exchange for furs. Eskimos and Indians obviously have to be converted, somehow, into full-blooded and fully privileged Canadians. Planes Solve Problems - and Create Others "As we moved into the North in the 50's," Mr. Co6t recalled, "we began to realize that the Indians and Eskimos had to be given a radically new status. Colonial lands were achieving independence. In the United Na tions, Canada was encouraging and applaud ing this upsurge of self-government and human rights. How could we do so, in all logic, if we failed to give Indians and Eskimos the same life other Canadians have?" I was soon to see the problems in detail, and to witness what Canada was trying to do about them. Our ski plane crunched onto the ice of the mighty Mackenzie River, near its mouth in the Arctic Ocean. We had reached Inuvik, 50-million-dollar headquarters town of the Far North. Three thousand souls, native and white, occupy the model city. Besides government offices and laboratories for field scientists, Inuvik boasts one of the finest elementary and high schools in all Can ada. By bush plane from a score of outlying settlements, Indian, Eskimo, and white chil dren come to this boarding-school complex. Here they wear miniskirts beneath their muskrat parkas and receive a quality of edu cation that could never be delivered to their far-flung, isolated hamlets. The Canadian Government, I would learn wherever I went, is placing its money on the youth of the North. Unfortunately, air services to the settle ments contribute to problems for the older generation. They bring in rivers of Canadian whisky from government liquor stores. Liquor lessens the natives' fitness for their traditional lives of hunting and fishing, and makes them poor employees on the white man's jobs. *See "DEW Line, Sentry of the Far North," by How ard La Fay, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, July, 1958.