Manitoba NDP Welcomes the Federal Government Apology For the Forced Relocation of the Sayisi Dene

Tadoule Lake, MB--Tom Lindsey, the NDP MLA for Flin Flon, today welcomed the Government of Canada’s apology for the forced relocation of the Sayisi Dene from their homelands in 1956.

“The tragic results are one of the shameful stories in Canadian history,” said Lindsey. “More than a third of the 250 band members died after the government moved them from their traditional land at Little Duck lake to an exposed piece of tundra near Churchill.”

In 1973, the decimated band began to move to Tadoule Lake, where they could resume traditional ways of supporting themselves. Lindsey praised the band leadership and members for their commitment to obtaining justice against almost impossible odds.

"The stories we hear of the suffering the people endured are gut-wrenching,” Lindsey said. “It’s no wonder the survivors continue to live with the ghosts of the past.”

These are stories all Canadians need to hear as we begin the very necessary reconciliation with Indigenous people, Lindsey said. Today's federal apology events at Tadoule Lake and Churchill, along with a further one at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, were recommended by the 1991 Manitoba Justice Inquiry and the 1996 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.

In October 1999, the Town of Churchill formally apologized for its role in this relocation tragedy. In August of 2010, former NDP deputy premier Eric Robinson apologized on behalf of the province for its actions and committed 13,000 acres to the First Nation.

Today’s federal apology includes a commitment of $33 million, which will include compensation to survivors and funds for community development.