Peter Ittinuar – Experimental Eskimo, MP, Negotiator

When Peter Ittinuar was 12 years old, he was happily hunting and fishing in his community of Chesterfield Inlet, Northwest Territories (Now Nunavut).

But the Canadian government picked him to be part of what it called the Eskimo Experiment.

Ittinuar, along with two other 12 year olds were sent to Ottawa for schooling.

They were cut off from their family and friends.

Canada wanted to see if Inuit children were smart enough to learn with southern children.

Ittinuar and his friends excelled in academics and everything they put their hands to.

But they lost their Inuit ways – no longer able to do what their friends in the north could do like hunt and skin a seal.

Ittinuar went on to become the first Inuk Member of Parliament where he told the House of Commons that it was time Inuit had their own homeland – Nunavut.

He eventually defected from the NDP to the Liberals under Pierre Trudeau.

Ittinuar went on to take part in constitutional talks that helped make Nunavut a territory in 1999.