The 1969 White Paper was met with widespread opposition inside and outside of indigenous communities.
As part of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, a Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established. Before its work got under way, Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a public apology on June 11, 2008, on behalf of the Canadian government. The apology is part of the process arranged by the government and the First Nations as parties to the agreement, part of an overall attempt to address the government’s role in the history of the Indian Residential Schools.
World War II brought a new awareness of human rights around the world. After the horrors of the Holocaust came to full light, few people could deny the dangers of racism. The anti-colonial movement was growing stronger around the world, and with the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 by the newly formed United Nations, many turned their attention to the rights of colonized people globally. In Africa, Asia, and the Americas, liberation movements helped bring the plight of millions under European colonialism to public attention.
In the 1990s, residential schools scholars such as James R. Miller and many indigenous leaders began to argue that the efforts of the Canadian government to assimilate the Indigenous Peoples in the residential schools embodied the principle of cultural genocide: assimilation was intended to destroy the Indigenous Peoples as culturally distinct group.
The term Inuit refers broadly to the Arctic indigenous population of Alaska, Canada, and Greenland. Inuit means “people,” and the language they speak is called Inuktitut, though there are regional dialects that are known by slightly different names. Today, the Inuit communities of Canada live in the Inuit Nunangat—loosely defined as “Inuit homeland”—which is divided into four regions.