Greenland Reconciliation Commission finds colonization did 'a lot of damage'

Greenland Reconciliation Commission finds colonization did 'a lot of damage'
From CBC - January 4, 2018

The Greenland Reconciliation Commissionreleased its final reportlast month after three years of research andpublic outreach.

The commission, launched in 2014 to investigate human rights abuses against Inuit in Greenland, stirred controversy as leaders in the Danish government denounced it and said it would not take part. Denmark was a former colonial ruler of Greenland.

The reportreleased on Dec. 8 is only available in Danish and Kalaalisut, a dialect of theGreenlandic language.It examined the role the Greenland government played in colonialism.

"[It looks at] howdo we, as Greenlanders, reconcile with ourselves," saysKarlaJessenWilliamson, a member with distinction on the commission and anInukwho grew up in Greenland, but now lives in Canada.

The commission found that colonization of Inuit in Greenland had"done a lot of damage," says Williamson.

Colonial policies the commission looked at included the widespread practice of payingnon-Inuitworkers higher wages than local people, the relocation of entire families from their traditional lands into settlements, and separating children from their parents, sending them away to Denmark for schooling.

"We were treated very, very badly," said Williamson, who says her own family wasrelocated.

Williamson also said the issue has now become "internalized" for the people.For instance, the commission found the young and old participate in thepractice of"mobbing"where Inuit exert social pressure on each other based on differences in dialects or forbeing tooInukor notInukenough, says Williamson.

Applicable to Inuit in Canada, says Williamson


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