The Neville-Robitaille Report: Background Info

The composition of this Federal-Provincial team consisted of Mr. F. J. Neville who represented the Federal Government and Mr. B. Robitaille who was the Quebec representative.

The Terms of Reference of this team, as written in the report were as follows:

i) to clarify for the Eskimo population the meaning of the proposals for the extension of services to Eskimos in Quebec by the Government of Quebec on behalf of the federal government (and including the guarantees attached  to those proposals) contained in the documents which were translated and placed in the hands of the Eskimos in l969)
ii) to listen to and to record suggestions offered by the Eskimos by way of changes to the original or amended services proposals and, where possible, to incorporate those suggestions into the documents;
iii) to explain to and to seek the views of the Eskimos on the proposals, now under study, to integrate the existing dual (federal-provincial) systems of administration in Nouveau Quebec under one federal-provincial administration, as a transitional measure, pending the full extension of services by the Government of Quebec.

It was said that the travel itinerary and schedule of the team in each community would have to be long enough for the “Eskimo” population to express their views and to seek information on important matters.

Today we know our communities by their original Inuktitut names which were reinstated after the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, but the following was the itinerary of that team and shows the name of the communities as they were called by the governments in those days:

Poste-de-la Baleine (Great Whale River)         February l7 to 22
Inoucdjouac(Port Harrison)                February 22 to 25
Povungnituk                        February 25 to 27
Saglouc                        February 27 to March 1
Ivujivik                        March 1 to March 3
Wakeham Bay (Maricourt)                March 3 to March 4
Koartak                        March 4 to March 5
Payne (Bellin)                        March 5 to March 7
Fort Chimo                        March 7 to March 9

The government officials visited these 11 communities (Umiujaq, Akulivik and Aupaluk did not exist as they were also reinstated after the JBNQA) in the month of February and March where they landed on ice airstrips.

Visiting Salluit at this time of year for instance was not your average airplane trip we take for granted today. Big airplanes, DC-3s were used in those very cold days and seat belts were not normally used.   All smokers (which was practically everybody) lit up as soon as the plane was airborne and the few snowmobiles in the communities were used to guide the airplane as ice landing strip lights if the aircraft arrived the community while it was getting dark. All this is done to inform the Eskimos and Indians of the (new) up coming provincial services.

At each community, this group met first with the Community Council upon arrival to discuss the purpose of their visit, to find out if they had received the letter from the government and if the Eskimo had been informed of its contents.  They then decided together where and when the public meetings would be held.  In the larger communities, special arrangements were made to permit employed Eskimos time-off to attend some or all of the discussions and meetings were scheduled to minimize the disruption of essential services.  

Any continuous and uninterrupted period of public discussions were considered "public meetings" and by this definition a total of forty-two public meetings were held, each ranging in duration from two to five hours.

There were two official interpreters who alternated in the translations of all interventions during these meetings.  A third interpreter was appointed by the local Council in most communities and two additional interpreters were appointed in Great Whale River to interpret to and from Cree.

  • March 27, 2006
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