Robert Flaherty's film Nanook of the North - the fictitious story of an Eskimo hunter who lived in an igloo with his family in a mythical Arctic Eden of spring flowers and polar bears - captured the world's imagination when it was released in 1922. A mere two years after the event the man who played Nanook - the Inuit hunter Alakariallak - starved to death on the Arctic ice. By this time Robert Flaherty had quit the Arctic for good, leaving behind his bastard son, Joseph Flaherty, to grow up Eskimo. Thirty years later, the Canadian government drew up a list of Inuit who were to be experimentally resettled in the uninhabited polar Arctic and left to fend as best they could. Joseph Flaherty and his family were on that list and this is their tale: a chilling story of social tampering and broken promises which left two Inuit generations banished to a wilderness of almost unimaginable harshness.
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