The Experimental Eskimos

  • 70 minutes, HD, 2009


    In the early 1960s the Canadian government conducted an experiment in social engineering. Three young Inuit boys were separated from their families in the Arctic and were sent to Ottawa, the nation’s capital, to live with white families and to be educated in white schools. The consequences the experiment would have on the boys, their identity and culture was brushed aside. The bureaucrats did not anticipate the outcome. The three grow up to be political activists and leaders — often at odds with the government that brought them south. They establish indigenous rights in Canada and are instrumental in the creation of Nunavut, the world’s largest self-governed indigenous territory. But it all comes at a tremendous personal cost. Peter Ittinuar, Zebedee Nungak, and Eric Tagoona recount their stories, achievements and challenges in this film about an attempt at assimilation, empowerment, and the triumph of the human spirit.


    “Director Barry Greenwald zooms in on the emotional center of these stories.”
    – Susan G. Cole, Now Magazine

    “A great documentary with incredible characters and amazing archival footage.”
    – Roxane Hudon, Montreal Mirror

    “The Experimental Eskimos shows that the scars will always be there.”
    – Sean Francis Condon, MSN Entertainment

    “Strange, compelling, and all too true.”
    – Andrew Ryan, The Globe and Mail


    Directed by Barry Greenwald
    Edited by Nick Hector
    Director of Photography: John Westheuser
    Sound Recording: Jason Milligan
    Music: Mark Korven
    Sound Editor/Re-recording: Michael Bonini
    Producer: Peter Raymont
    Executive Producers: Janice Dawe, Peter Raymont
    Co-Producer: Alethea Arnaquq-Baril
    Production Company: White Pine Pictures / Paunna Productions


    Directors Guild of Canada, Allan King Award for Excellence in Documentary

    Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival, Best Feature Documentary

    Yorkton Film Festival, NFB Kathleen Shannon Award


    Hot Docs International Documentary Festival (World Premiere)
    Dreamspeakers Film Festival, Edmonton
    Alianait Arts Festival, Iqaluit (Nunavut Premiere)
    Festival of Inuit Film, Toronto
    DocFest Stratford
    Cinema Politica (Canada, Indonesia, Sweden)
    Leipzig DOK Festival, Germany
    Regent Park Film Festival, Toronto
    Global Visions Film Festival, Edmonton
    Ambulante Film Festival, Mexico (National tour)
    Docs for Schools – Hot Docs 2010
    DOXA Documentary Film Festival, Vancouver
    Montreal First Peoples’ Festival Présence autochtone
    Kumu Art Museum, Estonia
    Yellowknife Film Festival
    Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, Inuvik, NWT


    The Canadian Press, Nelson Wyatt
    The Georgia Straight, Charlie Smith
    Boyce’s Paper, Boyce Richardson


    White Pine Pictures Inc. Toronto, Ontario, Canada


    Please click thumbnails to view the full image.