Book exposing Innu persecution wins award

Professor Colin Samson, associate and supporter of Survival International, has won the prestigious Pierre Savard Award for his book on the forced assimilation of the Innu people of the Labrador-Québec peninsula.

Samson's book, ‘A Way of Life that Does not Exist: Canada and the Extinguishment of the Innu', tells of the shocking effects of assimilation. The Innu lived as nomadic hunters until the 1950s and 1960s, when the Canadian government forced them to abandon their land and live in settled villages.

Since they lost their land, the Innu have faced appalling health and social problems. One community has the world's highest suicide rate, while solvent abuse among children and teenagers, alcoholism, obesity and diabetes are rife.

Colin Samson co-authored the human rights report, ‘Canada's Tibet: The Killing of the Innu', published by Survival in 1999. ‘Canada's Tibet' provoked fierce debate in the Canadian media. One Innu man told Survival that the report was ‘outstanding' and had ‘caused rifts across the Atlantic'.

Survival's director Stephen Corry said today, ‘The destruction of the Innu is Canada's hidden shame. Colin has worked tirelessly to bring it to light, and I hope the Pierre Savard award will help bring this issue the attention it deserves.'

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