Mary Flaherty was only two years old when she was taken for tuberculosis treatment in a southern sanitarium. Tuberculosis treatment wasn’t available in the Arctic, so she and thousands of others were shipped by the government to sanitariums in Hamilton, Montreal, and other southern cities.
Mary was cured after six months, but it took two more years for her to be returned to her family because no records were kept of where she came from or who her family was. By the time she made it back to Grise Fiord, she’d spent half of her short life in a sanitarium, couldn’t speak her parents’ sole language, and didn’t even recognize their faces.
“Ignorance and incompetence made my sister a stranger in her own family,” her sister Martha says.
Read more: Vice News, 13 June 2014