Tuberculosis treatment required evacuations to Canada and take several years. Dr Schaefer believed the lower rate of tuberculosis in one Inuit community reflected their better traditional meat diet while the higher rate in another reflected the southern foods purchased at the local trading store.
The Northern Copper Inuit - A History
These evacuations, although necessary, often proved to be very stressful and disruptive to Inuit families, who might find themselves without a mother or a father for years on end. The duration of TB treatment could vary, from several months to several years, depending upon the severity of the infection. One man from Holman was forced to spend almost ten years in Edmonton separated from family and friends. By and large, however, the Inuit from the Holman region were not as dramatically affected by TB as Inuit in the Coppermine region. Between 1962 and 1966, only 4.2 percent of the people from the Holman region were evacuated for TB; this is to be compared with 11.3 percent for the Coppermine region. Dr. Otto Schaefer(personal communication) believes that this lower rate for Holman families was due to a better and more traditional diet, compared with the Coppermine Inuit, who relied more heavily on southern foods from the HBC store.
These diseases, plus a high infant-mortality rate, had a significant impact upon the numbers of Copper Inuit.