A fatal year in Nunavik

Kativik police and councillors concerned about uptick in crime-related deaths

Charlie Arngak, an executive member of the Kativik Region Government council, speaks on Nov. 26 to share his concern about the high number of crime-related deaths in Nunavik. (Photo by Elaine Anselmi)

By Elaine Anselmi

An increase in crime-related deaths in Nunavik is worrying to the region’s police and political leadership.

“If we look at the life today in Nunavik, there are many deaths that are not health-related,” said Charlie Arngak, an executive member of the Kativik Region Government council, during a meeting last month, on Nov. 26.

“We are teaching our younger generations that these deaths, not to do with health and suicide, are just the norm. We’re teaching this to our younger generation and it should not be so.”

His request, put before the leadership of the Kativik Regional Police Force, was for more investigation into these deaths—many, he said are deemed to be a suicide when it may not be the case.

“Here we are pretending to work so hard on issues … are we just going to stay talking about this with no action?” Arngak said. “We have to come up with a resolution we can show to the population. Even if someone is buried they can be investigated. There are too many deaths in Nunavik.”

Police chief Jean-Pierre Larose agreed the high number of deaths in Nunavik this year was alarming. But, he said, all deaths are investigated.

He confirmed there are two investigators in Kuujjuaq and they’re planning on basing two more out of Puvirnituq.

“We work alongside the Sûreté du Québec,” Larose said. “They all are investigated with experienced police investigators and our investigators are working alongside them.”

There were eight homicides in Nunavik in 2019, up from only two last year, said deputy chief Jean-Francois Morin. And these statistics are only from January to end of October this year.

Additionally, there were six attempted murders in 2019, while only four last year.

“Total criminal incidents this year is up to 10,100 incidents, which is a four per cent increase from last year,” Morin said.

Between 2017 and 2018, the number of criminal incidents increased by less than one per cent, according to the KRPF crime statistics.

“I am very concerned about this situation—2019 was a fatal year,” Larose said. “We have a lot of deaths and we are well concerned and preoccupied by this situation. But you must understand that the police is one actor among others. We need to work together on those issues.”

He agreed with Arngak that a resolution was needed to work together to tackle the growing number of crime-related deaths.

“We are part of the solution, to work together,” he said. “We cannot do it alone. We need some help from the community and from partners.”

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(15) Comments:

  1. Posted by Inuk on

    I agree with Argak because he is a Inuk and other one i don’t trust them since day 1!!!
    Yes they are murderers walking freely not just in Kuujjuaq and Puvirnituq,
    they put the ruled as a SUICIDE but they were murdered!!!

    “Here we are pretending to work so hard on issues … are we just going to stay talking about this with no action?” Arngak said.

    • Posted by Bad guy good guy on

      Hey : inuk. You agree with all inuit? But don’t trust non inuit, Is that what you are trying to say? And if the murderers are Inuit who have murdered inuit , who do you agree with then. Hey , just saying. You make no sense. If I were in thoughts like yours , I would not believe in doctors who performed surgery either, I would have my fellow inuk perform it.

  2. Posted by Said that didn’t I. on

    Same old story, sometimes trying to speak the truth , its gets pushed over into the denial drawer. Its all about alcohol and drugs, more so alcohol. Kuujjuaq and puvirnituq are at the front here, due to beer and wine sales at the local co-op. No one wants to go there, charlie and the police are speaking a very frightening truth. All these deaths coincided with the alcohol sales locally. When alcohol was harder to get, things were more peaceful. My suggestion is not famous, but its the truth. Until alcohol is banned as a product for sale in inuit communities, things will not change, only getting worst. Stand up against alcohol use in inuit communities.

  3. Posted by Sober Buzzard. on

    I don’t think anyone would die for not drinking alcohol or quit consuming it. As a matter of fact one would become sober, real, think clearly, conscience clear, and one’s life would change for the better. But that is one’s choice isn’t it? One would also have very relieved and happy family, get a job, provide food, shelter, and hope for the whole family. That is possible but again that’s one’s choice to take again. We need to have leaders who are telling the truth no matter how painful it may be and as for the family circle, stop having small children listening to our junk gossip or disputes between spouses who should know better to talk about their problems without their children suffer and be bomb blasted by words from parents who are literally killing someone with their destructive words. Immaturity is an enemy with an ugly face forming to an uglier one in the future as they grow believing lies that came from parents egotistical arguments. Police and social services are doing their darndest to help but they cannot keep the lid on the pot of violent disputes spilling out into the community. Leaders…have the courage to make a difference and tell the cold hard facts, and the truth that always pave the way to the right path.

    • Posted by To drink, or not to drink. on

      I agree with you sober buzzard, but i want to make a point about something. Many people drink alcohol, north, south , east and west. We are discussing the north here as we all know. Out of the many people that drink alcohol in the north, many do have that nice life you talk about in your comment. I think that to be able to have a nice glass of wine, or a few cold beers, a nice cocktail, is among the cream of the crop on life. Now thats for the people that can enjoy it so. But you and i know all too well, that the nice of what I described is opposite of what we are seeing in Nunavik. There are just way too many who drink alcohol in Nunavik , not doing well with it. Would you ever consider that there are so much death from alcohol abuse in Nunavik! That banning it, as a easy to get product might be the best thing that can be done for Nunavik? After all Nunavik is special with so much problem from alcohol. So ban it completely (not by law! Just by, no more sales at the co-op), yes ban it from Nunavik communities. Hey! Don’t worry about people like me that enjoy it! We know how to get it and how to drink it.

      • Posted by Sober Buzzard on

        You are right TD or ND. Many good people drink responsibly and that is good to know we have the rights that many people don’t in this world. With all the challenges we face it will be by our will to make changes for the better. It is sad though that many also fear local bullies that intimidate people and victims who cannot voice their … but I’ve hope too for a better family community under strong leadership who are caring… Merry Christmas everyone.

  4. Posted by Good cop, Bad cop on

    There have been many questionable deaths occurring in some Nunavik communities for quite a while now and it seems that some deaths are not or have not been properly investigated all because those victims of potential homicides were found hanging from a ceiling or closets indicating suicide. I’ve heard through the grapevine about people having witnessed or closed to witness people getting killed and murdered or deliberately thrown in water/river never to be seen alive again. I’ve even heard some culprits being named.
    This means that some people are getting away with these murders all because the KRPF is an incompetent police force since they’ve only labelled some people found hanging by a rope as a suicide victim and nothing else.
    People who may have witnessed a killing or a murder are afraid to come forward since they’ve already been warned by the culprits. The law enforcement has to approach these people themselves if they want the homicide victim’s families some justice.

    • Posted by He said she said on

      Hearing stuff thru the gravevine is called gossip. That kind of talk is not considered valid in any case of seriousness. If you know Nunavik like i know Nunavik, you would know that gossip is alive and well, and doing no good. For the most part, i do believe a suicide in Nunavik is a suicide thats it thats all. There has been a very small percentage of suspicion towards homicide in a case or two, hey, who knows, it could be. But im seeing looking at if it was suicide verses if it was homicide as getting off track to the real issue. The real issue being, it matters not much, the point is alcohol and drugs should be stopped as a product of sale in Nunavik communities. As for the cause of death, let the investigation take its place. As ling as alcohol is sold at the lical co-op death will continue, and get worst and worst.

  5. Posted by The whole world is watching on

    The whole world is watching this unfold in Nunavik. Its not a dark secret. This is so negative of a life. Its so terrible for Inuit of Nunavik. This affects relations with everything and everyone that Inuit needs to deal with in life. Inuit consequently received the worst for this. This brings disrespect towards the Inuit nation. Our children will suffer the images of racism for many years to come. We will receive less in services because too many in government think we are less of a people. The only solution is to stop the sales of beer and wine at the stores. yes, i know boot leggers dream, but the death toll will be less.

    • Posted by INUK on

      I ll just go back to ordering from good old Marche Turenne

  6. Posted by Human Soul on

    The problem is really deeper than our understanding.
    The problem is own in the human soul, where each of us evaluate our own self. Our souls needs to find peace and wellness. Young people are the most vernable, because they are just beginning to question their identity and seek their purpose.

  7. Posted by Jesus nemesis on

    Jesus said” Life will be fu!* up in the last days… Don’t cry.

    • Posted by If Jesus is on

      If there is a Jesus, he’s no where to be found in Nunavik.

  8. Posted by Idiotic drinkers on

    More people need to speak out against those idiotic drinkers of good wine and beer. We need more ways to identify them. And make it illegal for them to drink our good stuff. Like never invite them to a drink. Never drink in the presence of idiots. They need more exposure and restrictions. The low lifers.

    • Posted by Those idiots on

      The same idiots throw bud cans out the window of their beat up truck, with no bumpers, fenders , and broken windshield. Cans all over the road ways. Then you see them with the same old beat up wreck off the side of the road, sometimes out a hundred feet, stuck on the tundra. You can tell that they’re always up to no good.

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