Anglican church should apologize


First of all, Anglican Minister Benjamin Arreak should take a cross-cultural course on Inuit culture in relation to sex education from his fellow Inuit. I think he would learn that in our Inuit culture, it is a sin to molest or abuse young girls.

There are four organizations who promote that they have never done anything wrong towards Inuit. They are: the Roman Catholic Church, the government of Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and the Hudson’s Bay Company.

The Anglican Church has been added to this list of people and organizations. They all claim to represent God and the law and as a result never admit or acknowledge their crimes against us Inuit. I have many stories to tell…

Not long ago, on February 27, 1996, Bishop Reynald Rouleau stood before the people of Iglulik, national television cameras and radio reporters and spoke the words: “On behalf of the Roman Catholic Church, I wish to apologize to the victims of mental, physical and sexual abuse, committed by the members of the R.C. Church at the Turquetil Hall/Joseph Bernier Federal Day School during the 1950’s to late 1960’s…”

Reverend Benjamin Arreak, an Anglican minister, is quoted as having defended the sexual molester, child abuse, because this is what Inuit used to do “in making young girls into womanhood.”

Well, there is something terribly wrong in my opinion. First, Reverend Arreak has opened a can of worms. Perhaps the time has come for Anglicans and non-Anglicans alike to begin talking about these holy roller’s sins committed towards Inuit in the name of promoting God.

Secondly, over the course of years that I spent at home in Naujaat-Repulse Bay and talking to many elders, I have never heard that it is within Inuit culture to sexually molest young girls and call it “an old Inuit tradition of treating young girls, to make them proud of their womanhood.”

Ministers or not, people who say and believe these things are not only scary but plain sick. Sexual abuse of children was not acceptable 5,000 years ago, it is not acceptable now, and it will never be within our Inuit culture!

I think, instead of saying “It is not what I intended to say,” October 17, 1997, Nunatsiaq News, Reverend Arreak should follow the example of Bishop Rouleau and apologize to the victim. This would go a long way towards healing.

The Inuit society is fed up and will no longer put up with those kinds of statements which come from people who we trust and who were placed in their positions to serve us and protect us and lead us spiritually.

Make no mistake, we will now speak out in defense of our young girls and boys! They are our future.

Peter Ernerk

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