Arviat woman recalls harrowing attack

Accused faces 8 charges following May 3 incident

Rachel Aggark, before and after the May 3 incident at her Arviat home. (Photos courtesy of Rachel Aggark)

By Arty Sarkisian

When Rachel Aggark returned to her Arviat home after work on May 3, she had her evening all planned out.

Her husband was at work, most of her seven children were visiting their cousin, and two others in their late teens and twenties were asleep in their rooms. So she would quickly clean the house, then drop by her friend’s place.

Aggark gathered all the dirty dishes and put them in the sink to soak. She started sweeping the floor, and soon reached her front porch. It was about 8:30 p.m.

Aggark said she was outside on her porch when a young adolescent girl ran up to her.

The girl was shaking, Aggark said in a phone interview June 3.

Aggark said she saw a man approaching her house, carrying a piece of wood she said looked like a baseball bat with nails sticking out of it.

She said she knew the man. When he was younger, he was a good kid who was loved by his parents, she said.

But that night, Aggark alleges, he was drunk.

Aggark said she took the girl, who appeared frightened but not injured, inside and locked the door.

“I was trying to calm myself because there’s a child beside me, I don’t want her to be scared,” Aggark said. “I need to be strong because I’m an adult, you know?”

She told the girl to run away through the back door. But the girl ended up hiding under the blankets in Aggark’s bedroom.

The man pushed into her house, breaking the lock and the door siding, Aggark alleged.

“Where is that little girl?” she remembered him demanding.

“You don’t need to know,” Aggark replied.

The man started yelling.

The next thing Aggark said she remembers is waking up at the Arviat health centre with her skull “cracked and shattered” around her left eye. She was later transported to a hospital in Winnipeg.

She spent three weeks in the hospital receiving treatment for her injuries, as well as counselling.

“God, you gave me another chance of life,” she remembers thinking at the time.

Rachel Aggark and her husband Royden Aggark before the incident. (Photo courtesy of Rachel Aggark)

In a news release three days after the incident, RCMP in Arviat said they had arrested a 26-year-old man.

He was charged with one count of aggravated assault, two counts of assault with a weapon, one count of possession of a weapon for the purpose of committing an offence, two counts of break and enter and two counts of assault causing bodily harm.

Nunatsiaq News has chosen not to name the accused because his charges are still making their way through the courts. His next appearance is scheduled for June 17.

The lawyer who represented him as duty counsel at his first appearance declined to comment, adding that he wasn’t sure if the man had hired a lawyer yet.

Aggark questioned whether alcohol played a role in the incident. She said she learned at the hospital that the little barefoot girl who ran to her house wasn’t physically injured in the attack.

Aggark herself spent about three weeks in Winnipeg receiving care, including some time in victim counselling which gave “her more strength.”

She is going to follow up with her doctor later this month in hopes of getting a hearing aid — ever since the attack, she can’t hear in her left ear.

This all came, Aggark said, as she was having the “best time” of her life. She was loving her new job. She had recently been promoted to manager office clerk at the Arviat District Education Authority.

For now, though, she is staying home. She said she knows she probably won’t be able to handle her job like she used to, but hopes to be able to go back once she is recovered.

“This was a tragic day,” she said. “But I’m happy and thankful that I’m here with my children and my husband. We are blessed.”

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(12) Comments:

  1. Posted by 867 on

    How was the assailant drunk if arviat is a dry town without beer and wine store?

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    • Posted by Because on

      Because ‘dry community’ policies don’t work. It may make drinking more underground, but this just makes binge drinking and abuse worse as things have to be a bit more concealed and less normalized, while creating another issue that comes along with bootlegging and inflated pricing.
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      My town was a ‘dry community’ when I was a kid and there was more violence and binge drinking. Now you can get things in stores and things have gotten better – normalized drinking seems to lead to more moderation, younger people seem to drink less than decades ago, and there isn’t really bootlegging violence anymore by people trying to control the money maker that comes with controlling the inflated prices.
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      Dry community policies just makes the religious types feel better, I have never seen a community helped by them yet.

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      • Posted by Paul on

        Rankin is a hub for air travel in the Kivalliq, when you pass through on your way home you can buy wine and beer, or have someone send it to you, it’s easy, we have access to the beer and wine store in other communities.

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      • Posted by Targeted 9 on

        YES! Arviat is a dry community. Over 10 years ago, I had a neighbor who was a bootlegger. They would party and party! I would call the cops on them and nothing was barely done to resolve the many incidences. And 2024 grad night, the educators were recorded drinking away with the grads. Well, what do you say to that?! We should order more Canada dry soda drinks then? The ones that cause choas or bring alcohol into the community are friends with the RCMP! Ask the vulnerable and the less fortunate and you will get eye opening results.

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  2. Posted by Wishing you all the best on

    Wishing this woman a blessed and happy life moving forward! You help that poor girl from a dangerous man! Nunatsiaq, just name him, he was already named and why protect him?

    I hope the courts consider what exactly was he up to in chasing an adolescent girl with a weapon? What was he trying to do to her? Harming any child any isn’t okay. What’s with violence against girls and women? He broke in and badly injured her, all for what? Stop. Taima. Enough! Need harsher punishment for violence in this territory, it needs to change and show there is no space for it in our culture and society! We should speak out to our law makers about this.

    Wishing you a speedy recovery, we need more people like her who protect kids in need!

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    • Posted by Booble head on

      Nunatsiaq News is staffed by moral cowards and rage farmers. You can see how both play into the decision not to name the perpetrator.

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  3. Posted by ummm on

    First off – slap on the wrist…
    Second – Close the beer and wine store… oh wait there isn’t one to blame…

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  4. Posted by Adam on

    Passing the buck since the Garden of Eden?
    “It’s their fault for having a beer store.”
    Attempting to minimize the severity of the attack? Especially going after a child with a bat?

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  5. Posted by …and what about the trauma? on

    It is astounding that no one asks about any trauma counselling for the child first of all, and for Rachel. This kind of violent act for a child is devastating, but no one thinks of, or provides victim services for the children who have witnessed or experience violence in this territory. There are two victims of violence in this incident – the child also needs service and be considered in this impact of the man’s actions in court. Come on – with 51% of the population youth and growing, get the services and supports in order. This child – like many other – are living in war zones. Get them the help they need through RCMP, Community Justice Victim Services and Mental Health.

  6. Posted by throw away the key on

    its a shame , in canada , we dont have capital punishment.

    save tax dollars and start injecting .

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