NTI denounces Oblate investigation, calls for larger inquiry

March 19 report finds priest Johannes Rivoire likely guilty of abuse

Kilikvak Kabloona, left, NTI’s chief executive officer, has renounced an investigation by the Oblates into historical allegations of sexual abuse of Inuit children by Rev. Johannes Rivoire. In this file photo, Kabloona speaks to the press in Lyon, France during a 2022 visit seeking Rivoire’s extradition to Canada. David Aglukark, an NTI employee also part of the delegation, looks on. (File photo by Emma Tranter)

By Jorge Antunes

The CEO of Nunavut’s top Inuit organization is rejecting findings from a recent investigation by the Oblates into the Catholic church’s response to allegations of abuse by one of its own priests.

Rev. Johannes Rivoire worked in Nunavut for about 30 years between 1960 and the early 1990s. He left Canada for good in 1993 after police began investigating him for alleged abuse of Inuit children.

That investigation resulted in charges being laid in 1998, which were stayed in 2017 when the Crown determined there was no chance of conviction.

RCMP laid one more charge of historical sexual abuse in 2022. This charge remains active.

The Oblates hired André Denis, a retired Quebec judge, last year to conduct an independent investigation into the allegations, as well as the church and RCMP’s response to them.

That report was released on March 19. In it, Denis wrote that based on a “preponderance of evidence” he believed Rivoire was guilty of sexually assaulting five Inuit children.

The report’s findings are not legally binding. None of the charges against Rivoire have been tested in court.

“We denounce the report,” said Kilikvak Karen Kabloona, CEO of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., in an interview March 29 criticizing the church’s investigation process.

“NTI has been quite clear that we have been expecting an open and transparent process, which would generally be a court process. One that Inuit can participate in and is public,” she said.

Kabloona said an independent inquiry would ask more questions than the report concerned itself with.

“Why did it take so long for the police to charge him? Why were the victims and families not kept informed of the progress? Why did the prosecutor dismiss the charges without speaking with the families? How did 30 years pass with absolutely no justice?” she asked.

Kabloona called historical abuse by Oblate church leaders in Nunavut a “significant” root of trauma for Inuit in the territory.

“The absence of justice has made this trauma worse,” she said.

A group of Inuit travelled to France in September 2022 to meet with the Oblate order there — and Rivoire himself — in a bid to bring the 93-year-old priest back to Canada to face his charge.

Rivoire refused to return to Canada, but the Oblates in France did say they would expel him from the order. However, Catholic leaders in Rome voted in February to keep Rivoire in the order, citing his declining health.

In his report, Denis urged church leaders to reconsider this decision.


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(20) Comments:

  1. Posted by Go to Court on

    “NTI has been quite clear that we have been expecting an open and transparent process, which would generally be a court process. One that Inuit can participate in and is public.”
    NTI has access to multiple billions in cash. How about you lawyer up and Rivoire civilly, asking for a court declaration of his guilt and a declaration in the competence of the investigators in the 90s. That way you can bring all the survivors in to testify and you can delve into the investigation of the crimes. Is that what you mean by an open court process?
    You already know you aren’t getting a criminal trial, and the report done by an independent judge doesn’t suffice for you, so go ahead and go to Court. You’re entitled to try.
    My take on this is that NTI milks this sad sad story to put on appearances that it performs relevant functions for Inuit. It doesn’t. It serves the wealthy. Focus on the homeless and underhoused in your backyard. Spend the money you have from Canada.

    • Posted by Johnny Oh Ima on

      This is about fighting for justice for horrific crimes committed by a monster that raped children not a sad story that NTI trying to gain legitimacy. Where is your common sense and compassion for victims who have to live through their trauma for the rest of their lives?

      • Posted by John WP Murphy on

        Hey Johnny. You mustn’t be paying attention. What happened by the priests and nuns of years gone by was atrocious. BUT, the harm inflicted on children in Nunavut continues today by their own people and there is little outcry about that. What say you?

  2. Posted by alex on

    “Catholic leaders in Rome voted in February to keep Rivoire in the order, citing his declining health.”
    That says all you need to know about the Catholic Church

  3. Posted by Bust out the corporate Visa on

    Where do I sign up to be part of the next delegation heading to France?

    • Posted by Wonderer on

      Would be best to note the cost for how many people to go make a stand. How much for this trip paid by Inuit monies?

  4. Posted by An Observation on

    So, NTI hasn’t had much experience dealing with the French bureaucracy, have they? Did anyone provide them with a primer on France and its culture before they chose this path?

    An observation based on my experience with the French – while in Canada being Inuk or representing Inuit carries some weight, I am confident that to the French bureaucracy they are just foreigners. The bureaucracy cares about France, the French, and French interests – as they should. The concerns of distant foreigners – not high on the priority list. Viewing French bureaucracy actions through either an Inuit or a Canadian lens will not help you understand them.

    Next time, do the homework, learn about French culture and ways, and what works and what doesn’t. Hint – attempts at public shaming, not so much.

    • Posted by NotThatSimple on

      Definitely, the French, like the Americans. and like the Catholic Church, will protect their own in ways that are very unique. There is a cultural element and a legal element. There is at least one of these other horrible priests who was extradited to face criminal repercussions in Canada; he is from another country, Belgium, a country with a different culture, but also a different legal system. From what I remember, the Church was unable to protect him. From what I understood from previous reports the President of France could agree to extradite the priest, he just decided not to do so; it appears from some reports that that president is Catholic, not necessarily the only reason he is refusing to send the priest to face justice, but perhaps an influence. He and his government probably also do not want to set a precedent with sending their citizens to be tried in other parts of the world… I hope the victims can find healing in other ways.

      • Posted by Cultural (In)competence? on

        I’ve wondered the same thing, before they left to conduct this international ‘business’, didn’t they take cultural competence training? It is routine in international affairs like this.

  5. Posted by S on

    IF Kilikvak Kabloona, NTI’s chief executive officer, cares, she will advocate for an investigation into current and historical sexual abuse of Inuit children by traditional members of Nunavut communities

    • Posted by John Paul on

      Please wait in line and no butting in, let’s start with the Catholic Church first where it all started.

      • Posted by S on

        Are you suggesting, as others have suggested, that you, Kilikvak and I should ignore the current abuse while you and her chase after phantoms from the past?

      • Posted by Putting this out there on

        To suggest that abuse of children and family members that happen now is 100% only the result of the abuse the church did is not true at all. Whoever thinks abuse never happened before they showed up is not listening to the stories that are shared.
        What some members of the church did was horrific and there should be justice. Just like what some of our illustrious elders have done and are protected by the community for doing are horrific.

  6. Posted by Mass Formation on

    Pushing a water bubble up hill gives NTI lots of lights, camera and action talking the illusion everything changes when accomplished.

    Until the bubble pops. And it’s been popping in Nunavut courts month after year after decade in continued silence.

    Take a peak at Iqaluit’s April, 2024 Criminal court Docket of over 50 pages listing crime after crime.

    Includes lots of 271 sexual assault, 272 sexual assault with a weapon and publication bans, because involved a child.

    It repeats over in Rankin, Arviat, Pang, Cambridge and other Hamlets…. Over and over are 271, 272 charges and publication bans without a tear of concern.

    Why NTI?

  7. Posted by Northern Guy on

    Denis’s report seems reasoned and well thought out. Maybe NTI would be better served addressing the ongoing trauma created by the dozens of horrendous child abuse cases that wind their way through the Nunavut Court of Justice on an annual basis rather continuing to focus on a single historic event that will never see the inside of a courtroom due to France’s extradition laws and the age of the perpetrator. I hope against hope that NTI will finally direct their highly paid CEO to focus her energies where they are truly needed

  8. Posted by Hunter on

    Catholic Church is a cult a cult that preys on children and should be banned from Canada end of story.

    • Posted by Hunter on

      “A cult is a group which is typically led by a charismatic and self-appointed leader, who tightly controls its members, requiring unwavering devotion to a set of beliefs and practices”

      This is the definition of a cult….End of Story. The only difference is their leader, the Pope is elected by the “College of Cardinals” a group of Sr. Church Leaders who are not elected but appointed by the Pope himself.

      This Catholic church needs to be investigated for human trafficking, child exploitation child abuse and how this so called religion organization protects their members from criminal charges under the name of GOD.

  9. Posted by CALEDON on

    France won’t give up this priest, and NTI will do nothing to help the victims
    of sexual abuse in Nunavut.
    People can only be pushed so far.

  10. Posted by Northman on

    If an Inuit person was in France and he committed these crimes, he would be called an animal, and thrown in jail.

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