Statement – Police Violence in Nunavut – NTI Calls for a Trauma Informed Approach and an Independent Oversight Model
Since 1999, there have been at least 15 deaths in Nunavut at the hands of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated (NTI) hears from fellow Inuit that Inuit are scared of the RCMP and that police use excessive force in many interactions. NTI calls on the Government of Nunavut (GN) and the RCMP to shift their practice from violent behaviour to nurture community wellness with a trauma informed approach.
On Tuesday morning, Inuit woke up to a video circulating in social media witnessing the RCMP using excessive force to arrest an Inuk in Kinngait, Nunavut. We see and hear Inuit, this violence is not acceptable and it is a call to action.
The institutional framework for the delivery of justice programs is at best only a partial solution to justice problems and the real determinants of criminal and other forms of destructive behaviour is the lack of social, economic and cultural well-being among Nunavut Inuit.
The consistent and increasing frequency of these violent incidents involving the police indicate these are not one off events, these are systemic issues within the justice system. It is clear there is a problem at hand and it is time to acknowledge it so change can occur. It is time to begin to move toward a trauma informed system of care in Nunavut, creating safety nets for Nunavut Inuit who, by no fault of their own, are struggling to succeed in the Nunavut society. This is the first recommendation of the 2013-14 State of Inuit Culture and Society Examining the Justice System in Nunavut.
Further, since January 1st, 2020 the Ottawa Police Service has been called in to investigate incidents involving the Nunavut RCMP five times. It is unacceptable for the police to investigate themselves. Nunavut Tunngavik Incorporated supports the call for the establishment of an independent, alternative oversight model.
Inuit must again live with dignity.