Starting in the 1950s, the Arctic’s semi-nomadic Inuit were moved into permanent communities by the Canadian government. Children were often sent to Church-run schools far away from their families and communities.
Funded by the federal government, these schools were set up to assimilate Inuit and First Nations children into Western culture. Many children at these schools were abused.
Referred to by many Northerners as ‘The Trauma’, these events continue to affect the physical and mental health of Inuit today. Sexual abuse and alcohol and drug dependency have skyrocketed. Suicide rates among Canada’s Inuit are now 11 times the national average, one of the highest rates in the world.
Though many people are aware of these shocking statistics, they may not be familiar with the human face behind the numbers.
Lavinia Curley lives in Qikiqtarjuaq, Nunavut and she wanted to change that.
This is her story.
Documentary by Radio Canada International journalist Eilís Quinn.