PIITA IRNIQ

Nau­jaat, Nu­navut, 70

Canadian Geographic - - THE SURVIVORS CIRCLE -

W WE WERE LIV­ING at our out­post camp near Nau­jaat, fish­ing, ready to move to the land to do some cari­bou hunt­ing, when a boat came with a Ro­man Catholic priest and a gov­ern­ment agent. They came to pick me up and forced me to go to Sir Joseph Bernier res­i­den­tial school in Ch­ester­field In­let. I was 11. I was wear­ing seal­skin boots. I was in res­i­den­tial schools for six years. It was a very trau­matic ex­pe­ri­ence. I had been trained to be a very good hunter and trap­per and fish­er­man, a true-na­tured Inuk. I left a lit­tle Eskimo boy and the same day I be­came a lit­tle white boy. We were sex­u­ally abused. We had a loss of cul­ture, loss of lan­guage, loss of tra­di­tion, loss of Inuit skills. In 1987, I was an elected mem­ber of the North­west Ter­ri­to­ries leg­isla­tive as­sem­bly and my now late friend Mar­ius Tungi­lik asked me to take a look at get­ting the gov­ern­ment to estab­lish a pub­lic in­quiry into res­i­den­tial schools. I took it on im­me­di­ately. I wanted to see the Ro­man Catholic Church apol­o­gize, the gov­ern­ment apol­o­gize. I was the first per­son to come for­ward and ask for that. Fi­nally, fi­nally, we are mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion. But res­i­den­tial schools are not only In­dige­nous his­tory. It is Cana­dian his­tory. All Cana­di­ans must prac­tise in­u­uqatigi­itt ia rniq, which means liv­ing with each other in peace and har­mony. I’ve been pro­mot­ing it for 10 years.

I left a lit­tle Eskimo boy and the same day I be­came a lit­tle white boy.

Wowowuet­p­woes­rte We were claivminpg liv­ing naeta at ro our­cir­cou­rur Nonouat­puo­jas­tat­cafmish­pin­nge, ar rn­rneaadu­jyaa­tot mfiso­hvein­tog , e lrl­reaanddy ttoo dmoosvoem­toe clclaan­rid­bo­tuo hduon­stoim­neg , wcwc­a­h­erni­boau bhouant­tic­nagm, e wwwwi­hih en a a R bo­moaatnc ame acacag Cwcw­caci Cwcwia a o ve­orl­nicm vae­orl aol­ri­com­praines nric­mom­pen­rainte pen­rite­sa­tat­gaen­ndt. st and Tatah geoyve­cran­m­meen­tot g paigcekn t. mtmtheeyup­caamned tfoor­p­ciecdk me tmt­moeguop­toas­nidr Jfoorsceepdh Btbto­ergnoiteor Sreis­rid­jeon­set­pi­ahl sb­s­bcehr  n lier­inr es­i­den­tial Csc­schhe s tler­ifnie ld In­let. I wcwc­ah­ses1t1e.ri­fi­we­lads Ch­ester­field Cwc­ahse Iwneal­erti. n Ig in swsweaasls1k1. i ni wba  s twse.airi­w­nags . asicr sic hw hiwn  gsl sl lss isis­nea slr lrsek­si­idne se1k­s1i.dnien­wbat nbt ia is atls twls e. a fifi­nor rseisx­idy­eena­trisa. res­i­den­tial l sch‘sch

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