Statistics Canada has released a difficult study, “Police-reported Crime in Inuit Nunangat” by Mathieu Charron, Christopher Penney and Sacha Senécal. Difficult because it shows us something about our country, our society, that we commonly prefer to ignore, and difficult too because the problem revealed is amenable to no easy solution.
The term Inuit Nunangat, I learn (I’m ashamed to say), refers collectively to the four settled regions at the top of Canada in which forty of the fifty thousand Inuit live. See the map below (click on it to enlarge it):
I should point out that, as the authors say:
Since there is no reliable and complete information on the Aboriginal identity of the victims or perpetrators of crime. . . , the current study is based on a geographical approach as a proxy for Inuit-specific information.
The data show that the rate of reported crime is six times higher in Nunangat than in the rest of Canada — one incident for every 2.5 residents, versus one for every 17 residents — and the violent crime rates are a shocking nine times higher than those outside Nunangat. The study breaks the data down into particular categories — location, population, type of crime, etc. — and explores in outline fashion the various likely reasons for this disparity.
This study forces us to acknowledge an aspect of the general national disgrace that is the current situation of Canada’s aboriginal people. For that reason it should be required reading.