April 23rd, 2021 – Kuujjuaq, Nunavik – Makivik Corporation learned this week about a 2015 La Presse newspaper publication that senselessly documented details surrounding the deaths of Indigenous children and youth from across Quebec, going as far as to publish the portraits of the deceased as well as the circumstances of their death. 144 Inuit are included in the database, titled «LE DRAME IGNORÉ DES ENFANTS AUTOCHTONES », which translates to “THE IGNORED DRAMA OF ABORIGINAL CHILDREN”.
Makivik leadership find this kind of exploitation shocking and concerning. Though the database has since been removed, the damage has already been done. Further actions need to be taken to ensure this type of reporting doesn’t continue as it does nothing more than bring pain to the families.
“I was shocked to learn of the database created by La Presse. You would be hard pressed to find a list like this that gives details surrounding the deaths of non-Indigenous youth, so why is it OK that they target inuit communities with this type of senseless reporting? The simple answer is that it is not OK. This highlights the discriminatory approach and lens that southern media has when it looks at Nunavik and other Indigenous communities,” said Makivik President Pita Aatami.
The sudden resurfacing of the database sharing sensitive and questionable content raises some serious privacy and consent issues. The publication of this information without the families’ knowledge also means that they are being forced to re-live past traumas.
While the federal and provincial governments are calling for acts of reconciliation, Quebecers and Canadians must also do their part in abolishing the negative stigmas and stereotypes that are making their way into our nation’s media.
Makivik will want to have a discussion about this issue during our AGM in Akulivik next week. Among the actions Makivik will take in the coming days are filing of complaints to La Presse, le Conseil de presse and the Coroner in Chief. We will also examine a possible class-action for the parents.
If the renewed attention to this database has caused trauma to you, or members of your family, please remember that there are services available to help.
• Inuit Values and Practices (9h-17h) : 1 877-686-2845 (inuktitut / English)
• Nunavut Kamatsiaqtut Help Line : 1-800-265-3333 (inuktitut / anglais)
• Hope for wellness – Help line for Inuit and First Nations : 1-855-242-3310 (English / French)
• Kids Help Phone : 1-800-668-6868 www.jeunessejecoute.ca (English / French)
• For immediate support, please call your local CLSC 819-XXX-9090.
• https://www.aqps.info/ 1-866-APPELLE (277-3553)
• Sapummijiit – Ressource d’aide pour victimes d’actes criminels
• SOS Violence conjugale 1-800-363-9010
• Ligne 24/7 pour femmes victimes de violence 1-888-933-9007
• Ligne 24/7 pour support judiciaire pour femmes victimes de violence 1-866-699-9729
• Women’s shelter Tungaasuvik – Kuujjuaq
• Women’s shelter Initsiak – Salluit 819-255-8817
• Maison Ajapirvik Women’s Shelter – Inukjuak 819-254-1414
• Unaaq Men’s Association – Inukjuak
• Qajaq Network – Kuujjuaq 1-877-964-0770 ou 1-877-350-0254
• Qimutjuit Men Association – Kuujjuaraapik
Director of Communications
Makivik is the land claims organization mandated to manage the heritage funds of the Inuit of Nunavik provided for under the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement. Makivik’s role includes the administration and investment of these funds and the promotion of economic growth by providing assistance for the creation of Inuit-operated businesses in Nunavik. Makivik promotes the preservation of Inuit culture and language as well as the health, welfare, relief of poverty, and education of Inuit in the communities.