Aaqigiarutiqarniq between the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Inuit

By Elaine Uppahuak-Prusky, MA Leadership, Doctoral Social Sciences Student, Royal Roads University, February 2022

The RCMP has engaged academic, Elaine Uppahuak-Prusky for her view of Aaqigiarutiqarniq or reconciliation with the RCMP and Inuit.

In her paper she explores the long and difficult history that left residual mistrust in the system established to serve and protect. She examines the recognition of Inuit law and culture, and the explores the impacts of colonialism via forced relocation; famine; racism; poverty; and lack of education, which have been woven into stories passed down from generation to generation. Elaine challenges us to look forward and explore alternative stories which could include the RCMP as a vital entity within the expanded Inuit community.

Included in the paper are Elaine's recommendations for:

  • the Inuit Special Constables Program
  • language initiatives
  • training
  • recruitment and retention, and more

Request a copy of the full report

To request a copy of the full report, please email ISO-OSA@rcmp-grc.gc.ca.


Executive summary

Keeping our communities safe is a primary role and commitment of all dedicated RCMP. The long, difficult history between Inuit and RCMP has left a residual mistrust of the system that was born to serve and protect. Cultural understanding and transformation are critical as part of conciliatory efforts to mitigate the fear, resentment, and distrust. Although there is a distinction between forgiveness and reconciliation, both have their place in every relationship. While forgiveness is not something that can be mandated or regulated, group movement toward reconciliation begins with one enigmatic story changing the hearts and minds of another group, relinquishing the past and reframing the story. It is with this hope that the Inuit and RCMP can further the reconciliation process and work together toward reciprocal, informed understanding and community cohesiveness.

Recognition that Inuit law has a significant and important place in our culture is a starting point to seeing Indigenous traditions as intellectual architecture in the form of problem-solving. The undermining and marginalization of Inuit law as a result of colonialism, have left this conceptual structure free floating, without connection to today's contemporary way of living. We see the potential for the RCMP to be a part of that story to ease their objective of maintaining a prominent place in our communities while observing maligaq, piqujaq, and tirigususiit – what has to be followed, what has to be done, what not to do.

Historical events which are passed down as stories from generation to generation as part of our learning heritage have profoundly shaped our sense-making frameworks and how, as a society, our experiences affect the meaning we give to life. Forced relocation; famine; racism; poverty; and a lack of education, despite the involuntary removal of children to Catholic schools and the denial of their subsequent abuse and deaths, are difficult memories and still part of our current narrative. The question becomes what other story can be learned and told to include the RCMP as a vital entity of our expanded community.

Inuit Special Constables have always had multiple roles as guides, interpreters, and cultural mediators. Their positions have often been precarious and vulnerable to social ostracism within their own communities in an effort to help enforce colonial laws and paternalistic restrictions imposed by the government. The relationship between Inuit Special Constables and the RCMP is exceptional in that Inuit were able to demonstrate their worth as members of their own communities and their value in keeping RCMP members alive in an inhospitable climate in which the RCMP had little to no experience. In today's context, Special Constables can be placed in the enviable position of being the link between the RCMP and Inuit as both cultural and linguistic mediators.

The impediments that the RCMP have in the northern communities they serve and in relations with Inuit can be mitigated by local cohort-based training in environments conducive to learning using innovative and creative solutions to problems faced within Inuit communities. This, in conjunction with researched, published documents relating to reconciliation with Indigenous people, partnerships to improve protection and safety of Inuit communities, and efforts to effectively reverse the long-term harms will, in turn, aid the RCMP's administration efforts and goals of effectively policing the communities they serve.

After researching, the following recommendations for aaqigiarutiqarniq between the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Inuit are as follows:

Recommendation 1
Evaluation and reinstating of the Inuit Special Constables Program
Recommendation 2
Providing Inuktitut and Inuinnaqtun language initiatives
Recommendation 3
Creation of decolonized Inuit Special Constable and Police Training Program
Recommendation 4
Recruitment and retention
Recommendation 5
Orientation for new RCMP members
Recommendation 6
Consolidated evaluation on published reports and recommendations
Recommendation 7
Securing internal funding dedicated to Inuit employment, program, and services

ᐃᖅᑲᓇᐃᔭᖅᑎᓄᑦ ᓯᕗᓕᖅᑎᐅᑉ ᐅᓂᒃᑳᖓ ᓇᐃᓈᖅᓯᒪᔪᖅ

ᕖᕝᕗᐊᕆ, 2022

ᐸᓖᓯᒃᑯᓐᓂ ᓄᓇᓕᓐᓂᑦ ᐊᑦᑕᓇᖅᑐᒦᑎᑦᑎᑦᑕᐃᓕᒪᔾᔪᑎᖏᑦ ᐱᓕᕆᐊᖏᑦ ᑲᒪᒋᔭᕆᐊᓕᖏᓪᓗ ᑕᐃᒫᒃ. ᐊᑯᓂᐊᓗᒃ, ᐱᔭᕆᐊᑐᔪᐊᓘᓯᒪᓪᓗᑎᓪᓗ ᖃᓄᐃᓐᓂᖏᑦ ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᐸᓖᓯᒃᑯᓪᓗ ᓱᓕ ᐅᓪᓗᒥᒧᑦ ᐅᑉᐱᕆᔭᖃᑦᑎᐊᖃᑦᑕᖏᒻᒪᑕ ᐱᔨᑦᑎᕆᐊᓕᓐᓂᒃ ᐸᖅᑭᑦᑎᒋᐊᓕᓐᓂᓪᓗ. ᐱᖅᑯᓯᖏᓐᓂ ᑐᑭᓯᐅᒪᓂᖏᑦ ᐊᓯᔾᔨᕐᓂᖏᓪᓗ ᑕᒪᒃᑯᐊ ᓴᐃᓕᖃᑎᒌᒐᓱᒍᑕᐅᒋᐊᖃᕐᖓᑕ ᐱᑕᖃᕈᓐᓃᖅᑎᑕᐅᓗᑎᑦ ᑲᑉᐱᐊᓇᕐᓂᐅᔪᑦ, ᓂᓐᖓᐅᒪᓃᑦ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐅᑉᐱᕇᓐᓂᐅᔪᑦ. ᐊᔾᔨᒋᓐᖏᒃᑲᓗᐊᕐᒥᒻᒪᑎᒃ ᓴᐃᒻᒪᖃᑎᒌᓐᓂᕐᒥᒃ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᓴᐃᒻᒪᖃᑎᒌᓐᓂᖅ, ᑕᒪᒃᑮᒃ ᑭᓯᐊᓂ ᐊᑐᖅᑐᐃᓐᓈᒃ ᖃᓄᓕᒪᑦᑎᐊᖅ. ᐃᓱᒪᒋᔭᐅᔪᓐᓃᖃᑎᖃᕆᐊᖃᕐᓂᖅ ᒪᓕᒐᕈᖅᑎᑕᐅᔪᓐᓇᖏᑦᑐᖅ ᐊᑐᖅᑕᐅᔅᓴᐃᓐᓇᖁᔭᐅᒍᓇᕐᓇᓂᓗ, ᑲᑐᔾᔨᔪᑦ ᓴᐃᒻᒪᖃᑎᒌᓐᓂᖅ ᑲᒪᓇᖅᑐᒥᑦ ᐊᓯᔾᔩᔪᓐᓇᕐᖓᑦ ᐆᒻᒪᑎᓐᓂᑦ ᐃᓱᒪᓂᓪᓗ ᐊᓯᖏᓐᓂ, ᓴᖅᑯᐃᓗᓂ ᐅᐊᑦᑎᐊᕈᕐᓂᓴᕐᓂᑦ ᐊᓯᔾᔩᓗᓂᓗ ᐅᓂᒃᑳᕐᓂᑦ. ᑕᐃᒪᒃ ᓂᕆᐅᒋᔭᖃᕐᓂᐅᔪᖅ ᐃᓄᓐᓂᑦ ᐸᓖᓯᓂᓪᓗ ᓴᐃᒻᒪᖃᑎᒌᑉᐸᓪᓕᐊᓗᑎᒃ ᐱᓕᕆᖃᑎᒌᑉᐸᓪᓕᐊᓕᕐᓗᑎᒃ ᑕᐃᒪᐃᓪᓗᐊᖃᑎᒌᒐᓱᐊᕐᓕᕐᓗᑎᒃ, ᑐᓴᐅᒪᖃᑦᑕᐅᑎᑎᐊᕐᓗᑎᒃ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᓄᓇᓕᓐᓂᑦ ᐊᑕᐅᓯᐅᖃᑎᒌᓪᓗᑎᑦ.

ᐃᓕᓴᕆᔭᐅᒋᐊᓖᑦ ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᒪᓕᒐᖏᑦ ᐱᒻᒪᕆᐅᒻᒪᑕ ᐊᔾᔨᐅᖏᑦᑑᓪᓗᑎᓪᓗ ᐱᖅᑯᓯᑦᑎᓐᓂ ᑕᒪᓐᓇ ᐱᒋᐊᕈᑕᐅᒻᒪᑦ ᑕᑯᓪᓗᒋᑦ ᓄᓇᖃᖅᑳᖅᑐᒥᓃᑦ ᐃᓕᖅᑯᓯᖏᑦ ᓯᓚᑐᓂᒻᒪᕆᐅᒻᒪᑕ ᐊᑲᐅᓐᖏᓕᐅᕈᑕᐅᔪᓂᒃ ᐋᖅᑮᔪᓐᓇᖅᑐᑎᑦ. ᓴᓐᖐᑦᑎᕆᓂᖅ ᑭᓪᓕᖃᖅᑎᑦᑎᓂᓪᓗ ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᒪᓕᒐᖏᓐᓂ ᐊᐅᓚᑦᑎᒐᓱᐊᓗᐊᒧᑦ ᑕᐃᒪᐃᑦᑐᑦ, ᐃᖏᕐᕋᔪᓐᓇᕐᓂᖏᓐᓂ ᓄᖅᑲᖓᑎᑦᑎᒻᒪᑕ ᓴᓇᓯᒪᔭᖏᓐᓂ, ᐅᓪᓗᒥᐅᔪᖅ ᐊᑦᑐᐊᓂᖃᖅᑎᑦᑎᓐᖏᑦᑎᐊᖅᑐᑎᑦ ᐃᓅᓇᓱᐊᕐᓂᖏᓐᓂ. ᐱᕕᖃᖅᑎᑦᑎᒍᓐᓇᕋᑦᑕ ᐸᓕᓯᓂᒃ ᐃᓚᒋᔭᐅᓗᑎᒃ ᑐᕌᒐᖏᑦ ᐃᓚᓕᐅᑎᓗᑎᑦ ᓄᓇᑦᑎᓐᓂ ᑕᑯᓐᓇᐃᓐᓇᕋᓗᐊᕐᒥᓗᑎᒍᑦ ᒪᑯᐊ ᒪᓕᒐᖅ, ᐱᖁᔭᖅ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᑎᕆᒍᓲᓰᑦ − ᒪᓕᑦᑕᐅᒋᐊᓖᑦ, ᓱᔭᐅᒋᐊᓖᑦ, ᓱᔭᐅᒋᐊᖃᓐᖏᑦᑐᓪᓗ.

ᐅᐊᑦᑎᐊᕈ ᖃᓄᐃᓐᓂᒥᓃᑦ ᐅᓂᒃᑳᕆᔭᐅᖃᑦᑕᖅᓯᒪᒻᒪᑕ ᑭᖑᕚᕇᓐᓄᑦ ᐃᓚᒋᒻᒪᔾᔪᒃ ᐃᓕᓐᓂᐊᕈᑎᐅᓪᓗᑎᒃ ᖃᓄᐃᑦᑑᓂᖏᓐᓂ ᓇᓗᓇᐃᖅᓯᔾᔪᑕᐅᓪᓗᑎᒃ ᓲᕐᓗ ᖃᓄᐃᑦᑑᓂᐊᕐᓂᑎᓐᓂᓪᓗ ᖃᓄᕐᓗ, ᐃᓅᓪᓗᑕ, ᐊᑐᖅᓯᒪᔭᕗᑦ ᐊᑦᑐᐃᓂᖃᕐᖓᑦ ᑐᑭᖏᓐᓂ ᐃᓅᓯᓕᐅᖅᑕᑎᓐᓂ. ᐊᐅᓪᓛᖅᑎᑕᐅᓚᐅᖅᓯᒪᔪᑦ; ᐱᕐᓕᓕᖅᑐᑦ; ᐅᕕᖃᑎᒋᓐᖏᑕᒥᓂᒃ ᐱᐅᔅᓴᖏᓐᓃᑦ; ᐊᔪᖅᓴᖅᑐᑦ'; ᐃᓕᓐᓂᐊᖅᓯᒪᑦᑎᐊᓐᖏᓗᐊᖅᑐᑦ, ᑕᒪᒃᑯᐊᓗ ᓱᕈᓰᑦ ᐃᔅᓯᕋᕐᔪᐊᒃᑯᓐᓂ ᐃᓕᓐᓂᐊᖅᑎᑕᐅᓯᒪᔪᑦ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᓂᖓᖅᓯᓯᒪᓐᖏᓐᓂᕋᖅᑐᑦ ᑐᖁᔪᒥᓃᓪᓗ ᐱᓪᓗᒋᑦ, ᐊᔅᓱᕈᓐᓇᖅᑐᐊᓗᓐᓂᒃ ᐃᖅᑲᐅᒪᔭᖃᕋᑦᑕ ᓱᓕ ᐅᓪᓗᒥ ᐅᓂᒃᑳᕆᒐᑦᑎᒍ ᑕᒪᒃᑯᐊ. ᐃᓱᒪᒋᔭᕆᐊᖃᕐᒥᔭᕗᑦ ᐊᓯᖏᑦ ᐅᓂᒃᑳᑦ ᐅᖃᐅᓯᐅᔪᓪᓗ ᐱᖃᓯᐅᔾᔭᐅᓪᓗᑎᒃ ᐸᓖᓰᑦ ᑎᒥᐅᔪᓂᒃ ᓄᓇᓕᑦᑎᓐᓂ.

ᐸᓖᓯᒥᐅᑦ ᐊᖏᔪᐊᓗᓐᓂ ᐱᓕᕆᐊᖃᖃᑦᑕᓚᐅᕐᖓᑕ ᐃᓚᒋᓪᓗᓂᒋᑦ ᐊᐅᓪᓚᕈᔾᔨᖃᑦᑕᕐᓂᖏᑦ, ᑐᓵᔨᐅᓪᓗᑎᑦ ᐱᖅᑯᓯᓕᕆᔨᐅᓪᓗᑎᓪᓗ. ᑖᒃᑯᐊ ᐅᓗᕆᐊᓇᖅᑐᒦᖃᑦᑕᖅᓯᒪᔪᑦ ᐊᑦᑐᖅᑕᐅᔪᓐᓇᑦᑎᐊᖅᑎᓪᓗ ᐅᖓᓯᑦᑐᒥᐅᑕᐅᓪᓗᑎᑦ ᓄᓇᖏᓐᓂ ᐃᑲᔪᕋᓱᐊᖅᑐᑎᑦ ᐊᓯᔾᔨᖅᑕᐅᓇᓱᐊᖅᑐᑎᓪᓗ ᒪᓕᒐᖏᑦ ᐸᖅᑭᑦᑎᔪᐊᓘᓪᓗᑎᓪᓗ ᑕᒪᒃᑯᐊ ᐱᓗᐊᖅᑐᐊᓗᓪᓗᑎᑦ ᒐᕙᒪᒃᑯᑦ. ᑕᒪᒃᑯᐊ ᐱᓕᕆᖃᑎᒌᑦ ᐸᓖᓯᒥᐅᑦ ᐸᓖᓰᓪᓗ ᖃᓄᐃᑉᐸᓚᐅᓐᖏᑦᑐᑦ ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᓴᖅᑭᔮᖅᑎᑦᑎᒍᓐᓇᓚᐅᕐᖓᑕ ᐱᔪᓐᓇᕐᓂᒻᒥᓂᒃ ᓇᒻᒥᓂᖅ ᓄᓇᖏᓐᓂ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐅᑉᐱᕆᔭᖏᓐᓂ ᐸᓖᓯᒃᑯᓐᓂ ᐆᒪᑎᑦᑏᓐᓇᖅᑐᑎᑦ ᓂᓪᓚᓱᐊᓗᒻᒦᑦᑐᑎᑦ ᐸᓖᓯᒃᑯᑦ ᐊᑐᓕᒪᕆᓐᖏᑦᑎᐊᖅᑕᖓᓐᓂ. ᐅᓪᓗᒥᐅᓕᖅᑐᕐᓕ, ᐸᓖᓯᒥᐅᑦ ᐃᓂᖃᑦᑎᐊᕈᓐᓇᖅᓯᑎᑕᐅᔪᑦ ᐊᑦᑐᐊᓂᖏᓐᓄᑦ ᐸᓕᓯᒃᑯᑦ ᐃᓄᐃᓪᓗ ᐱᖅᑯᓯᕐᒥᑦ ᐅᖃᐅᓯᖏᓐᓂᓪᓗ ᐊᑐᕐᓗᑎᑦ.

ᑕᒪᒃᑯᐊ ᓱᕋᖅᑎᕆᓂᖏᑦ ᐸᓖᓰᑦ ᐅᑭᐅᖅᑕᖅᑐᐃᑦ ᓄᓇᓕᖏᓐᓂ ᐱᔨᑦᑎᖅᑕᖏᓐᓂ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐊᑦᑐᐊᓂᖏᓐᓄᑦ ᐃᓄᓐᓄᑦ ᒥᑭᓪᓕᕚᓪᓕᖅᑎᑕᐅᓯᒪᒻᒪᑕ ᓄᓇᓕᓐᓂ ᐱᓕᕆᖃᑎᖃᕐᓂᖏᓐᓂ ᐃᓕᓐᓂᐊᑲᓐᓂᑎᑦᑎᓂᕐᒥᑦ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐊᕙᑎᑦᑎᓐᓂ ᐃᑲᔫᑎᖃᖅᑐᓂᑦ ᐃᓕᓐᓂᐊᖅᑐᓂᑦ ᐊᔾᔨᐅᖏᑦᑐᓂᑦ ᐋᖅᑭᐅᒪᔾᔪᑎᔅᓴᓂᒃ ᐊᑲᐅᓐᖏᓕᐅᕈᑕᐅᕙᑦᑐᓂᒃ ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᓄᓇᖏᓐᓂ. ᑕᐃᒪᐃᓐᓂᖓᓐᓄᑦ, ᐃᓚᖃᖅᑐᑎᑦ ᖃᐅᔨᓴᕐᓂᕐᒥᑦ, ᓴᖅᑭᖅᑕᐅᓯᒪᔪᓂᒃ ᐅᖃᓕᒫᒐᕐᓂᑦ ᓴᐃᒻᒪᖃᑎᒌᓐᓂᕐᒨᖓᔪᓂᒃ ᓄᓇᖃᖅᑳᖅᑐᒥᓂᕐᓂᑦ, ᐱᓕᕆᖃᑎᖃᖅᑐᑎᓪᓗ ᐸᖅᑭᑦᑎᓇᓱᐊᖅᑐᑦᑎᑦ ᐊᑦᑕᓇᖅᑐᒦᖁᓇᒋᓪᓗ ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᓄᓇᓕᖏᑦ, ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐊᓱᕈᕐᓂᖏᓐᓂ ᐊᑯᓂᒧᑦ ᐋᓐᓂᖅᑕᐅᒪᔪᓂᒃ, ᐅᑎᓐᖑᓱᑦᑐᑦ, ᐃᑲᔫᑎᖃᓕᕐᓗᑎᓪᓗ ᐸᓖᓯᒃᑯᑦ ᐸᐃᑉᐹᓕᕆᔾᔪᓯᖏᓐᓂ ᑐᕌᒐᖏᓐᓂᓪᓗ ᐸᓖᓯᐅᓇᓱᐊᖅᑎᓪᓗᒋᑦ ᐱᔨᑦᑎᖅᑕᖏᓐᓂ ᓄᓇᓕᓐᓂᑦ.

ᖃᐅᔨᓴᓚᐅᖅᑐᓂ, ᐊᑐᓕᖁᔭᐅᔪᓂᒃ ᐱᑕᖃᓕᖅᑐᖅ ᐋᖅᑭᒋᐊᕈᑎᖃᕐᓂᐅᔪᓂᒃ ᐸᓖᓯᒃᑯᓐᓂ ᐃᓄᓐᓂᓪᓗ ᐃᒪᐃᑦᑐᓪᓗᑎᑦ:

ᐊᑐᓕᖁᔭᖅ 1
ᕿᒥᕐᕈᓪᓗᒋᑦ ᐋᖅᑭᒋᐊᕐᓗᒋᓪᓗ ᐃᓄᓐᓄᑦ ᐸᓖᓯᒥᐅᕈᕈᒪᔪᓄᑦ ᐃᓕᓐᓂᐊᕈᑎᒃᓴᑦ
ᐊᑐᓕᖁᔭᖅ 2
ᐊᑐᐃᓐᓇᐅᑎᑕᐅᓂᖏᑦ ᐃᓄᑦᑎᑐᑦ ᐃᓄᐃᓐᓇᑐᓪᓗ ᐅᖃᐅᓯᕐᒧᑦ ᐱᒋᐊᕈᑎᒃᓴᑦ
ᐊᑐᓕᖁᔭᖅ 3
ᓴᖅᑮᓂᖅ ᐊᐅᓚᑕᐅᒍᓐᓃᕐᓗᑎᒃ ᐃᓕᖅᑯᓯᕆᖏᑕᒥᒍᑦ ᐃᓄᐃᑦ ᐸᓖᓯᒥᐅᑕᕈᕈᒪᔪᑦ ᐊᒻᒪᓗ ᐸᓖᓯᐅᓂᕐᒧᑦ ᐃᓕᓐᓂᐊᕈᑎᓄᑦ
ᐊᑐᓕᖁᔭᖅ 4
ᐃᖅᑲᓇᐃᔭᖅᑎᑦᑏᓐᓇᕋᓱᐊᕐᓗᑎᑦ ᐱᓯᒪᑦᑏᓐᓇᕋᓱᐊᕐᓗᑎᓪᓗ
ᐊᑐᓕᖁᔭᖅ 5
ᐃᓕᓐᓂᐊᑲᐃᓐᓇᖅᑎᑕᐅᖃᑦᑕᕐᓗᑎᑦ ᓄᑖᑦ ᐸᓖᓰᑦ
ᐊᑐᓕᖁᔭᖅ 6
ᑲᑎᖅᓱᖅᑕᐅᓯᒪᔪᑦ ᖃᐅᔨᓴᐅᑎᒥᓃᑦ ᓴᖅᑭᖅᑕᐅᓯᒪᔪᓂ ᐅᓂᒃᑳᓂ ᐊᑐᓕᖁᔨᔾᔪᑎᓂᓗ
ᐊᑐᓕᖁᔭᖅ 7
ᓴᓂᕐᕙᐃᓗᑎᑦ ᐊᓪᓚᕕᐅᑉ ᐃᓗᐊᓂ ᑮᓇᐅᔭᓂᒃ ᑐᕌᖓᔪᓂᒃ ᐃᓄᓐᓄᑦ ᐃᖅᑲᓇᐃᔭᖅᑎᓄᑦ, ᐃᓕᓐᓂᐊᕈᑎᓄᑦ ᐱᔨᑦᑎᕋᐅᑎᓄᓪᓗ.
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