13 January 2007

Sadly familiar

A sadly familiar story from across the continent:

Just seven years into the much-heralded creation of Canada's third territory, Nunavut is racked by violence, with rates of homicide, assault, robbery, rape and suicide stunningly above the national average. On Thursday, just days after the bodies were removed from the snowy street in Cambridge Bay, two young Inuit mothers hanged themselves within hours of each other in the capital, Iqaluit.

In a final report on the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement released last April, former B.C. Supreme Court justice Thomas Berger wrote that Nunavut was facing “a moment of crisis.” And he blasted the territory's education system, its high-school dropout rates, illiteracy rates and rates of smoking, suicide and sexually transmitted diseases.

Violence and other serious social ills are robbing Nunavut of a many of its young people, especially those with Inuit backgrounds. Much of the rage and despair have been fuelled by chronic alcohol and drug abuse. In last weekend's shooting, friends and relatives of those involved said, most, if not all, were either drunk or high when the confrontation occurred around 3 a.m.“Nunavut seems to lead in all fronts, whether it be suicides or whether it be violence against women, it seems we're at the top for the rest of Canada,” said Leona Aglukkaq, Nunavut's frustrated Minister of Health and Social Services. The territory has a growing population of about 30,000, but unemployment, poverty and family violence are rampant.

Perhaps the only surprising thing is that the author seems surprised by the statistics.

1 comment:

F R A G M E N T S said...

It is incredible. I was looking some information about Alaska until I've found your blog, and I'm astonished about the story you tell us. Good blog!