A masterful account of the Arctic's first criminal trial involving an Inuk and a white fur trader.
Although there was no Canadian law enforcement in the Eastern High Arctic when a crazed white fur trader was killed by an Inuk, authorities put Nuqallaq and two other Baffin Island Inuit on trial. The Canadian government saw Robert Janes's death as murder; the Inuit saw it as removing a threat from their society according to custom. Nuqallaq was sentenced to ten years hard labour in Stony Mountain Penitentiary where he contracted tuberculosis. He died shortly after being returned to Pond Inlet.
Shelagh Grant's award-winning Arctic Justice is a masterly reconstruction of these tragic events at the intersection of Inuit and Canadian justice. Combining original Inuit oral testimony with archival history, Grant sheds light on the conflicting values and perceptions of two disparate cultures. She shows how the Canadian government's decision was determined by fear and political concerns for establishing sovereignty over the Arctic.
Arctic Justice is also a social history of North Baffin Island in the twentieth century with vivid portraits of Janes, Captain J.E. Bernier of the CGS Arctic, investigating RCMP officer A. H. Joy, and the remarkable Nuqallaq, his wife Ataguttiaq, and the Inuit of North Baffin Island.