Following on my post about Rex v Singh, my colleague and Grad Program director Ruth Buchanan alerted me to another film that would be great for the series, one that she and Rebecca Johnson (Uvic) are writing on, called Kikkik E1-472 (2002). It’s a harrowing true story from the 1950’s, another one which involves a trial and takes up questions about the use of/place of race and culture in Canadian nation building projects.
The bones of the story are here, on wikipedia.
The story recounts the relocation of Inuit in the interior of the Kivalliq region, the devastating starvation that followed, the murder of Karetak’s father and her mother’s struggle to keep her starving children alive. It is the heart of Kikkik, a documentary the crew is filming in Iqaluit.
The camera is rolling and Karetak, a 45-year-old originally from Arviat, is ready to unravel the emotional tale.
“This is a story of my people, the Ihalmiut, and what happened to us after the first contact with the white people and their government,” Karetak says in Inuktitut.
The 2002 version was made by a team including Karetak, Martin Kreelak and Ole Gjersted in English and Inuktitut. The judge who acquitted Kikkik, John Sissons, commissioned an incredible series of three sculptures to tell Kikkik’s story (for more on Sissons and those carvings, see this book).