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Rufus Manik returning from a sleigh ride near Arviat.



Lucasie Nutaraaluk
More than once I went to the house of a person who was quite irate and tried to calm the person down with words. I would be very blunt and ask the person if he wanted to take a life. First, that would agitate the person but it would also make him withdraw and think about what he was doing, what he was going through. As soon as I started being very blunt and asking focused questions, the person started responding to me. You knew right away that the person was going to calm down, as soon as he started answering your questions. It made him rational, made him calm down and think about what he was doing. Another time, when we were hauling up a boat, someone made a comment to this person and he became angry and went home and began counting his bullets because he didn’t have that many. Again, I went to see him and I was able to calm him down. I bluntly asked him if he planned on killing someone and made him think about what he was doing. That is how I kept order in the camp.
Canadian law views murder primarily as a crime that should be
punished. Inuit used to view murder as a tragedy and tried to redress
its consequences. Communities were usually based on kinship ties, and
that made it even harder to deal with murder. Nutaraaluk relates how one of
his older brothers was shot because he heard voices and people feared he
would start killing, just as the murderer Miqqualaaq had done. His other
brother suffered deeply because he knew in advance that his brother was
going to be killed. According to Nutaraaluk, “One of the people that killed my
older brother went into the ministry, but lost his mind, literally lost his mind.
It was too hard to live on after committing that kind of violent act. The stress
he felt was so unbearable, it made him lose his mind.” Although revenge was
often considered, it was rare (see Van den Steenhoven 1962).

In their essay, Matthew Boki, Nancy Kisa and Julia Shaimaiyuk discussed the case of the
famous murderer Iksivalitaq who killed the brother of Kappianaq1. Invited by
the father of the murderer to take his revenge, Kappianaq answered, “No, I am
not going to murder anyone; if I kill a human being I am not going to use him
for clothes or for food, nor dog food. I am not going to kill a human being. He
[Amarualik] is dead and will not come back…” (Rasing 1994: 130).