Each month the library offers a screening of some of the latest hard hitting or informative releases for viewing and discussion on a Saturday afternoon. Everyone is welcome, admittance is free, and there is no need to register.
Since the 1960s, animal-rights activists have proclaimed that Canada’s seal hunt is barbaric, unethical, and unsustainable, without knowing how drastically these notions affect Inuit communities that depend on seals for food, clothing, and oil. As a result, many have been misled to believe that Arctic seals are endangered or at risk. When the European Union voted to ban the sale of all seal products in 2010, the Inuit communities and their local economies took a major hit.
In Angry Inuk, Inuit filmmaker Alethea Arnaquq-Baril discusses the consequences that have come with the hunt’s misrepresentation, and how those consequences have led to an increase in poverty in a region that already has the highest poverty and unemployment rates in North America—particularly in Nunavut, where the film is set.
“How does a culture with an understated anger confront a group that is exactly the opposite?” Arnaquq-Baril asks early in the film. Though the E.U. ban makes an exception for Inuit and indigenous seal hunters—who deserve to trademark the culinary concept of “whole animal” use, as quite literally nothing goes to waste—the ban on commercial sales means that skins once sold by Inuit hunters to retailers around the world are no longer in demand. Value has dropped from $100 per skin to just $10.
While activists sell images of cute, furry seal pups and claim that they are the “victims of the largest marine mammal slaughter in the world”, the Inuit people struggle with the highest cost of living in the country, if not the continent: Arnaquq-Baril shows viewers a head of cabbage bearing a $28 price tag, a dozen cans of ginger ale priced at $82, and a jar of Cheez Whiz ringing in at $18, arguing that it’s far more affordable for Inuit to live off the land than to purchase groceries—not to mention more nutritious. (Seal contains more than 10 times the iron found in beef.)
The film follows Arnaquq-Baril and other Inuit activists to Europe, where they stand up for some 40,000 Inuit to representatives of a population of over 500 million.
While teams of hunters are still able to provide seal meat for entire communities, Arnaquq-Baril and others worry that without the volume of commercial sales, federal authorities will bring underwater seismic testing and drilling to the region to boost the local economy, something that could present a threat to marine life.
Passionately made and thorough in its inclusion of both research and traditional motifs, Angry Inuk challenges the idea that seals should be protected.
“Angry Inuk” will be shown at the Creston Public Library Saturday, January 13th at 2pm in the meeting room. As this is a National Film Board offering, this is a one time showing and will not be available for lending. For more information about the film and to watch the trailer, please see the website http://www.unikkaat.com/projects/angry-inuk/
As with all of our documentaries: The views and statements expressed in this film are solely those of the film makers and the other contributors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Creston Public Library.
Run Time: 85 minutes, discussion to follow.