The Current

'Angry Inuk' argues anti-seal hunt campaign hurts Canadian Inuit life

If the Inuit want to hang on to their indigenous culture, does that mean they can't make money at the same time? Filmmaker Alethea Arniquq-Baril turns her lens on the fight over the sealing industry, arguing the Inuit of the Canadian Arctic are collateral damage.
The Inuit live and die by the seal. A new documentary, Angry Inuk, explores how Europe's ban on seal products was the final blow against traditional life on the land. (Angry Inuk film)

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If the Inuit want to hang onto their traditional indigenous culture, does that mean they can't make money at the same time?

The Inuit live and die by the seal. As anti-sealing campaigns push to implement a ban on seal products, the voices of the north want to be heard — their traditional indigenous culture is at stake.

Alethea Arnaquq-Baril spent eight years working on her documentary, Angry Inuk. She says the film was inspired in part by Aaju Peter's work bringing the voice of Inuit people to the debate over selling seal products. (Angry Inuk film)

Angry Inuk, a new documentary film, makes the case that animal rights groups' efforts to ban the seal hunt in Canada's North have actually backfired. The film argues the ban affects the Inuit way of life and the people of the Canadian Arctic are collateral damage. 

The film's director, Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, says by causing the collapse of the commercial seal hunt, they've forced the Inuit to turn to the mining and gas industry to support themselves — an option that puts more pressure on an already fragile Arctic environment.

But supporters of the European Union ban on selling seal products say there is an exception that allows the Inuit to continue to hunt and sell products in order to supply the seal fur market demand.

Angry Inuk is screening at the Hot Docs festival in Toronto.

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This segment was produced by The Current's Sujata Berry.