Last month I had the opportunity to see Angry Inuk at the South Western International Film Festival, and during the follow-up Q&A, filmmaker/narrator Alethea Arnaquq-Baril informed the audience that Super Channel would begin airing her film in the next month. I knew at that moment I had to cover this documentary.
Airing Monday, Angry Inuk explores how the the ads promoting International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) and Greenpeace—the image of a crying harp seal pup (we learn that all seals cry; it is a natural defense against the cold that prevents their eyes from freezing)—is deliberately used to tug at our heart strings and make us open our pocketbooks. But what we don’t realize is that sealing is a way of life for the Inuit, without which the people would starve.
Environmentalists encourage us to reduce our carbon footprint by buying locally produced food items. Without the seal hunt, the Inuit must fly in food from the south. Additionally, anti-fur advocates are marketing a non-sustainable byproduct from the petrochemical industry; an industry that is contributing to air and water pollution globally. Conversely, seal skin is a natural, waterproof byproduct of a sustainable and local food source that does not require drilling, pipelines or industrial manufacturing plants to produce.
Ms. Arnaquq-Baril’s documentary takes the viewer on a journey to her land, the Arctic. We go seal hunting. We see how her community is tied culturally and economically to the seal hunt. We also learn how the anti-sealing ban by the European Economic Community (EEC) has and continues to hurt those who live in Canada’s northern regions.
So, why should anyone tune in and watch? Well, in light of the recent Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, the Canadian government’s announcement for an national inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and the #NoDAPL standoff at Standing Rock, North Dakota, now is clearly the time when the public will no longer tolerate racist fiscal policies. Angry Inuk brings to light how the anti-sealing movement and the seal product ban by the EU fashion industry continue to plague the Inuit residing in Canada and elsewhere around the globe. When the film finished, I turned to my friend and simply said, “I am buying something seal skin,” because I was so motivated by this story. She heartily agreed with me. She too is currently shopping for seal skin.
Angry Inuk premieres Monday at 8 p.m. ET on SC4 and will be available on Super Channel On Demand as well, beginning tomorrow until Dec. 28. You can view a trailer here.