Evidence of sexual abuse and acts of violence by a Belgian missionary in Quebec
Tuesday, 05 December 2017
A Belgian priest, from Tournai, was responsible for an Inuit community in Canada from 1954 to 1992. Over the course of the years, he was also the perpetrator of sexual abuse and forms of violence on the local population.
This was according to evidence both from victims themselves and their loved ones. This was revealed during the Quebec stage of the National Investigation on Indigenous Missing and Assassinated Women and Girls. These accounts are synonymous with the “end of the myth” surrounding this Belgian missionary specialising in Inuit traditions.
These “myths” have been circulating for approximately a week in the Canadian, English-speaking and French-speaking media. La Libre Belgique echos this on Tuesday.
Alexis Joveneau, from the Congregation of the Missionary Oblates of the Immaculate Mary, died in 1992. He worked for decades with declining Inuit communities on the Lower North Shore, in Quebec, until his death.
Last week, members of these communities gave evidence, during hearings organised in Maliotenam (an Indian Reserve in Quebec), as part of the National Investigation of Indigenous Women. They confirmed examples of inappropriate touching, violence and assault by the priest. He had spoken the language of indigenous natives.
La Libre Belgique notes that the myth surrounding Alexis Joveneau, the missionary of the Canadian Far North, a specialist in Inuit traditions and a priest respected by the authorities, was dashed following these hearings. The missionary had been in 1961 the organiser of clusters of “groups” going from Pakuashipi to Unamen. This was experienced as a form of “deportation” by indigenous communities.
Another Belgian priest, Eric Dejaeger, had already been sentenced to 19 years in prison, in February 2015, for raping several Inuit children in Nunavut.