The Court of Better Fiction


In its rush to establish dominion over the North, Canada executed two innocent Inuit men.

In 1921, the RCMP arrested two Copper Inuit men under suspicion that the two had murdered their uncle. Both men confessed to the crime through a police interpreter, though the “confession” was highly questionable.

The Canadian government used the case to plant their flag in the north, but the trial quickly became a master class in judicial error. Correspondence among the key players reveals that the trial’s outcome was decided months before the court was even convened. Authorities were so certain of a conviction that the executioner and gallows were sent north before the trial began.

The precedent established Canada’s legal relationship with the Inuit, who would spend the next seventy-seven years fighting to regain their autonomy and Indigenous rule of law. Drawing on documents long buried in restricted files in the National Archives, The Court of Better Fiction reveals the disgraceful incident and its fallout in unprecedented detail.


…a concise, scathing, and at the same time, sympathetic account of a travesty of justice committed against the Indigenous peoples living above the Arctic Circle.

Miramichi Reader

About the Author

Debra Komar

Posted by KathrynB on June 12, 2018
Debra Komar photo

Debra Komar

Debra Komar’s books have won numerous honours, including the Canadian Authors Award for History. A Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, she investigated human rights violations for the United Nations and Physicians for Human Rights, testifying as an expert witness at The Hague and across North America. She lives in Scarborough.