November 17, 2021 – Montreal, Quebec – Makivik is saddened to learn of Elisapee Pootoogook’s death and send their deepest condolences to her family and friends. Her death highlights once again the severe lack of services that homeless Inuit face in Montreal’s urban centre. If Inuit like Elisapee had access to culturally adapted services and facilities, tragedies like this would be avoidable.
Makivik’s Urban Inuit department has been working tirelessly to provide aid to Montreal’s vulnerable Inuit population like the homeless. It is time for the City and Provincial Government to step in and work with Makivik directly to provide real solutions for the issues that Homeless Inuit face today.
Under the Reaching home Initiative, a federal homeless strategy, Makivik’s Urban Inuit department received funding to develop a plan to build a multi-service centre similar to the Tungasuvvingat Inuit centre in Ottawa. This centre would provide Inuit-specific urban services for Inuit of all ages and would act as a gateway for Inuit to navigate the various Urban systems.
“Our team who handles the Urban Inuit file is doing everything they can to help the vulnerable Urban Inuit population, they go out on the streets to find as many Inuit as they can to check in on them to see if they are doing fine” said Makivik Corporate Secretary, Rita Novalinga.
“The Urban Inuit team provides a very wide range of services, which vary a lot case by case, one individual may approach us wanting to go back home to Nunavik, where another might just need help with getting new ID cards and in certain situations, we have individuals who are looking for a meal and a warm place to sleep which has unfortunately been a difficult thing to find with the city dedicating little to no facilities to Inuit. One big issue we face right now is that in order to help our fellow Inuit, we either have to go out and find them, or they have to find us, this is where a centralized centre adapted to Inuit would go a long way in addressing many of the problems that our Urban Inuit face”
The wellbeing of the Inuit living in the south, and their access to culturally adapted services is one of Makivik’s priorities. Makivik will continue to plan for, and push for the creation of a multi-service centre dedicated to Inuit in the Montreal area, but securing a location to build such a facility continues to be an issue, and so far, the city hasn’t proposed any possible sites. This tragedy highlights the immediate need to come up with solutions to help our vulnerable populations, but we want to emphasize that the city and governments should not wait for these tragedies to happen before acting.
Makivik would like to thank its partner shelter organizations for their collaboration and work to date. We now call upon the city, the province and the federal to sit down at a common meeting in order to rapidly assist the Corporation in reaching its long-needed goal of establishing an Inuit Centre in Montreal.
Director of Communications
Makivik is the land claims organization mandated to manage the heritage funds of the Inuit of Nunavik provided for under the James Bay and Northern Québec Agreement. Makivik’s role includes the administration and investment of these funds and the promotion of economic growth by providing assistance for the creation of Inuit-operated businesses in Nunavik. Makivik promotes the preservation of Inuit culture and language as well as the health, welfare, relief of poverty, and education of Inuit in the communities.