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Elisapie Pootoogook, found dead near a construction site in Montreal, will be honored on Monday

A memorial for Elisapie Pootoogook, the Inuit eldest child who died near a construction site in Montreal, is due to take place on Monday.

Pootoogook was reportedly found dead on November 13 at the site of the former Montreal Children’s Hospital, which is now a luxury condo development – a project that was originally supposed to include social housing before the developer destroyed it in exchange for ” a fine of $ 6 million.

Police reportedly suspected no foul play in Pootoogook’s death.

“Last week, Elisapee shared laughs and special moments with other Inuit at Resilience. This week, we are shocked by his tragic death, ”wrote Resilience Montreal in an Instagram post. The non-profit day shelter across from Cabot Square is hosting the memorial.

Nunatsiaq News reported that, according to Pootoogook’s husband, her name is officially spelled “Elisapie”, but she preferred “Elisapee”.

Resilience Montreal director David Chapman told MTL Blog that Pootoogook lived in Salluit, northern Quebec, but has come to Montreal several times over the past few years for treatment, often spending time around the Cabot Square.

“She was a really lovely woman,” said Chapman, who has known Pootoogook for seven years and often facilitated his return to the north. “She would be on my phone in the Atwater metro […] begging, and she sang lullabies to her grandchildren right in the middle of the subway. He was an endearing soul. ”

Chapman recalled that Pootoogook has been known to try to stay warm on the subway, but security often empties the station due to complaints, leading homeless people onto the streets.

“The problem is, Elisapie’s clothes would be very damp. She is now in her sixties. [with] very limited mobility and as the temperatures cool down it becomes risky to spend long periods of time when you are wet with the cold, ”he said.

“It looks like on this particular occasion she went a little further than Cabot Square Park, right up to the neighboring property next door.”

Chapman said that in addition to honoring Pootoogook, the memorial highlights a “sensitivity that we really need to stop this kind of thing from happening and stop making the same excuses.”

In January, a homeless Innu named Raphaël André froze to death in a portable toilet in Montreal.

Chapman said the problem stems from a lack of safe shelters and affordable housing, a change he says needs to come from citizens rather than just pointing fingers at government and institutions.

“Why can’t we find a building for an indigenous overnight shelter in this region?” It’s the same in any region, really. […] Who wants to live next to and in the neighborhood of a homeless shelter? Well, no one does. They all want it to be in someone else’s neighborhood. They all want another neighborhood to make the sacrifices, ”he said.

“It’s a long-term problem. It’s continual […] “Not in my garden” has been going on for a long, long time. ”

The Pootoogook Memorial is scheduled for Monday, November 22 at 1 p.m. at Cabot Square. After the memorial, participants are invited to lay flowers at the site where she died to honor her memory.

The Quebec Coroner’s Office confirmed to MTL Blog that it is currently investigating the causes and circumstances of Pootoogook’s death.

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