The Rover pubblica un lungo reportage di Christopher Curtis sulle drammatiche condizioni in cui versano i senzatetto inuit di Montreal, i quali, nonostante la loro etnia rappresenti meno dell’1% dell’intera popolazione della città canadese, costituirebbero il 10% circa dei senza fissa dimora.
Saali Kuata hadn’t planned on making a funeral speech, but the words came pouring out of him.
“I want you to be painfully aware and listen when we hold this moment of silence. The city will not stop for our grief. The city will not stop at our deaths. The city will not stop even though the deepest sadness fills our hearts.”
Of all the newspaper columns and social media posts, of all the thoughts and prayers from politicians who didn’t turn up to the service, it was Kuata’s short, blistering statement that best captured the tragedy of Elisapee Pootoogook’s death.
Elisapee was stranded in Montreal two weeks ago and looking for a place to get out of the cold. So she crept into an unfinished condo building across from Cabot Square as night fell over the city.
They found her body there the next morning and delivered it to the medical examiner. Construction of the condo resumed in short order. No, the city did not stop for Elisapee. As mourners gathered at Cabot Square to pay their respects on Nov. 22, the rattle and scream of power tools made that painfully clear.
Like Elisapee, Kuata is Inuit. He performed a drumming ceremony with Mariam Imak to honour her passing.
“Our truth, as Inuit, is unity. That means seeing yourself in others,” Imak said. “You are that other person sitting on the side of the road. You are that person who maybe has an alcohol addiction because they’re survivors of residential school, the sixties scoop, the dog slaughter.”
“When I see another Inuk that’s on the street — whether or not I know them personally — I feel it on a deep level. So we have to stand with each other in these moments.”