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Health (18-24)

Coroner calls inquest into death of Raphael Andre because of ‘incomplete’ file

May 13, 2024

APTN News: An inquest into the death of Raphael Andre started in Montreal Monday and hopes to shed light on how the Innu man died.

Andre, also called “Napa,” an endearing Nutshimit-Innu used to describe someone with inextricable ties to the land, died in January 2021 outdoors on a cold night in Montreal after being forced to leave a shelter because of COVID-19 rules.

Napa was the eldest son of a proud, blended family: his father, Innu, and his mother, Naskapi.

His mother told APTN News in a 2021 interview that  her son was a “very good person” who “loved everyone.”

And to those who knew and loved him back, he is remembered as so much more than the “homeless Indigenous man” local media referred to after Napa died a short distance from a shelter he frequented.

Ever since his death, his family has been waiting for answers – so has Quebec’s coroner.

“Despite all my efforts over many months to achieve this goal in connection with Napa Raphael, the information I obtained at the time remained fragmentary,” said coroner Stephanie Gamache in French. “Despite my access to a very voluminous medical file, which turned out to be incomplete at the time of the investigation.”

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Gamache said she never found the answers when investigating the 51 year old’s death so she called an inquiry.

According to police, Andre had a warrant for his arrest because of an incident with a front line worker. They also talked about finding him with beer in his possession.

“I would have liked to have heard about who he was as an Innu man,” said Nakuset, an activist in Montreal. “That was not brought. Who he was as a person, not necessarily his criminal record or the fact that he drank. Why aren’t we talking about who he was and why don’t we look at all of those contributing factors.”

According to an occupational therapist who treated Andre, the man suffered from severe alcoholism, anxiety and cognitive issues because of repeated trauma to the head.

The inquest continues until June.

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