MMIWG in Montreal: 'It felt like nobody cared about Alacie'
Published Wednesday, March 14, 2018 4:35PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, March 14, 2018 7:38PM EDT
A missing young woman, few answers from authorities – they are familiar themes re-emerging as members of an Inuit family shared their story Wednesday at a Montreal session of the Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women and Girls.
It was 1994, and Alacie Nowyakallak was a 35-year-old Inuit woman living in Montreal.
Her family discovered she was missing when she didn't go to visit her mother, who had flown to Montreal from Nunavik for medical care.
“That was not normal,” her sister Sarah Nowyakallak told the inquiry. “Usually when our parents are going to be there, we go there.”
Her sister said it felt like nobody cared about Alacie, or about them.
“We didn't know what to do in Montreal during my sister being missing. I used to go to the police to ask questions about what they were doing, about her missing,” she said.
Family and friends say they assumed a search was underway, but they have no indication - even today - that anyone looked for her.
“Not knowing what happened to your sister when she's missing, it's a horrible feeling. It's like we're lost,” she said.
Back in Nunavik, they were told the terrible news.
“They found her body in the water is what we heard almost a month later,” said Sarah Nowyakallak.
They told the commissioners that to their knowledge, nobody from the police ever tried to reach them.
“I thought there was an investigation as to determine how she died, that was my assumption,” she said.
At the inquiry, the family explained they only saw a coroner's report on Tuesday.
CTV obtained a copy of the report, and it was signed by the coroner in 1996.
In it, the coroner indicates the young woman drowned, and tied that to the ethyl alcohol found in her system.
The coroner reported there were no marks of violence found on her body.
The family said they still have many questions about the circumstances surrounding her death.
“We need some answers. We need peace,” said Sarah Nowyakallak.
The national inquiry's limited mandate does not allow commissioners to try and solve any outstanding cases, but if any new evidence does come up - they can refer it to the proper authorities.
The inquiry continues Thursday.