‘Ottawa’ Pootoogook’s Brother to Attend Nunavut Funeral
Thanks to the generosity of donors, the brother of renowned Inuit artist Annie Pootoogook will be able to attend his sister’s funeral in the North.
Funeral arrangements are currently being made for Pootoogook, whose body arrived in her hometown of Cape Dorset, Nunavut, on Monday. Her body was found in the Rideau River on Sept. 19.
The Shepherds of Good Hope had launched a fundraising campaign to help Pauloosie Joanasie, who is currently in Ottawa, with the purchase of a pricey plane ticket to the remote community.
“Wonderful news!” the Shepherds of Good Hope said in a post online on Thanksgiving Monday.
“Pauloosie’s ticket has been fully donated and he will be in Cape Dorset for his sisters funeral and to spend some time grieving with his family.”
While the six-hour flight from Ottawa to Cape Dorset is normally priced at about $3,500, the non-profit organization said it was able to secure a bereavement rate of approximately $1,600.
Pootoogook’s body was in the hands of the Ontario’s Coroner’s Office until recently as Ottawa police continue to investigate her death as suspicious.
The local shelter also raised money to help return Pootoogook’s body home.
“Generous supporters have already donated to help transport the body back to Cape Dorset and to cover the costs of the funeral,” the Shepherds of Good Hope said in an online post Sunday.
Sytukie Joamie, Pootoogook’s cousin, said earlier this week that a memorial for Annie would be held in Ottawa around the same time as her funeral in Cape Dorset.
Pootoogook, who battled alcohol and drug addiction, was sometimes found downtown panhandling and selling her drawings to pay for cigarettes.
In 2012, she gave birth to a premature baby girl on the bathroom floor of the Shepherds of Good Hope.
Last week, it was revealed that Napachie, 4, was adopted by Veldon Coburn and his wife. The couple have two boys and have also adopted a girl born to one of Pootoogook’s cousins.
Coburn is also the same person who launched a complaint against an Ottawa police officer over “hostile and racist” remarks posted online after Pootoogook’s death.
Asked for an update about the internal investigation into the actions of Sgt. Chris Hrnchiar, the Ottawa police told the Citizen on Friday that “the professional standards section investigation continues.”
The police also said there were “no developments” in the investigation into Pootoogook’s death.
Ottawa police are reviewing information from witnesses who have come forward after a call was put out for the public’s help to retrace Pootoogook’s final steps.
Police are also reviewing surveillance video from the Shepherds of Good Hope and other sources.
Staff at the Shepherds of Good Hope were not available for comment.