Salluit man found in river

Police probe 'mystery; death after windfall


Charlie Mark Saviadjuk of Salluit is finally coming home.

The Kativik Regional Police confirmed that the body of Saviadjuk, 35, was expected to return to Salluit from ­Montreal by the end of this week.

Saviadjuk went missing last October when he didn't show up to take his scheduled Air Inuit flight from Montreal to ­Salluit.

"There's a big relief that the body has been found, now that they know he's not alive," said Saviadjuk's uncle, Adamie Kalingo of Ivujivik. "They can get him home to bury him in his home town like everybody should be."

Capt. Tony Paquet of the KRPF in Salluit said police had retrieved a body from the St. Lawrence River near Montreal last November, but had not been able to identify the remains until recently.

The major crimes squad from the Montreal police force will continue their investigation into Saviadjuk's death, Paquet said.

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Saviadjuk's family and friends say he might still be alive today if he hadn't received a windfall of money from the profit-sharing deal with Xstrata's nickel mine.

Saviadjuk received $15,000 from the profit-sharing pot, which was distributed last July to Inuit in Salluit.

The Raglan Agreement, the Inuit impact and benefits deal for the nickel mine, gave $23 million to beneficiaries in Salluit and Kangiqsujuaq, out of a total of $32.4 million handed over to Makivik Corp. last April.

About $14 million was divvied up among Salluit's 1,100 beneficiaries, with each adult receiving $15,000 and every child $3,500. Many families ended up with more than $50,000 in their pockets.

Saviadjuk was flush with cash when he arrived in ­Montreal to receive medical treatment for an injury that had allegedly resulted from a brawl over money.

Once in the city, Saviadjuk is said to have become ­addicted to crack cocaine.

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Three months to the day after the Raglan money was handed out, Saviadjuk disappeared.

Saviadjuk was due to return home from Montreal via Air Inuit Oct. 19.

"His suitcase was the only thing that came back to Salluit," Kalingo said. "Rumours started flying around there had been foul play."

Searchers started looking for Saviadjuk in Montreal when there was no word from him.

One of these searchers met another man from Salluit who said Saviadjuk was "over there in the river."

The man also mentioned other disturbing details about Saviadjuk's disappearance: that Saviadjuk had been with another man from Cape Dorset and an elderly Qallunaaq man, and that the three of them had been murdered and their ­bodies dumped into the river.

After receiving his Raglan money, Saviadjuk opened an account with Nunavik Financial Services in Salluit and received a debit card, which he took along to Montreal.

Saviadjuk's family said there continued to be activity in his account after his disappearance.

"Someone took advantage of his ignorance," Kalingo said.

The community finally called off the search for Saviadjuk in December and held a memorial service for him in Salluit on Dec. 24.

"I was praying that no one would die after that money," said Paul Okituk, who manages the Raglan file for the Kativik Regional Government. "A lot of people here don't know the South well and he (Saviadjuk) was one of those guys. His communication skills were also somewhat wanting. I had to interpret for him."

The Raglan profit-sharing money was a good thing for a lot of people in Salluit because they used it to buy equipment for traditional activities, Okituk said.

But for the person like Saviadjuk who had lost his identity as a traditional Inuk, the money created problems, Okituk said.

Last summer, the news that Salluit residents had received substantial amounts of cash circulated around downtown Montreal – and Okituk said he was often accosted when in the city.

"People were asking me, ‘where are you from?' I wouldn't tell them. Total strangers would put their arms around my shoulders. ‘You Inuk? You guys have a good heart? I'm in need right now.' This happened almost every day."

However, the huge profit-sharing bonus – from the Raglan mine is unlikely to be repeated this year because global nickel prices have taken a beating and Xstrata's revenues fell by 11 per cent in 2008.

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