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Inukjuak man gets conditional sentence

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Last month, Quebec judge Donald Bissonnette gave Harry Tukai, 21, of House 269 in Inukjuak a 22-month sentence to be served in the community, followed by a two-year probation period.

Tukai’s sentence includes house arrest for 12 months, followed by a nightly curfew until the end of the sentence.

During his sentence, Tukai is not to consume alcohol and use drugs or be in the presence of people drinking. He also has a ban on owning or carrying a firearm for 10 years.

Tukai faced nine charges in connection with an assault last September on Kativik Regional Police Force members, which included attempted murder, uttering threats and resisting arrest.

Tukai plead guilty to five charges. The attempted murder charge was withdrawn, along with three other charges.

In the early morning of Sept. 14, two KRPF members responded to a call involving a disturbance and a possible suicide.

According to official reports on the incident, they found Tukai in front of a house. He pointed a gun at the two officers, saying he wanted them to shoot him, then barricaded himself inside the house.

Two more officers joined the two policemen who were already there.

When Tukai sat down on the porch to smoke a cigarette, one of the police officers moved up the stairs and tried to grab him around the waist.

He turned around, stabbed the top of the police officer’s head with a knife, cut off the top of one his ears and stabbed him in the back. The two rolled down the stairs.

Tukai stabbed the police officer’s hand after being wrestled to the ground. The injured police officer, who had no movement in his hand afterwards, went on sick leave.

Money seized from Avataq

On March 13 a bailiff and provincial police descended on the offices of Nunavik’s Avataq Cultural Institute on Redfern Avenue in Montreal’s Westmount district to make a seizure of goods belonging to the Mohawk band of Kanesatake.

The move to retrieve financial papers at the Avataq offices was part of a sweep conducted last Tuesday to locate money and goods belonging to Kanesatake, which owes $700,000 to a Montreal lawyer.

The bailiff had called in the Sûreté du Québec after meeting resistance at the Kanesatake band council, which owes $1.5 million to various creditors.

Lawyer Louis Sylvestre, who represented the band for two years during environmental hearings, is owed $700,000. He went to court and obtained a judgment in his favour with an order to seize goods.

But the band says money and goods on a reserve can’t be seized. So, in last week’s sweep, vehicles from the band’s now-defunct native police force, as well as weapons, were seized from other locations.

Avataq’s executive director, Rhoda Kokiapik, said Avataq planned to issue an official new release on the seizure.

A source with inside knowledge of this incident, who spoke to Nunatsiaq News, alleges the federal government gave Avataq $1.5 million to administer in trust on behalf of the Kanesatake Mohawks during a period of violent upheaval between the band’s elected chief, James Gabriel, and its native police chief.

Of these transferred funds, $200,000 remained in Avataq’s trust, according to bank records.

The source says Avataq likely acted without malice and served only as the “bag man” for government monies, which were being directed to support Gabriel.

Three years ago, Gabriel led an armed force of 67 native special constables into Kanesatake. The special constables sequestered themselves in the local police station for several days until they were forced to leave.

Gabriel’s home was subsequently burned and he was forced into exile.

The federal government supported Gabriel and refused to allow elections to be held. During this time the policing budget was increased, and a public relations company was hired to direct and support Gabriel’s re-election strategy.

Elections were finally held in late spring of 2005 and Gabriel lost.

Further court discussions on the money owed to Sylvestre will take place next month.

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