Nunavik community grieves death of young boy

“It was an accident; they’re only children”

The community of Akulivik held a funeral April 10 for a four-year-old boy who died from an apparent head injury last week. (File photo)

By Sarah Rogers

The Nunavik family of a young boy who died in an accident last week is “coping” with the child’s sudden loss, said the community’s mayor.

A four-year-old boy died April 2 in Akulivik, after an incident at the family’s home in which the boy and his six-year-old brother were either playing or fighting together.

The boys’ mother was outside smoking a cigarette when she heard a loud thump. When she went back inside, the four-year-old was lying unconscious, said Akulivik mayor Eli Aullaluk.

Some of the circumstances remain unclear, but the six-year-old boy reportedly threw a snowmobile helmet at this younger brother’s head.

The boy was taken to the local health centre with severe head injuries and died there shortly afterward.

The child’s body was sent south for an autopsy, and only just returned this week. The community held a funeral for the boy April 10.

“They’re coping,” Aullaluk said of the bereaved family. “They’re doing what they can.”

The cause of the child’s death has yet to be determined, while the coroner and police investigations continue.

The Kativik Regional Police Force handed over its investigation to the Sûreté du Québec, which has twice sent investigators to the Hudson coast community.

But police have made no arrests in connection to the boy’s death and do not consider the death as suspicious.

“It was an accident,” Aullaluk said. “They’re only children.”

Akulivik, population about 600, is a tight-knit community, Aullaluk said, and community members have been supportive of the family.

Aullaluk said the community has also received support through the region’s health and social services and education organizations.

The local Tukisiarvik school has made counselling available to staff and students.

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