Film tells story of Inuk man who died in RCMP custody
Solomon Uyarasuk was found unresponsive in a Nunavut RCMP cell following arrest for assault
A documentary that tells the story of an Igloolik, Nunavut man who died in RCMP custody premieres this week.
The film, Sol, tells the story of Solomon Uyarasuk, an amateur acrobat, actor, musician and poet who was arrested for assault in September 2012.
Uyarasuk was brought to the police station in Igloolik and put in a cell. Shortly after that, he was found unresponsive. Police officers, a guard and a nurse tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate him.
We have to look and see how the situation can be changed.- Marie-Hélène Cousineau on Uyarasuk's death
"There are many people like him, you know, and their stories are also very devastating," said Marie-Hélène Cousineau, co-director of Sol.
Nunavut's Chief Coroner has set a date for a mandatory inquest into Uyarasuk's death, in order to examine the circumstances around his death and make recommendations to prevent similar deaths in the future.
Cousineau says the film depicts a community still waiting for answers and highlights a crisis that has affected many families in Nunavut.
She says though Uyarasuk's hasn't been ruled a suicide, her film gives an opportunity to shed light on the issue of suicide in Canada's indigenous communities.
"Because if you say well, it's just another suicide and forget about it, that has to stop. We have to look and see how the situation can be changed.
"Often, you know, the rest of Canada doesn't know about it so that's a very good occasion for people in Toronto, in Montreal — hopefully in other places — to see it."
Sol debuts Friday at the imagineNATIVE film and media arts festival in Toronto.
It will also screen next month at the Montreal International Documentary Festival. There are also plans to show it in Nunavut.