- ‘There is no guide and manual on how to deal with a death in the family that is outside of the community,’ says Alexina Makkik’s granddaughter.
- Alexina Makkik’s family should not have had to wait 38 days to bury their grandmother, according to Alexina’s granddaughter Romani Makkik.
Instead of holding a funeral right away, the Igloolik family had to navigate a complicated system to locate and transport the woman’s remains from Iqaluit, all while grieving.
This process prompted the Makkik family to file a complaint with the Department of Health’s Office of Patient Relations, detailing its long and agonizing journey to bury their grandmother finally.
Alexina died at the Qikiqtani General Hospital on October 25, at the age of 86. She lived in Igloolik but was flown to Iqaluit for care because her dementia had deteriorated.
According to Romani, the night Alexina died, the family was distraught and left the hospital without inquiring about what to do with her body or obtaining a death certificate. They added that the hospital staff did not offer to assist the family.
Following Alexina’s death, the family struggled to locate and transport their grandmother’s remains back to Igloolik.
Romani’s mother and uncle received forms from Hamlet of Igloolik that they mistook for instructions on how to bring their grandmother home. Those forms were turned over to the Qikiqtani Inuit Association, even though they were applications for financial assistance to attend a funeral.
On the advice of a friend, Romani called Qikiqtani Funeral Services. This Iqaluit organization handles the paperwork and arranges transportation of the bodies of people who died outside of their home community in early November. However, Romani claimed that her phone calls went unanswered.
The family had contacted their MLA, Joanna Quassa, and the Igloolik senior administrative officer, Greg Morash, and Canadian North by November 12.
She stated that none of them were able to assist her. On November 19, Romani contacted a representative of Qikiqtani Funeral Services.
Romani’s grandmother was mistakenly registered as an Iqaluit resident and was awaiting a burial date. Once that was resolved, the wheels of justice were set in motion to bring Alexina home, but it would still take more than a week.