Health Canada responds to passing of Aklavik elder mistaken for being drunk

Left: Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott with Prime Minister Trudeau, Right: NWT Health Minister Glen Abernethy

The federal government is responding to the passing of Hugh Papik.

The sixty eight year old elder from Aklavik passed away last August after suffering a stroke that was mistaken for drunkenness.

Maryse Durette is the Senior Media Relations Advisor for Health Canada.

“We were saddened to hear about the death of Mr. Papik. We send out our heartfelt condolences to his family and those in his community. The territorial governments are responsible for the management of health services in all communities north of the 60th parallel, including Indigenous communities. We are working closely with Indigenous leaders and provinces and territories to constantly improve access to health care.” – Maryse Durette, Senior Media Relations Advisor for Health Canada

Territorial Health Minister Glen Abernethy says a recent investigation into Papik’s death will help address systematic racism in the north.

Recommendations from the investigation include cultural training for non-indigenous staff and hiring indigenous health-care workers.

*An earlier version of this article stated that Maryse Durette, the Senior Media Relations Advisor for Health Canada, spoke on behalf of Health Minister Jane Philpott. Minister Philpott was unavailable for comment and Ms. Durette was kind enough to respond. We apologize for the confusion.

About the Author

Brandon Maher
Brandon Maher is a feature reporter with CKLB who comes from the muggy-air filled streets of Cambridge, Ontario. A graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Niagara College, Brandon has also worked with Rogers TV in Kitchener and Shaw TV in Calgary. For questions, concerns and story ideas contact Brandon at 867-446-6417.

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