An inquest will be held into the in-custody death of aboriginal artist Moses Beaver.
Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler and Nibinamik First Nation Chief Johnny Yellowhead say Beaver, a renowned Woodlands artist, is believed to have died in a jail in Thunder Bay, Ont., on Monday, but his death has not officially been confirmed.
Thunder Bay police say there was a death, but would give no other details.
Yellowhead says Beaver had struggled with mental health issues for many years and it was unclear why he was in custody.
Fiddler called the circumstances of the death “troubling” and said “we will demand an investigation into the circumstances around his passing.”
Beaver’s sister, Mary Wabasse, died Wednesday in a collision that injured several other members of his family in Thunder Bay. Fiddler and Yellowhead say the group was travelling to comfort family members in Thunder Bay and make funeral arrangements.
“Our dear friend Moses Beaver had struggled for many years with mental health issues but we do not understand why he was in custody or the circumstances that led to his death,” Yellowhead said. “It is clear that Moses needed professional help and a psychiatric assessment, and we demand to know why this didn’t happen.”