Natuashish mourning loss of Marcel Katshinak

Derek Montague
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Family and friends remember him as great hunter, outdoorsman

Marcel Katshinak, who was found deceased outside of Natuashish next to his snowmobile, was considered an avid outdoorsman and skilled hunter.

The community of Natuashish, no stranger to dealing with tragedy, is mourning the loss of great hunter and outdoorsman.

On May 16, 51-year-old Marcel Katshinak was reported missing, four days after leaving on snowmobile for a remote area known as Border Beacon. One day later, Katshinak was found deceased just six kilometres outside of Natuashish, his body lying beside his snowmobile. The RCMP is still investigating the cause of death.

For those who knew him, Katshinak will be remembered as a man of many talents, especially when it came to hunting and camping.

“There’s a lot of things I should have said when he was still alive,” said former Mushuau Innu First Nation Chief Simeon Tshakapesh. “He was a very nice man. He was my best friend, he was my cousin, he was my hunting partner, and he was my travel companion.”

Tshakapesh and Katshinak were friends for nearly 40 years, going back to when they were just small children. The ex-chief recalls how his friend and cousin could build things so easily with his hands, and what a great companion he was while out in the country.

“He was a very hard worker. He’s a good carpenter and a good wood carver,” said Tshakapesh.

“And he knows the land really well. Every time we go into the country, we always go together. We worked really good together as a team.

“Growing up we used to hang around each other and we used to hunt together. And we used to do a lot of bonding … we done everything together in the country.”

Tshakapesh moved from Natuashish to Sheshatshiu after resigning as chief in 2013. After hearing of Katshinak’s passing, he quickly flew into Natuashish to be with friends and family. Tshakapesh, like the rest of the Innu community, is still in shock at the sudden and unexpected death.

“I was devastated. I couldn’t believe it.”

“The mood is really, really, bad here. It’s so sad, everybody is so shocked.”

Marie Agathe Rich, like Tshakapesh, was a cousin and close friend of Katshinak. To Rich, Katshinak was a caring man who went out of his way to teach her about hunting and respecting the land.

“He was a nice person, caring person … taught me how to respect the animals, he would teach me everything,” said Rich, while fighting back tears.

“Ever since I knew Marcel … he would live with me in the country every year on the outpost. And when he hunted, when he kills the game, he showed me how to clean it. And he also showed me how to cook.”

Rich was actually with a group of people, camping in the country, when she heard the news that Katshinak was missing. To her, the news didn’t seem real because, only a couple of days earlier, she was sharing stories about Marcel with a friend.

“When we were out in the country, we talked about him, shared stories from him. We didn’t know this could happen only a couple days later, that’s when we heard he was missing,” recalled Rich.

“I was shocked. I don’t know what to do, or say, or think. I was very shocked, that I told myself ‘that’s not him.’”

As of May 21, Tshakapesh and Rich couldn’t say when a memorial service for their friend would be taking place. For now, all they can do is remain strong.

“We’re having a difficult time, but we’re hanging in there,” said Rich.

Organizations: RCMP

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