June 9, 1977. Achille Voilant, 20, and Moise Regis, 26, go fishing on the Moisie River near Sept-lles. They never come home.
The next day, the canoe of the two Innu men is found empty. Their bodies later
wash ashore, bruised as if the men had been beaten.
The families immediately faced obstacles in trying to figure out what happened and who was responsible.
A coroner ruled that the men had drowned accidentally despite abundant evidence to the contrary.
Other than the bruises, the families also noted that the bodies were not bloated as the bodies of drowning victims usually are.
Evidence was destroyed or disappeared. The game wardens’ boat was repainted less than 36 hours after the two Innus disappeared. The canoe of the two men, which had evidence that it was rammed, was bought by the same two SQ officers who investigated the deaths(!) The coroner never saw it.
The events of 19 years ago inspired renowned Quebec filmmaker Arthur Lamothe to make the film Silence des Fusils, which is premiering at the World Film Festival in Montreal.
Lamothe knew knew one of the victims, Achille Voilant, very well and is an old friend of Achille’s father.
He’s had this film in his head ever since the deaths, finally got $3 million in financing and put together a cast of fresh new faces (mostly Innus from Maliotenam)—”so the truth comes out… They organized a cover-up,” Lamothe told The Nation.
Much of the film is in Innu with subtitles, so Crees can follow a lot of it even if they don’t speak French.
Lamothe has received awards from the Quebec Association of Film Critics and the International Festival of Documentary Film in Switzerland for his film about the Native people of Northern Quebec.
His latest effort stars Michele Audet of Maliotenam in her acting debut. Michele is vice-president of the Montreal Native Friendship Centre and works with the Innu Manitou Productions film company.
Catch the film on August 21 at 7 p.m. at the Imperial Cinema at Parc and Ste-Catherine.