EXCLUSIVE: A woman’s quest to find her grandfather’s grave

Marie Speakman was five when her grandfather was shipped to an Edmonton hospital, never to be seen again

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Marie Speakman clutches a photo of her grandfather Augustine Sewi. Brendan Burke/NNSL photo

Marie Speakman was five years old when her grandfather hugged and kissed her for the last time.

After boarding a plane in Deline, 72-year-old Augustine Sewi was flown to Edmonton’s Charles Camsell Hospital for tuberculosis treatment in 1962.

He was one of many Dene and Inuit people torn from their families, communities and culture during the federal government’s forced relocation of TB patients in the 1950s and ’60s.

Speakman never saw him again. Sewi died just days after arriving in Edmonton and his family was never notified.

“We’ve always wondered and wondered. My mom was left with a missing person – no information,” said Speakman, who now lives in Yellowknife.

Nearly 60 years later, she’s still looking for answers. Subscribers can read the full account of her search to find her grandfather’s final resting place here.

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