Hundreds of people marched through the McIntyre subdivision April 26 to honour the memory of three people murdered in the past month.
There were residents from the community, representatives from government, city council, the RCMP and First Nation chiefs who came to pay their respects to Wendy Carlick, Sarah MacIntosh and Greg Dawson.
The RCMP are investigating all three deaths as homicides.
Carlick and MacIntosh were found dead in a McIntyre home April 19. Dawson was found dead at a Riverdale residence April 6.
Accompanied by the sound of drums, the crowd made its way to 19 Murphy Road where the bodies of Carlick and MacIntosh were discovered.
The drums stopped and the crowd felt silent. People started placing flowers and signs on the house’s stairs.
People hugged and sometimes just held each other silently. The pain, the shock and the sorrow were so great there was nothing to say. Tearful elders comforted each other and parents reassured their children.
“People throughout the city asked for an opportunity to gather to remember the individuals taken from us,” Kwanlin Dün First Nation Chief Doris Bill told the crowd.
“Just to be with one another, to talk about the individuals, the beautiful people they were.”
And just because not all of them were KDFN citizens doesn’t mean they didn’t belong to the community, she said.
“They contributed to our community, they were very much part of our community.”
Bill also mentioned Allan Waugh, who was also murdered in McIntyre in May 2014. To this day the crime has not been solved.
“We don’t want to forget all the individuals that have been lost to us in this way ,” she said. “There are too many of them to count.”
The violence has to stop, she said. “Enough!”
William Carlick thanked people for being there and called on to people to come together.
“We need each and every one of us, no matter what colour we are.”
James Kawchuk told the crowd about the need to help vulnerable people on the city’s streets.
“We need to help them and go to them with resources because they’ll never go to us,” he said. “I know that, I was there.”
Jeanie Dendys, minister responsible for the women’s directorate, also spoke after the march.
Before being elected last fall she was KDFN’s justice director.
“It’s so hard to stand here today and talk about three lives that have been lost,” she said. “It’s so senseless.”
Dendys said she knew both MacIntosh and Dawson.
“Wendy was a pillar of strength,” she said. “As hard as this is, we need to turn this around for our communities. I need you to walk with me.”
When she first heard about the deaths, Dendys said she prayed for them to not be as a result of violence.
“We can’t keep coming together like this,” Bill said afterwards. “I want to come together in celebration instead of in mourning all the time.”
She said she would commit the rest of her term to work on the issue.
Bill said she received letters from several First Nations, and from Carolyn Bennett, the federal minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs.
She read out a letter sent by the Tetlit Gwich’in Council, the First Nation Brandy Vittrekwa belonged to. Vittrekwa was killed on a trail in McIntyre in December 2014.
The families of the victims are asking for financial support to cover the cost of the funerals. Donations can made in person at the Kwanlin Dün administration offices.
Contact Pierre Chauvin at firstname.lastname@example.org