They came with signs and pictures, printed shirts and photo collages.
And with their tears, they also brought demands and pleas for answers in the murders of their loved ones.
Approximately a hundred people attended a march in Whitehorse’s McIntyre subdivision April 19 to mark the anniversary of the deaths of Wendy Carlick and Sarah MacIntosh, whose bodies were found in MacIntosh’s home on Murphy Road in 2017.
Their homicides remain unsolved.
Organized by Kwanlin Dün First Nation (KDFN), the march also honoured the memories of KDFN citizens Greg Dawson, found murdered in Riverdale on April 6, 2017, and Allan Waugh, found murdered in his McIntyre home on May 30, 2014.
Their cases, too, are unsolved.
“We miss seeing their faces. We miss their laughter and their love and friendship. We miss their presence in our community. Today’s march is meant to send a message that this community hasn’t forgotten and we need answers,” KDFN Chief Doris Bill told the crowd gathered at the Nàkwät’à Kù — KDFN’s potlatch house — shortly before the march. She urged anyone with information in any of the cases to come forward to the RCMP or, if they were afraid to speak to the police, KDFN’s justice department.
“It’s disheartening when you look at the number of homicides throughout our beloved Yukon in the past few years,” Bill said. “It’s devastating our communities as they struggle to deal with the aftermath of all of these deaths. I plead with Yukoners to take care of one another.”
Many of the attendees were family members of the victims. Among them was KDFN councillor Jessie Dawson, a cousin of Greg Dawson, who said she was marching not just for her family, but for everyone in the community who’s been affected by the recent murders as well.
“Our community has had many losses in the past number of years and it’s taken a toll on the families … and so it’s important that we’re here to support each other, you know?” she told the News. “Not only our family but the Waugh family, the MacIntosh family, and we hold each other up and let them know that they’re not alone, that we care and we’re here for them…. It’s like we’re one big family.”
To the sound of beating drums and the smell of burning sage, the march — which was also attended by Mountainview MLA Jeanie Dendys, who previously served as KDFN’s director of justice, Council of Yukon First Nations Grand Chief Peter Johnston and Whitehorse mayor Dan Curtis, among others — slowly made its way down McIntyre Drive before turning onto Murphy Road, where it stopped in front of MacIntosh’s house for a moment of silence and prayer.
As the march made its way back towards the Nàkwät’à Kù, two eagles could be seen flying overhead.
After the group arrived, family members were given a chance to address the group. Many of them talked about how much they missed their uncle, father, sister, cousin or auntie, and thanked the community for their support; one of MacIntosh’s daughters encouraged everyone to “love your mom every day, while you still have her.”
Shirley Bien, the mother of Chelsey Bien, also spoke. Chelsey was murdered at a Riverdale apartment building Feb. 26. Lynzee Harriott Silverfox has been charged with second-degree murder in relation to her death.
“I just wish people would come forward and start speaking as to what happened on those nights and then for these families to have some peace.… People have to start being kind to each other,” Bien said. “Love thy neighbour, don’t hate thy friend.”
Contact Jackie Hong at email@example.com