YKDFN to hold ceremony honouring missing and murdered women

Updated on June 13 to reflect the changes to the event

Cindy Caisse says the event, which will take place June 15 and 16 at the Yellowknife River, is to help bring closure and healing to the families who have suffered the loss of a loved one.

Caisse works as counsellor support for Yellowknives Dene First Nation department of wellness.

Teacher Mary Crate was originally supposed to be a guest speaker and perform ceremony at the event but can no longer attend.

Chuckie Nicotine will be taking her place. Nicotine is a Cree woman from Red Pheasant, Saskatchewan and is also a teacher as well as a trained counsellor. As originally planned, families will be able to perform ceremonies one-on-one with Nicotine to honour their lossed loved one.

Caisse says any families that would like to hold ceremony should get in touch with YKDFN to ensure they have the right preparations.

There will be several local speaks as well such as Yellowknife Mayor Rebecca Alty, Dene National Chief Norman Yakeleya and Marie Speakman of the Native Women’s Association.

Caisse said transportation can be provided and possibly childcare. There will also be various traditional stations over the two days such as hide tanning, fish drying and sewing among others.

Long-term support

YKDFN received $25,000 for the weekend’s event. The funding comes from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, which released its final report last week. More than 100 organizations received funding.

“The quality of the submissions the National Inquiry received was inspiring as communities plan ways to come together to remember and honour lost loved ones,” wrote Faye Anderson, communications advisor for the inquiry, in an email to CKLB.

Caisse says YKDFN is also looking to start monthly sessions to educate and support community members. The first session will be on human trafficking; another will be in minimizing the risk associated with trauma.

About the Author

Francis Tessier-Burns
Francis was a reporter with CKLB from January 2019 to March 2023. In his time with CKLB, he had the immense pleasure and honour of learning about northern Indigenous cultures.