Iskwewuk E-wichiwitochik (Women Walking Together) are sending their thoughts to the family of Karina Wolfe as they mark a decade of advocating on behalf of missing and murdered aboriginal women.
Tissue boxes lined the tables at the White Buffalo Youth Lodge as just over two dozen people gathered to honour the women’s memories with a pipe ceremony, songs, panel speeches and a feast.
Confirmation about the discovery of Wolfe’s body just two days prior added weight to the already somber anniversary and prompted organizers to revise the ceremony to honour her.
The 20-year-old went missing in 2010. A 33-year-old man is charged with second degree murder and indignity to human remains in relation to Wolfe’s death, and will make his first court appearance Monday. Police forensic teams found human remains matching Wolfe’s DNA on Nov. 14.
“I was just triggered right to the day when my daughter’s remains were located,” said Gwenda Yuzicappi, whose daughter Amber Redmen was missing for three years before her remains were found in 2008. “You’re grasping at reality that you’re daughter is located; that you will not be able to have that talk or see that smile or have that hug. Those are lost.”
The last time she was with Wolfe’s mother Carol at the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations women’s banquet, Yuzicappi said Carol remained hopeful her daughter would come home safe.
“She had so much hope, and that’s one thing that I admired about her,” she said. “It just broke my heart that it resulted in her daughter’s remains being located.”
She said she knows the painful court process that awaits the Wolfe family, and hopes it doesn’t last long.
Before details surrounding Wolfe’s disappearance and death come to light, WWT organizer Myrna Laplante encouraged people to reserve judgment of all those involved.
“We’ll often hear ‘high risk lifestyle,'” she said. “We don’t know the circumstances. We don’t know why a person was at that moment taken by somebody.”
She asked the public to be understanding and sympathetic towards all families who have had a loved one go missing.