More than a year after his disappearance, the family of a missing Prince Albert man is stepping up awareness efforts about missing and murdered indigenous men.
Colleen Whitedeer, sister of missing Timothy Charlette, wrapped red ribbons around Diefenbaker Bridge and the Canadian Northern Railway Bridge with her family on Jan. 9 in the afternoon.
“We’re building awareness for the indigenous men that are currently missing in Canada,” she said, adding more than 1800 indigenous men are missing, and it’s time for them to be recognized as well.
“Hopefully someone will pick [the ribbon] up and say ‘hey, this is someone’s brother, this is someone’s son, this is someone’s father. It’s serious.”
While she wrapped ties on Diefenbaker Bridge, her two siblings Robert and Roberta Charlette carefully walked across the Canadian Northern Railway Bridge to do the same.
“People don’t really think there’s that high of a number for men,” Roberta said. “There’s more awareness on women, but I think they should be put together.”
After Charlette’s disappearance his family conducted their own search along the riverbanks of the north Saskatchewan River.
Colleen doesn’t believe the Prince Albert Police Service did enough in their search for her brother.
“They have dogs who can smell other people when they’re looking for suspects. They could have done something like that…and possibly find his last location,” Colleen said. “I personally feel that there’s something very suspicious about this.”
Charlette was last seen at the bridge with his girlfriend, Beatrice Adam. They were both reported missing.
Adams’ body was found Oct. 12, 2014 by kayakers in the north Saskatchewan River, just a few days after she was reported missing.
Everyone in the family took the news about Charlette hard, but no more so than his mother.
This is the second son she will have lost after her son Russell Whitedeer was murdered in Alberta in 1998.
Roberta has tried to come to terms with her brother’s disappearance over the last year.
“I try not to think about it too much because I have to go on and live life,” she said “It’s hard during his birthday, Christmas and family times, because it’s nice to have family around. It would just be nice to find him.”