Unity in the Community Walk for four Yukon women who died at the Whitehorse Emergency Shelter held in Whitehorse

Bella Tizya - Mother to Myranda Aleisha Dawn Tizya-Charlie at the Unity in the Community Walk in Whitehorse. (Photo by Panebi Wilson)

Let the anger go, regardless of all that was seen during the inquest.

The Yukon Aboriginal women’s council held a Unity in the Community walk in Whitehorse Friday April 26. 

The walk was aimed at creating a space for healing following the just concluded coroner’s inquest into the deaths of four Yukon women who died at the Whitehorse Emergency Shelter. 
Yukon Coroner’s inquest into the deaths of the four Yukon women began on Monday April 8 at the Gold Rush Inn in Whitehorse. It lasted for three weeks to determine the facts related to the deaths, provide recommendations to prevent future deaths in similar circumstances and to assure the community that the deaths are not being overlooked or ignored.

During the inquest, juror’s heard testimonies from family members, RCMP, EMS, the Whitehorse Emergency Shelter directors, managers, and staff, and other experts sharing their experiences with the deceased women.  

The walk which began at about 12:pm on Friday from the Gold Rush Inn, saw over a hundred people present. Some participants were seen carrying placards of Cassandra Warville, Myranda Aleisha Dawn Tizya-Charlie, Josephine Elizabeth Hager and Darla Skookum.

Songs and drumming were heard from participants which include family and friends of the four Yukon women, representatives of the Kulin dun first Nation, Selkirk First Nation, Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, the Yukon Aboriginal women’s council, the RCMP and a host of others.

Bella Tizya, mother to Myranda Aleisha Dawn Tizya-Charlie was among those who spoke at the Shipyard Park. With so much tears in her eyes, she spoke about how traumatizing, hurtful, and disturbing this month has been for her. She encouraged everyone involved to move forward and let the anger go regardless of all that was seen during the inquest. She also said everyone should get necessary help available during this time. The inquest heard Hager, Warville and Tizya-Charlie all died from a mix of drugs and alcohol intoxication, and that Darla Skookum died of acute alcohol poisoning.

In a Yukon government media release, Minister of Health and Social Services Tracy-Anne McPhee said "the work carried out in this inquest is essential in the governments ongoing efforts to protect the most vulnerable among us and help ensure such tragedies are not repeated." The Government of Yukon will now begin the process to thoroughly assess the recommendations and will provide an update bringing forward a plan for implementing the actions that will be taken as a result, she said.


While it is uncertain how long the jury would require to deliberate the circumstances of the four deaths and to provide recommendations, it is believed that it could take several days.
The Unity in the Community Walk ended at the Shipyard Park where a sacred fire ceremony was lit. 

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