Indigenous Students' Council President Dallas Fiddler helps light the candle of a fellow student. Photo by Joel Willick
Students at the University of Saskatchewan have shown their support and solidarity for the family and loved ones of the four young girls who have taken their lives in northern Saskatchewan.
Nearly 100 people gathered for a candlelight vigil on campus Thursday afternoon in memory of the young girls.
In recent weeks, four girls have taken their own lives from La Ronge, Stanley Mission and Deschambault Lake. All of them were under the age of 14. Many more are considered at-risk.
Dallas Fiddler, President of the Indigenous Students' Council, says often students come to campus from northern Saskatchewan. Fiddler says he hopes the vigil will help them realize they can find support while here.
"We all have the same fear of leaving a community and not knowing what will happen when we return and that is why we wanted to plan this vigil," says Fiddler. "We just wanted to stand in solidarity with the northern regions of Saskatchewan."
Fiddler, from Waterhen Lake First Nation, says he hopes the vigil will help communicate to northern youth that they are loved.
"Our students really care about the issues these youth are facing," he says. "I would like to tell the communities to stay strong and reach out to us."
During the vigil, the students’ council listed off all of the supports available at the U of S and encouraged those in attendance to use them if needed.
For Amie Bell, a NORTEP student from La Ronge, she wanted to come and support all northerners.
"It's not just one community affected, it is many communities in the north that are affected," says Bell. "The more of us there are the stronger we are."
Many politicians and First Nation leaders have talked about the tragedy, calling for immediate action and support to be provided to the communities.