For the first time ever the provincial government has declared May 5-11 as missing persons week.

The launch took place at the T.C. Douglas Building in Regina this morning.

It featured 114 empty white chairs which represented 114 missing Saskatchewan people.

There were also photographs of the missing,  a disproportionate number of them are aboriginal.

Almost half the cases involve aboriginal people, even though they make up only about 15% of the population.

One of the faces is Sam Lachance who went missing back in 1987.

He is from the Big River First Nation which is located northwest of Prince Albert.

His nephew, Wayne Lachance,  says even though it has been 26 years,  the family is still hurting and still wondering what happened.

“And it’s hard for us nephews and this is hard for our parents who were the siblings.   Once in a while you would find them crying in a corner and you would ask them what’s wrong and they would say I’m lonesome for my brother.”

Marshall Dreaver is also a nephew of Sam Lachance.

He remembers the frantic search for his uncle back in 1987.

He says his parents were looking everywhere.

Sadly they have both now passed away.

“You feel for them because they don’t know what happened,  and for me, it would be important to have closure.”

Justice minister, Gordon Wyant, officially proclaimed this week as missing persons week.

He says keeping the cases alive and never giving up hope is important.

He says the pain of not knowing is the most difficult part.

“Oh certainly,  you can only imagine the pain and anguish a family goes through,   not only losing someone,   but  not being able to have closure to that missing person.”

The LaChance case is featured in the first of five videos produced by the RCMP.

A new video will be released each day this week.

You can access them on the Saskatchewan RCMP web site.