A gathering held by the Touchwood Agency Tribal Council is offering an opportunity for healing for family members of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirited people.

The three-day gathering is running this week at the Dakota Dunes Conference Centre on Whitecap Dakota First Nation.

Throughout the gathering family members will have an opportunity to share their stories and create connections and find support on their individual journeys.

“Family is of incredible value and it is important that we look after each other,” said Kawacatoose First Nation chief Lee-Anne Kehler in her opening address. “I am so proud of this gathering because we are stronger as a family.”

In his opening address, Day Star First Nation Chief Lloyd Buffalo spoke on the situation Indigenous people find themselves in following the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and the calls to action that followed.

“It is vitally important for all of us to work and develop a framework within our communities and agencies,” said Chief Buffalo. “We have to acknowledge the path to healing may require strong lobbying efforts and advocacy.”

Mother of Chelsea Poorman still looking for answers

Sheila Poorman, a member of Kawacatoose First Nation, continues to look for answers in her daughter’s death and disappearance and says this gathering is a small help in her healing journey.

24-year-old Chelsea Poorman went missing in Vancouver on September 6, 2020. Her body was found 19 months later in an empty mansion in the city on April 22, 2022. Police have said Poorman likely died on or near the property the night she disappeared.

“To this day we have no leads and no information as to what happened to my daughter,” Poorman told MBC Radio News at the TATC Family Healing Gathering.

Sheila says healing has been incredibly difficult to find in the wake of the tragedy, but says experiencing a family type environment helps.

“I came here to try and find some healing and ways to find tools to accomplish that because it is really hard,” she said. “It’s hard to move forward when you always have unanswered questions.”

Poorman now says she will continue to look for answers and asks anyone with any information on the disappearance and death of Chelsea Poorman to come forward.

(Sheila Poorman stands in front of a picture of her daughter Chelsea Poorman. Photo by Joel Willick.)

The TATC Family Healing Gathering will conclude on Thursday.

TATC represents Kawacatoose First Nation, Daystar First Nation, George Gordon First Nation, and Muskowekwan First Nation.

(TOP PHOTO: A display of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls at the TATC Family Healing Gathering. Photo by Joel Willick,)