People across Saskatchewan gathered to honour those lost on James Smith Cree Nation and in the village of Weldon Wednesday night.

The First Nations University of Canada (FNUC) organized candlelight vigils in Prince Albert, Saskatoon and Regina to support those affected by the violence.

Among those in attendance in Prince Albert was the areas’ federal Member of Parliament Randy Hoback, Prince Albert Northcote MLA Alana Ross and Terra Lennox-Zepp, who was representing the City of Prince Albert in her role as the deputy mayor.

Also in attendance was leadership from James Smith Cree Nation including the nation’s chief Wally Burns. During his remarks to those in attendance Burns thanked all those who had reached out to offer their support to the nation. He explained they are still trying to process the tragic events.

“No words can express what happened, we’re still in shock, the words that I want to say don’t want to come out,” he said.

The chief said many people have reached out to him to offer condolences, adding he didn’t know many of the people offering their condolences. Burns as well spoke about what it was like for him while the events were unfolding.

“From the first call that I got, I was shooken up and then from there, it like, started calling of the hook,” he said.

The chief explained the impact of the events of the past weekend will have an impact in the future and especially for younger people. Burns then shared some advice he was give by Clarence Louie the Chief of the Osoyoos Indian Band in British Columbia.

“He told me, remember the three words, life goes on and I started thinking and he said to me ‘you always have to remember our elders and our youth, those are the ones you have to protect,” he said.

Burns thanked FNUC for inviting him to speak and as well the elder who offered a prayer before the start of the vigil along with all levels of government who have offered support. The James Smith Cree Nation leader also expressed his gratitude to those who came out to show their support Wednesday night.

“I thank you, each and every one of yous today that came out and helped set this up,” he said.

The chief was joined Wednesday evening by fellow leadership from the nation. Burns said with the suspect no longer on the loose the community can now start the process of beginning to move forward.

“We can gladly, honestly we can have some rest, some closure and now work on the things that need to be done,” he said.

(All Photos Courtesy of Michael Joel-Hansen)