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Emotional scenes at 3rd annual march for missing and murdered Indigenous men, boys and 2S+

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There were emotional scenes Friday as the third annual march for missing and murdered Indigenous men, boys and two-spirit-plus people took place in Vancouver.

Attendees came to remember sons, brothers and friends who never came home.

Carol Nygaard was among them – there on behalf of two of her cousins’ sons who are missing.

They are Carl Schooner Jr., a Bella Coola man last seen in December 2022, and Miguel Mack, a Merritt resident who was last seen on Feb. 27, 2023. Earlier this year, investigators revealed that they suspect Mack was a homicide victim.

“It’s really hard,” Nygaard told CTV News before the march. “I can’t imagine what they’re going through. I just want to show my support today.”

People also travelled from other parts of the country.

They included Lydia Daniels, who flew in from Manitoba. Her son Colton Pratt was last seen in Winnipeg in 2014.

“For the families, we want to bring that awareness forward,” Daniels said of the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous men and boys. “Because they’re important too. And our men and boys matter as well.”

Curtis Ahenakew was one of the organizers of the event – inspired to take action after his friend Neil Stonechild froze to death in 1990 following a so-called “Starlight Tour,” in which police in Saskatoon were accused of driving Indigenous men to the edge of town and dropping them in freezing cold temperatures.

Following an inquiry by the Saskatchewan government, two officers were fired.

“It’s a celebration of honouring our people that have gone missing,” Ahenakew told CTV News before the march. “It sounds strange to say. But that’s what we’re doing. We’re bringing a good positive message today, but the truth – it’s continuing to happen.”

And while support for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls has been in focus in recent years – the profile hasn’t been so high when it comes to Indigenous men and boys.

The march started at the Vancouver Police Department's headquarters before going over the Cambie Street Bridge and wrapping up in Creekside Park.

The event also featured the arrival of a canoe transporting sweetgrass, symbolizing medicine and healing.

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