Grief and healing as La Loche comes together for winter festival

Nearly one month after a deadly shooting upended their small town, the residents of La Loche, Sask. are working to heal.

See Full Article

The community gathered to celebrate the winter season and find comfort at their annual winter festival this week.

Inside the local ice rink, young hockey players strapped on their skates, and outside, children ran back and forth over the snow, racing to pile wood, hammer nails into logs and carry sacks of flour as part of the festival games .

"A lot of kids are getting together, talking, laughing, crying together," Farris Lemaigre, an employee at the La Loche Friendship Centre, told CTV Regina. "Everybody's growing."

Beyond the festival games, however, signs of grief remain scattered around the community.

Flowers and other tributes poke through a layer of snow outside the La Loche Community School Dene Building, where a gunman shot and killed a teacher and young teaching assistant on Jan. 22. The shooter also killed two teens at a nearby home earlier that day.

A suspect, who cannot be named because he was 17-years-old at the time of the incident, now faces four counts of first-degree murder.

On Wednesday, the school's vice president said students and staff plan to march through town to the site of the shooting, where they will symbolically reclaim the space.

"We have to move on," community elder Pauline Fontaine said. "And the kids, they have to (move on) too."

Student activity has already restarted in the school. The boys' volleyball team is back to practising in the gym and students are invited to sign up for counselling.

There are also plans to increase security at the school.

Ken Ladouceur, the director of education at the Northern Lights School District, said the district aims to provide security from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., while classes are in session, as well as in the evening when there are other activities in the building.

The RCMP is also providing a school resource officer, Ladouceur said.

More efforts are also planned to help the community honour the shooting victims and cope with their grief.

As the winter festival comes to a close this weekend, artist Douglas Lingelbach is scheduled to carve an ice sculpture in memory of the four victims who died in the attack. And the festival will wrap up with a comedy show entitled "Healing with Laughter."

With files from CTV Regina



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • FBI chief to face questions on extremism, U.S. Capitol riot

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- FBI Director Chris Wray is set to testify for the first time since the deadly Jan. 6 deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol, with lawmakers likely to press him on whether the bureau adequately communicated with other law enforcement agencies about the potential for violence that day. Source
  • Myanmar protesters return to streets as crackdown continues

    World News CTV News
    YANGON, MYANMAR -- Demonstrators in Myanmar took to the streets again on Tuesday to protest last month's seizure of power by the military, as foreign ministers from Southeast Asian countries prepared to meet to discuss the political crisis. Source
  • Kidnappers release hundreds of schoolgirls in latest Nigeria abduction

    World News CBC News
    Gunmen have released girls kidnapped from a boarding school in northwest Nigeria, the governor of Zamfara state said in a message posted on Twitter on Tuesday. An armed gang abducted 317 girls from the Government Girls Science Secondary (GGSS) School in the town of Jangebe at around 1 a.m. Source
  • Police won't charge Australian minister accused of rape

    World News CTV News
    CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA -- Police on Tuesday ruled out investigating an unnamed Australian Cabinet minister over an allegation that he raped a 16-year-old girl more than 30 years ago. The decision by New South Wales state police adds pressure on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to establish an independent investigation to examine the accusation. Source
  • Philippine president fires ambassador seen assaulting staff

    World News CTV News
    MANILA, PHILIPPINES -- The Philippine president has dismissed his former ambassador to Brazil after she was seen on video physically abusing a Filipino member of her household staff. President Rodrigo Duterte said Monday night he had approved a recommendation to fire Marichu Mauro, revoke her retirement benefits and disqualify her from public office for life. Source
  • Indonesia's Sinabung Volcano spews high column of ash

    World News CTV News
    MEDAN, INDONESIA -- Indonesia's Mount Sinabung was erupting Tuesday, sending volcanic materials as high as 5,000 metres (16,400 feet) into the sky and depositing ash on nearby villages. Activity at the volcano in North Sumatra province increased over the past week, with authorities recording 13 times when it released ash clouds. Source
  • A California doctor performed surgery during a Zoom court appearance

    World News CTV News
    A California doctor's trial was delayed after he appeared for a virtual court hearing while simultaneously conducting a surgery last Thursday. Dr. Scott Green, a plastic surgeon, showed up to his virtual Sacramento Superior Court hearing -- held over Zoom -- to contest a traffic violation, wearing scrubs, gloves, a mask and surgical cap. Source
  • U.S. sanctions for Navalny poisoning may come on Tuesday: Reuters sources

    World News CTV News
    WASHINGTON -- The United States is expected to impose sanctions to punish Russia for the poisoning of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny as early as Tuesday, two sources familiar with the matter said. U.S. President Joe Biden's decision to impose sanctions for Navalny's poisoning reflects a harder stance than taken by his predecessor, Donald Trump, who let the incident last August pass without punitive U.S. Source
  • In Peru, forced sterilization case against Fujimori goes to court

    World News CTV News
    LIMA, PERU -- Former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori is on trial for his role in a 1990s government program in which many Indigenous women in poor communities say they were forcibly sterilized, and some died or suffered serious injuries because of infection. Source
  • Lady Gaga's dog walker describes harrowing attack as 'very close call with death'

    World News CTV News
    Ryan Fischer, the dog walker and friend of Lady Gaga who was shot in an altercation last week that ended with two of the singer's three French bulldogs being stolen, is speaking out publicly for the first time since the attack. Source