Mary Papatsie, an Inuk woman originally from Pangnirtung who went missing in Ottawa more than two years ago, will be memorialized this July 20 at a gathering in the city.
“The gathering is open to all community members that want to show the family support and remember Mary,” said a news release that Tungasuvvingat Inuit issued on Tuesday, July 9.
The mother of 10, who was 39 at the time of her disappearance, had been living in Ottawa for about 15 years when she went missing in May 2017.
The Ottawa Police Service opened an investigation into Papatsie’s disappearance that year, eventually turning it over to its major crimes unit.
But family members say they haven’t heard any news from police ever since. There have been no reported sightings of the missing women or possible suspects identified in connection to her disappearance.
“One of the most difficult things about coming together to remember Mary is that we still don’t know what happened to her,” said Mary’s sister, Miika Papatsie, in a TI release.
“Having this gathering will allow us to grieve together, remember and honour my sister, but it is hard to have closure if we have no answers.”
The family launched a fundraiser earlier this year to help bring Mary’s relatives together and to say goodbye.
The Papatsies received private donations as well as support through First Air and a fund set up through the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.
That will allow relatives from Pangnirtung and other Nunavut communities to come to Ottawa to attend the event.
The memorial service is set for Saturday, July 20 at the Richelieu-Vanier Community Centre, at 300 des Pères-Blancs Avenue, from 2 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
The gathering is open to all community members who want to show support to the Papatsies, the family said.
It will start with an Anglican service, followed by a feast with country food, games and music.
Anyone with information on Mary Papatsie’s whereabouts is still asked to contact the Ottawa Police Major Crime Section at 613-236-1222, ext. 5493, or submit an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).
By Sarah Rogers