The Papatsie family, together with Tungasuvvingat Inuit, will host a gathering July 20 to remember and honour Mary Papatsie.
Papatsie, who is originally from Pangnirtung but lived in Ottawa for more than 15 years, has been missing since May 2017. She was 39 at the time.
“One of the most difficult things about coming together to remember Mary is that we still do not know what happened to her. 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,” stated Papatsie’s sister Miika Papatsie.
Papatsie’s disappearance is being investigated by Ottawa Police Major Crimes Unit. However, the Papatsie family have not been provided with updates from the Ottawa Police Service and remain in the dark as to what happened to her, according to the Tungasuvvingat Inuit news release.
“Mary was an easy person to love and a caring individual. Her laughter was contagious and we all miss her so much,” stated Papatsie’s brother Tommy Papatsie.
Funding from the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls helped make the gathering possible.
“This will allow family and community members to come together to honour, heal and grieve for Mary. The funding has also allowed family members from Nunavut and other areas of Canada to participate in the gathering,” stated Tungasuvvingat Inuit, which submitted the funding proposal.
“The Papatsie family would also like to acknowledge the generous support from Donna and Ricky Kilabuk and the entire community of Pangnirtung for their fundraising efforts, along with all the family and friends that contributed to the family’s Facebook fundraiser.”
First Air also provided flight discounts.
The gathering, open to all community members, will include an Anglican service followed by a feast of country foods, refreshments, games and music. It takes place at the Richelieu-Vanier Community Centre in Ottawa from 2:00 p.m. to 7 p.m., July 20.