With more than 450,000 square kilometres, the people of the vast territory known as Eeyou Istchee came together Wednesday in a tribute to four locals lost on a hunting trip.

Prayer gatherings were held in several communities, including Waskaganish, Eastmain, Mistissini, Chisasibi and Waswanipi for Patrick Salt, 48; Kenneth Salt, 67; Matthew Diamond, 43; and Gabriel Shecapio, 30, who have been missing since leaving for a goose hunting trip Oct. 17.

4 hunters waskaganish

Kenneth Salt (top left), Patrick Salt (top right), Gabriel Shecapio (bottom left) and Matthew Diamond (bottom right). All four headed out hunting on Oct. 17 and didn't return. (Alexander Katapaytuk/Facebook)

An aerial search located the body of Patrick Salt and the group's boat and some of their gear last week.

More than 300 gathered by the shore of the Rupert River in Waskaganish to remember the four men on Wednesday.

Waskaganish Band Council invited people to the banks of Rupert River Wednesday afternoon.

Hunter memorial invitation

(Crees of Waskaganish First Nation)

The Chief, deputy and youth chiefs of Waskaganish also spoke with those gathered.

Wednesday was the seventh day of searching — sometimes at night — by a group of between 70 and 100 volunteers.  

Divers and a boat patrol with the Sûreté du Québec left Waskaganish on Tuesday, after several days of searching without success.

Many of the volunteers search patrols travelled from other Cree communities, and from southern Quebec.

Eastmain, which is a Cree community about 330 kilometres north of Waskaganish, sent a team and boat on Wednesday.

Search and rescue team


Many other communities in Eeyou Istchee held prayer gatherings Wednesday afternoon, such as this one on the shore of the Eastmain River.

Eastmain River gathering


Ontario chiefs showed their support for the community at a meeting Wednesday.

The sky seemed to capture the mood. This picture was taken Tuesday, a sweep of rainbows over Waskaganish.

Rainbows over Waskaganish

(Andy Anderson)

With files from Christopher Herodier